by Bradford Hill
The Canon XA25 Pro HD Camcorder is a compact 1/2" inch CMOS Sensor Camera with a lot of great and unexpected stand-out features.
To start, its full auto & manual modes, its two XLR inputs, and an HDSDI slot packaged with the ability to shoot 1920x1080 at 59.94p are notable. While traveling on shoots, I was impressed with the capability to be able to record 1080p at 60fps within a moment’s notice. This frame rate is a new feature to the Canon line of cameras, which gives this camera a competitive edge. It is also easy to manage when set to auto mode, which comes in handy if a novice needs to use the camera on a small crew shoot, or to simply capture any ‘run-and-gun’ footage.
The 20x optical zoom gives a bunch of throw on the lens which would be equivalent to having a 26.8 to 576mm lens on a 35mm camera. One of the drawbacks noticed though was that due to its small size it becomes a bit harder to steady a shot while shooting long range. The XA25 additionally has intelligent image stabilization with different modes to help combat unsteady shots when recording. I recommend using the tripod when shooting with this camera; it became much easier to capture the clear and beautiful images needed.because I felt much more in control and able to tune all the manual controls on the 3.5" OLD Touch Screen Display. After learning the menu I became comfortable navigating controls with the responsive touch screen and your traditional joystick. Canon also added five assignable buttons on the back to give quick access to control of your settings.
The XA25 has dual SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card slots which can be used to simultaneously record in two different formats. This allows you to shoot in two different codecs or data rates, which would be useful if you wanted to create a high resolution backup on one card & a separate MP4 file to be immediately FTP'ed to a Wi-Fi connected computer using the built in Dual Band Wi-Fi Technology. This technology also allows the user to utilize all of the camera controls manually and wirelessly using a web browser interface from any Smartphone or tablet, which is absolutely awesome.
BUT…if utilizing the HD/SDI slot is very important to your production, heads up that you will unfortunately not be able to record at 1920x1080 50mbps with 4:2:2 color sampling. Although most users do not require this codec, this is one high-end feature that separates this camera from the Canon XF camera line.
The camera also has an onboard stereo mic if you run out of options, and a 35mm mini jack along with HDMI/USB slots and a BNC HD/SDI port. Additionally, it has a programmable dial in front that can be used to set your iris or shutter speed, right behind the focus/zoom ring. Although I didn’t use this feature, I thought the ability to directly upload a video from the camera straight to YouTube was a great option to have too.
The XA25 Camcorder is a valuable accessory to pack in your camera bag as a secondary camera, but it's also designed with so many features that many people will find it suits their production needs within their budget.
images courtesy of Canon