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Best Canon camcorders: which all-in-one video camera should you choose?

Canon's XF and XA video cameras combine cutting-edge tech with an all-in-one, easy-to-use design. But which is the best professional Canon camcorder for your livestreaming setup, newsgathering and corporate needs?
A person using a Canon camcorder to film a smartly dressed news reporter on a bridge.

The Canon XA75/ XA70, XA65/ XA60 and LEGRIA HF G70 camcorders are designed to integrate seamlessly into Canon's live video ecosystem and offer significant benefits for livestreaming setups.

Canon's professional video cameras combine some of the best Canon video technology with a familiar, easy-to-use camcorder design. As dedicated all-in-one video cameras, they are easier to control than DSLR or mirrorless cameras, and their compact design makes them more portable than Cinema EOS cameras. This makes them an excellent standalone choice for fast-paced productions, from newsgathering and live events to documentaries and weddings. But which is the best Canon camcorder for you?

"It's one camera, one piece of equipment that you're carrying around with you," says Mehdia Mehtal, Channel Marketing Executive for Professional Video & Broadcast at Canon UK. "Although these camcorders have the option for adding audio accessories should you need them, you don't have to worry about changing lenses as you get a massive 15x or 20x zoom built in, depending on which camera you choose."

And there is certainly plenty of choice available. Canon's XF and XA series of professional camcorders range from broadcast-focused 4K video cameras to budget-friendly Full HD models. The Canon XF605 sets the benchmark for convenience and performance, with intelligent AF tracking that can keep a subject's head in focus even when they're not looking at the camera.

A technician wearing white gloves cleans the sensor of a Canon camera.

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But even advanced Canon LEGRIA camcorders have features that will appeal to professional filmmakers and videographers, including outstanding image quality and professional-level control – see the section on the Canon LEGRIA GX10 below.

To help you choose the ideal video camera for your needs and budget, we've put together a guide to some of the best camcorders available today.

A Canon XF605 camcorder on a recording desk with rows of screens and panels behind it.

The Canon XF605 introduces a host of firsts to the Canon professional 4K video camera range, including Eye Detection and Head Tracking AF, plus enhanced control options such as a new touchscreen interface and improved Browser Remote for smartphones and tablets.

Best all-round professional 4K camcorder: Canon XF605

The Canon XF605 is the most advanced camcorder in Canon's professional 4K video camera range, blending superb performance with a flexible feature set.

It introduces an improved Dual Pixel CMOS AF, now complete with Eye Detection and Canon's EOS iTR AF X Intelligent Tracking technology. "This makes the autofocus even more reliable," says Mehdia. "It can now continue to track a person's head even when they're walking away from the camera."

The Canon XF605 camcorder.

Canon XF605

A versatile broadcast quality 4K camcorder, offering advanced AF, connectivity and streaming for demanding productions.

Just like the Canon XF705, the Canon XF605 features a premium L-series 15x optical zoom lens and a large 1.0-type 4K UHD CMOS sensor. In addition, the XF605 is equipped with a DIGIC DV7 processor that works in harmony with the sensor to deliver high-quality image processing with impeccable clarity and low noise.

Capable of recording 4K UHD 60p/50p in 4:2:2 10-bit XF-AVC and MP4 to dual SD cards, the Canon XF605 is a practical choice whether you need to run footage through post-production or broadcast it directly. A wide dynamic range is captured via Canon Log 3, while PQ and HLG formats are available when your production requires HDR formats. Slow and fast (S&F) mode allows Full HD clips to be recorded at up to 120p, too.

The Canon XF605 also supports less compressed 4K ALL-I recording, which is enabled via a firmware update. Additional features which are added in firmware v1.0.1.1 include XC Protocol support, which allows the Canon XF605 to be used as part of a multicamera solution with other Canon hardware, plus Face Detection AF when shooting in S&F mode, and the ability to monitor all four audio channels in the display – a useful addition when it comes to managing multiple microphones during an interview.

