The Canon XA10 is quite portable in size and we can hold it (through the grip belt) in the same way as the other camcorders (I never feel very comfortable). There is an extra handle unit mounted on the top of the camcorder with a holder for a microphone. This is probably why the unit that costs the extra $400 compared with the Canon HF G10. The lens hood may cost another $50 (just kidding). This handle unit is great if you want to take some shots at a lower angle. There is also a zoom button rocker. So the Canon XA10 and HF G10 are not identical in some ways.
That said, The Canon XA10 is camcorder with little difficulties to start with. If you use the stylus to tap the LCD monitor, you can navigate all the submenus without any big problem. So it is quite fast for me to set up intelligent autofocus, face detection and other autoexposure settings. Of course there are also many manual controls. Infrared recording function is available on this camcorder. It is best used for you to shoot movies in the dark surroundings and the infrared light is located in the handle unit.
The little viewfinder at the back is an extra, but not necessary. This is used in particular when you take videos by closing the big LCD screen. However, this rear viewfinder is too tiny and I cannot think of many situations in which the big LCD screen needed to be closed. If you use the wireless controller, the big LCD screen has to be articulated because the sensor is there.
I do not know why there is no video editing software included in the box. Is it due to the fact that Canon considers the XA10 a professional camcorder? It seems the consumer Canon HF G10 also does not include any editing software. Don’t panic, the solution is simple: after transferring the files from the camcorder to the computer (or copy from the SD card), on Windows platform you can open the Windows MovieMaker to read directly the .MTS files produced by the Canon XA10. I have also used the free version of VideoPad Video Editor and it does editing quite smoothly as well. It seems that video capturing, same as still photography, needs some processing. The Canon XA10 provides some simple built-in functions to help you to put several clips together,such as Story Creator to organise the scenes together or using the faders to set up transitional effects. Unless you are taking family or event shots in a long shot, there must be some shots you may want to cut, edit and re-edit. This is nothing as convenient as using an external video editing software.
Yes, so far everything goes well with Adobe Premiere, in particular on an iMac in which iMovie is incapable of reading the .MTS files. I should have also tried Final Cut Pro X (You can try it for 30 days) in this hands-on. It is also hard comparing an apple with an orange.
I have created a simple and very rough video by editing in Adobe Premiere CS6 and you can watch it here. I will briefly discuss the workflow next time.
If you want to see Part 1 of this review, click here.