With even the cheapest compact cameras, digital SLRs and more recently wearable devices like the GoPro possessing high quality video recording potential, you may think the market for camcorders has somewhat deteriorated.
There is no longer much need to buy a specific video recording device, as even our smartphones and tablets have the ability to not only capture footage, but also edit the results. What used to be a job for the professional is now easily performed by almost anyone with the inclination.
Therefore, if you’re a camera manufacturer, it seems essential to either develop a device that possesses a multitude of capabilities, or produce a camcorder with unrivalled features and quality. One camcorder specialist in particular appears to be targeting both.
Expanding its range of handheld video cameras, Canon has unveiled three camcorders aimed specifically at a professional market. You can replace the word professional with rich if making movies is just a hobby or interest. From the high-end XA25 priced at £2099, to the £1699 XA20 and finally the most affordable LEGRIA HF G30 that costs £1299.
All three camcorders have been developed using a brand new picture taking system, which concerns the lens as well as the image sensor and processor. The 20x zoom wide-angle lens featured on all models offers a 26.8-576mm focal range and has borrowed technology from Canon’s premium XF305 camcorder.
As you can imagine, these cameras look to cover all the basics and overcome the common stumbling blocks such as low-light performance and noise reduction.
In addition, an improved Optical Image Stabiliser (IS) system enhances picture quality on the move while an 8-blade circular aperture ensures any background blur is ‘beautiful’ according to Canon. I didn’t even realise this was possible, but even high-quality blur is important apparently.
In some respects, the additional technology and newly developed systems are arbitrary; as for the price you would expect exceptionally high quality images. The respective camera’s ease of use and additional intuitive features are therefore what matters when it comes to differentiating itself from competitors like Panasonic.
The XA25 and XA20 feature a removable handle, which can be added or taken away to suit the shooting situation. A new OLED touchscreen gives greater resolution and colour, allowing the user to control exposure as well as aperture, shutter speed, iris, gain and exposure with a customisable control dial.
One interesting additional feature is that each camera features integrated dual band Wi-Fi support (2.4GHz and 5GHz). This handy addition means the user can look at recorded footage on a smartphone or tablet browser without the need for playback software. You can also transfer footage to FTP servers at up to 150Mbps via a wireless access point and play back videos on a supported TV or computer. Even though you’re likely to use the camera for high-quality video, the possibility of uploading to YouTube or Facebook at bitrates of up to 24Mbps exists.
Therefore these cameras appeal exclusively to filmmaking professionals or highly dedicated and passionate amateur video producers. There is no doubting Canon’s ability to develop a camcorder that produces the best possible images, but its additional features and functionality is where it hopes to gain the upper hand.