Canon launches XA20 and XA25 compact camcorders

Canon's HD-SDI equipped XA25 camcorder.
Canon’s HD-SDI equipped XA25 builds on improvements to the HF G30 consumer model. Picture: Canon.

Canon has updated its flagship consumer camcorder, and announced two new professional versions based on the design.

The consumer-oriented LEGRIA HF G30 is a single sensor, CMOS based camcorder. It updates the HF G10 in Canon’s consumer range, and adds a slightly larger sensor, at 1/2.84 inches and 2.91 megapixels (against 2.37 megapixels for the G10), and a new DIGIC DV4 image processor. The LCD screen has been replaced with an OLED model.

But the main improvement is to the lens, with a 20x zoom – equivalent to 26.8-576mm in 35mm terms – a new optical image stabiliser, and a new aperture system based on Canon’s EF lens range. This, the manufacturer says, will produce more attractive background blur, or bokeh.

The camera also features two SD card slots, with recording at up to 1080p at 50 fps, with the option of simultaneous recording to both cards. The camera records up to the maximum bitrate for AVCHD, 28Mbps, but also has the option of recording at 35Mbps as an MP4 file. The camcorder will also offer WiFi remote control from a tablet or smartphone.

Canon has also developed two professional-specification camcorders based on the HF 30’s imaging system and basic body design.

Pro options

The XA20 looks set to replace Canon’s XA10, and offers the same lens, image processor and recording format improvements as the HF G30. But as with the XA10, the camcorder adds professional audio inputs on XLR connectors, via a removable handle which also features a bracket for a shotgun-style microphone. The camcorder can record uncompressed PCM audio, in its highest-quality AVCHD mode.

The XA20 and XA25 also support fast and slow motion recording via the MP4 mode, at double or half speed; the models also have expanded focus, zebras and peaking.

The XA25 camcorder adds a further, professional interface in the form of HD-SDI. This can output standard definition, 720p or 1080i video, which makes it compatible with the majority of vision mixers and computer capture interfaces for live streaming. HDMI output is up to 1080p50.

The XA25 embeds timecode in its SDI input, but there are no separate timecode or genlock terminals and currently no way to slave the XA25’s timecode to sync with another camcorder’s clock.

The WiFi functions on the new Canon units include FTP uploads and browser viewing of videos, and a direct upload option for YouTube and Facebook, as well as remote control.

Canon expects to start selling the new cameras in June. Prices will be around £1200 for the XA20 and £1500 for the XA25, with Canon bundling a second battery with pre orders.