An expanded range of Custom Picture profiles and support for Look Files (3D LUTs) enable users to achieve distinctive footage straight out of the camera. "We introduced Look File support in the EOS C70," adds Mehdia. "I think the concern with many people when they shoot Log is post-production and how much time they spend editing. But when a Look File is baked into the footage it can help to minimise the workflow."

The Canon XF605 is also one of the most connected camcorders. In addition to 12G-SDI, Ethernet and XLR, it comes with a multi-function shoe that can be used to add additional XLR inputs, and it can be connected to the Canon RC-IP100 remote camera controller. The Content Transfer Mobile app allows video to be transferred directly to an FTP server via an iPhone, and video output over USB-C enables the XF605 to be used as a webcam.

A close-up of Canon camcorder filming a reporter on a bridge.

"The benefit of having a 1.0-type sensor in the Canon XA75/XA70 is that you're getting more dynamic range, better low-light capability and the chance to exploit a shallower depth of field at the telephoto end of the zoom," explains Canon Europe Product Marketing Specialist Ram Sarup.

A Canon camcorder records two smartly dressed people having a conversation in an office, while a laptop livestreams the footage.

"The smaller 1/2.3-type sensor in the XA65/ XA60 and LEGRIA HF G70 enables a greater telephoto zoom range," says Ram. "This is why smaller sensor cameras are popular in broadcast, and sports in particular."

Best camcorders for livestreaming: Canon XA75/XA70, XA65/XA60 and LEGRIA HF G70

What are the essential features you need to look for in the best camcorder for livestreaming? A versatile range of outputs, professional audio, a high-quality zoom and accurate autofocus are probably at the top of the list – and the Canon XA75/XA70 and XA65/XA60 deliver an all counts.

The XA75 and XA70 camcorders are both equipped with a 1.0-type 4K UHD CMOS sensor, while the XA65 and XA60 – and the LEGRIA HF G70 enthusiast camcorder – feature a 1/2.3-type 4K UHD CMOS sensor. All models include a USB-C output as well as HDMI, with the XA75 and XA65 benefitting from an additional 3G-SDI output.

The Canon LEGRIA HF G70 camcorder.

Canon LEGRIA HF G70

Ideal for camcorder enthusiasts, the LEGRIA HF G70 features a 1/2.3-type 4K UHD CMOS sensor, which enables a greater telephoto zoom range.

"The USB-C output supports UVC streaming protocols," explains Ram Sarup, Canon Europe Product Marketing Specialist. "That allows you to not only use these cameras as a webcam, but for any form of livestreaming in Full HD at 30fps directly through a PC or Mac. That could be livestreaming a child's sporting event to family who live abroad on the LEGRIA HF G70, for example, or streaming a service at a place of worship, a lecture or a corporate event with the XA75/XA70 or XA65/XA60 – there are so many uses."

Deciding whether the Canon XA75/XA70 or the XA65/XA60 is the best camcorder for your livestreaming setup will come down to budget and whether you need the higher performance of the XA75/XA70 (which pairs its larger sensor with Dual Pixel CMOS AF) or the smaller form factor of the XA65/XA60. If you need an even more compact livestreaming camcorder, then the LEGRIA HF G70, which doesn't have the top handle or the two professional XLR inputs on the other models, is the perfect choice.

In addition to their livestreaming capabilities, these camcorders feature high-quality zoom lenses (15x for the XA75/XA70, 20x for the XA65/XA60 and LEGRIA HF G70) with 5-axis IS for sharp, stable images. They also include OSD (on-screen display) recording for embedding a time/date stamp into footage, and a useful infrared mode that's advantageous for low-light newsgathering, documentary filming and security work.

A woman in the sea at sunset flicks back her hair, creating an arc of water spray.

The ultra-compact Canon XA40 camcorder features slow and fast motion recording in both UHD and Full HD.

A silhouette of a woman with her hair flowing in the breeze, in front of bokeh city lights.

An infrared mode enables you to carry on filming in darkness and eight aperture blades deliver superb bokeh.

