First of all, this is not a full review, especially this is not a new product review. The Canon XA10 has been on the market for some time (announced January 2011). I am going to try to see how it works because I have a chance to play around with it.
This is only a user review and written from the perspective of a beginner. The world of camcorder is totally alien to me. Most of my previous attempts, posted on my YouTube imagewingsvideo channel and on this site were made on my iPhone or a point-and-shoot.
The Canon XA10 is a camcorder, listed under the compact professional category on the official Australian Canon website. According to some reviews, the Canon XA10 is presumably the little brother of HF G10 and both are featured by a 1/3 -type 2.3 megapixel CMOS sensor, recording 1920 × 1080 resolution HD video. But the downside is that such a small sensor will not deliver any good still photo image. You have to bear in mind these camcorders are designed with video in mind. If you are serious about photo quality, use any DSLR or even a point-and-shoot.
A video on YouTube explains all the differences between the Canon XA10 and the Canon HF G10.
The video compression is MPEG-4, AVC/H.264. File format is .MTS. Unfortunately this format is not supported by some common editing software such as iMovie. I find it hard to handle these files at the beginning by dragging them to iMovie on my iMac because it is not supported. On Windows platform, it can simply be done by Windows Movie Maker and exported out in some common format such as MP4. You may think of converting the .MTS files to .MOV or other formats before using iMovie. But I have never found one that works well. At the end I open Adobe Premiere, create a project and import all files there.
The Canon XA10 has a built-in memory of 64GB. Moreover, there are two external SD card slots. In order words, you can have endless storage as long as the battery power supports.
The touch screen LCD has a size of 8.8 cm wide with a resolution of 922,000 dots, 100% coverage. It is a very clear display. The backlight can be enabled to have better view under direct sunlight. seeing the subject much clearer. But using the screen to customise settings seems a bit awkward and really hard to navigate. Not sure if this is the reason why a stylus is provided to tap on the menu buttons on the screen. It works better. This stylus is so small that you probably won’t be able to find it again if it is dropped on the floor. Why can’t it be bigger, or be a smartphone stylus (Samsung Galaxy Note S Pen), with a slot to store it properly on the camcorder body?
Watch out for Part 2.