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Equipment

First Impressions of the Canon XC10

Published July 14, 2015

Over the July 4th weekend, I had the chance to mess around with the new 4k capable Canon XC10.  The feature heavy system packed into a smaller form factor had many videographers intrigued, Here are the first few shots along with some quick first impressions.  (All shots were captured hand-held in c-log with a cloudy white balance.  I tried to keep the color and contrast work to a minimum.  Also, just to note, Canon’s XF-AVC codec is not yet supported by Final Cut X, which I originally tried. I tried converting the footage first using Handbrake but the results looked like crap.  I ended up doing everything in Adobe Premier.)

First off, the good. The form factor is very nice, it actually looks like a miniature Canon C100. The handgrip fit comfortably in my hands and rotates to accommodate various shooting situations. The dynamic range was also very impressive. The ISO performance was nice until I reached 10,000, as you will see above in the video, once it hits 10,000 it is almost completely unusable. The Image Stabilization did an excellent job as well, the entire video did not have any stabilization done in post, and all of the shots are handheld utilizing the internal IS and digital stabilization in conjunction. The battery life was also excellent, easily shooting throughout the day with any disruptions or problems.  I’m guessing I could have got 2hrs worth of mixed use shooting out of one LP-E6n battery.  Not bad at all.

Sadly, however, this is not the perfect camera and comes with its own set of problems. The glaringly obvious is the fixed lens. With a 27-270mm f/2.8-f/5.6, the Canon XC10 lacks a lot of common features (such as fixed aperture) that videographers have come to expect with video cameras. That immediately disqualifies it from most professional applications in my opinion. There is also many menu and customization options that are lacking from this camera. It would be very nice to have the ability to adjust the sensitivity of the peaking. Also, changing the ISO is incredibly difficult, which is a shame because I kept having to change the ISO because of the variable aperture. I wish there was a designated ISO button. Like I mentioned earlier, ISO 10,000 and above is unusable unlike the C100 which I don’t mind pushing that far at all.

One last note regarding the focus abilities.  I don’t feel like the focusing speed matches the shooting style that this camera would work best for.  With its small form factor, fixed lens, decent dynamic range, and ISO performance, it would work really well as a “run ’n gun” style camera.    Some people need to travel light, get in, get the shot, and get out.  Everything about the focusing system in the XC10 seemed slow. Not inaccurate, just slow. The continuous autofocus is pleasant and smooth but if you’re in a rush, it might annoy you.  Same thing with manual focus, the throw just seems too long to be functional in a fast paced environment.

As a reminder, this is just one man’s first impressions, but if you’re looking for an all in one system and are coming from maybe a Canon XF100 or similar, this is certainly an upgrade and a lot of fun.  But if you are looking for a small, complementary camera for your Canon C300, look elsewhere, as the Canon XC10 has some shortfalls for the professional videographer.

Author: Justin Kelly

Posted in Equipment
  • Art Bell

    We had one on loan from Canon, pre release, and I read all the pre release shortcomings, and I agree with all of them – ESPECIALLY the Lame menu system.

    I was most worried about the fixed lens, but as Canon said in their PR – this is one of their first truly designed for 4K lenses, and it feels it. Cinematic, and clean throughout the range.

    Having said all that – it does one thing very well. Easily and quickly shoot in high quality 4K.

    It has quickly become an indispensable part of our kit. We do all our work in 4K, mostly for 4K video walls, and this footage holds up Very well.

    We immediately threw the diopter away and permanently attached a Z Finder. The menu system continues to haunt us, but every time we are one location it gets one shot we would have missed.

  • Lucas

    Why was this video posted on a new Lensrentals.com YouTube channel? There’s still another channel, called lensrentals (https://www.youtube.com/user/lensrentals/), did you guys just forgot about this one because you haven’t uploaded something in ages?

  • Justin Kelly

    Kris,

    Unfortunately it does not have an auto-ISO setting. In order to use any sort of auto-ISO, it has to be in Av or Tv. You cannot set it to auto-ISO while you are in manual mode.

  • Why is everything so magenta? Is this using the most recent firmware?

    The stabilization seems nice. I might get one of these to use as a crash camera for 4K work. They should call it a C50.

  • eric westpheling

    Sadly the RX10 Mk2 is as close as we get to a good camera using the 1″ format.

    If only Sony would put a 1″ sensor, 4k XAVC-L ,and the 8-73mm lens into a camera body like the EX1/PMW300.

    We could dream of a variable f2-f2.8 10x zoom lens too. I’d settle for focus-by-wire too.

    The game is yours to lose Sony!

  • dflt

    Damn, this camera has the worst blue color cast I’ve ever seen :(. 6D also has this blue color shift/cast, don’t know why.

  • @Tuco: Fixed here means that you can’t change the lens, interchangeable means you can take it off and use a different one. So yes, you can have fixed primes (the Fuji X100T that has a 23mm f/2, and the RX1 with its fixed 35mm f/2), and interchangeable zooms (every zoom lens you use on a DSLR).

  • Tuco

    Are interchangeable lenses ‘primes” and zooms fixed? Or, can you have interchangeable zooms and fixed primes? But, that makes “fixed prime” redundant, unless it’s interchangeable.

  • The RX10 II looks a lot more appealing: it also shoots 4K out of a 1″ sensor, but it also shoots insanely high fps in 1080p mode (pristine 120p, usable 240p, ugly 480p and 960p), it has a constant aperture long zoom (24-200mm-FF-equivalent and f/2.8), it shoudl have better DR thanks to slog2, and it costs half as much (and this difference is bigger once you include media).

    And the RX100 IV has all that except the long zoom (being 24-70mm-FF-equivalent and f/1.8-2.8), and is pocketable. That’s the one I’m probably getting…

  • Kris K

    Does the XC10 have auto-ISO? Can I lock both the aperture and shutter, and let it ride the ISO?

    (I checked the manual, but wasn’t entirely clear.) Thanks for your take.

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