Best budget professional 4K camcorder: Canon XA40

If you're looking for an entry-level 4K camcorder with professional video and audio features, then the Canon XA40 should be on your shortlist. This palm-sized pro camera uses a 1/2.3-inch type CMOS sensor and DIGIC DV6 processor to deliver exceptional 4K images, in addition to superior Full HD images via Over Sampling HD Processing. The Canon XA40 supports 4K UHD 25p recording in MP4 at 150Mbps, and Full HD 50p at 35Mbps. XF-AVC recording has also been made available via a firmware update.

The Canon XA40 camcorder

Canon XA40

Ultra-compact, professional palm-sized 4K XA-series camcorder with a 20x optical zoom lens.

The camera's 4K CMOS sensor is smaller than the 1.0-type sensor offered by many of the other Canon 4K professional camcorders in this selection, but it's twinned with a longer 20x wide-angle zoom that delivers an equivalent reach of 29.3-601mm. A 5-axis optical Image Stabilizer helps to cut through camera shake when shooting at telephoto focal lengths too.

"It's the perfect video camera for covering corporate events and creating online content," explains Mehdia. "The price reflects the smaller sensor size, but you still have all the professional controls, dual card slots and XLR inputs."

Best Full HD camcorder: Canon XA15/XA11

For filmmakers and videographers whose resolution requirements don't extend beyond Full HD, the compact Canon XA15 and Canon XA11 are versatile options for news, weddings, corporate and online production. Both camcorders share the same professional specification, with the Canon XA15 adding an HD/SD-SDI terminal that enables it to transmit uncompressed 4:2:2 video. "Probably the easiest way of thinking about the Canon XA15 is that it's pretty much the Full HD version of the XA40," says Mehdia.

The Canon XA15 camcorder.

Canon XA15

A compact, professional Full HD camcorder with a powerful 20x optical zoom and wide dynamic range.

At the heart of the Canon XA15 is an advanced HD CMOS Pro sensor and DIGIC DV4 image processor, delivering high-quality Full HD 50p video in AVCHD and MP4. A Canon high-definition 20x optical zoom lens gives the 35mm equivalent range of 26.8-576mm, with its 8-bladed aperture ensuring beautiful background blur.

A man performing skateboard stunts is filmed with a Canon LEGRIA GX10 camcorder attached to a tripod.

You can capture vibrant Wide DR 4K, 50p video – even in demanding situations – thanks to features such as precision 15x zoom optics, a large sensor and 8-stop ND filter. © Mike Boyd

A Canon LEGRIA GX10 camcorder fixed to a tripod.

With its 1.0-type CMOS sensor, 4K 50p recording, Wide DR Gamma that extends dynamic range to 800% and 100fps shooting option, the Canon LEGRIA GX10 has plenty of professional-level features. © Mike Boyd

Best budget 4K camcorder: Canon LEGRIA GX10

Although the Canon LEGRIA GX10 is considered an enthusiast or semi-pro camcorder, it includes many of the features that you would expect to find on a Canon professional video camera. These include 4K recording up to 50p, a large 1.0-type sensor for excellent low-light performance and depth of field control, plus Dual Pixel CMOS AF.

"If XLR audio inputs are not an essential requirement, the Canon LEGRIA GX10 would be one of the camcorders I would recommend," says Mehdia. "In terms of specification it probably shares about 70% of what the Canon XF405 offers. So you have Full HD high frame rate recording up to 100fps, Wide DR, a 5-axis optical Image Stabilizer, built-in Wi-Fi and dual SD card slots.

The Canon LEGRIA GX10 camcorder.

Canon LEGRIA GX10

Superb handheld 4K footage and professional level creative control for video enthusiasts and content creators.

"The main difference is that the Canon LEGRIA GX10 can only record in MP4, so it doesn't have the XF-AVC option which some people might require. But for online content, MP4 is the main format that you're going to need."

Mehdia suggests that as well as online content creators, the Canon LEGRIA GX10 is a great video camera for events, corporate work and education. "For documentaries and newsgathering, the XA and XF series camcorders, with their professional audio options, may be the better choice, but the Canon LEGRIA GX10 still gives you all the manual controls that you need."

Напишано од Marcus Hawkins


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