The Canon XC15 4K (UHD) and Full HD video camcorder with stills capability, aimed at content creators such as news gatherers and independent or documentary filmmakers, takes the interesting XC10 logic even further. Is this a winner?
When Canon launched the XC10, the bad reception to the hybrid camera with multiple bad reviews, fuelled the idea that the XC10 had no future. Apparently, opinions started to change once people really got to use the camera in real-world situations, a change that led some people to accept that they had to eat “a hat for dinner with a word sauce”.
The words are from Andre Reid, at EOSHD, who wrote in one article July this year the following lines: The Canon XC-10 on the other-hand has me eating a nice hat for dinner with a word sauce. When this camera came out nobody wanted to buy one. It has taken me a full 18 months to even contemplate it. I decided to try it in-store first and read many a report from people I trust on the EOSHD Forum.”
The image has something about it, continues Andrew Reid. The colour is very Kodak Super 16mm and the look is very Bolex/Kern-Pilliard but brought into the 4K era. The mechanical zoom ring is a joy, the simplicity of handling once you appreciate how it should be used and particularly the 1080p mode are a pleasure. The touch AF and tracking in 1080/60p is almost at Canon 80D level even without Dual Pixel AF and you rarely need to go into full manual mode at all to get the shot just as intended. The 5 axis stabilisation in 1080p especially is extremely powerful even for walking with, it’s a camera you can move around with on a documentary without a second thought to rigging. It feels like Canon used the XC10 to develop some genuinely groundbreaking technology. Top it all off with a Canon C300 Mark II standard codec, 305Mbit, 4:2:2 colour, best image processing on the market resulting in the best colour and LOG profile you can buy for under $2k, 12-stop dynamic range and respectable low-light performance.” To read the whole article go to EOSHD.
In fact, the enthusiasm shown by Andrew Reid is not different from the one demonstrated by other people that had the chance to try the XC10. At DVInfo the reviewer wrote this: If you think of the XC10 as a mash-up between a still camera like the 5D Mk-whatever and a video camera like the C100 or XA10 or XF-305, you’re missing the point. If you think of it more like an oversized 4K GoPro with an optically-stabilized 10x lens, vastly better ergonomics, and wireless remote control via smartphone—one that does a really good job of capturing attractive, usable images without requiring a lot of technical fumbling on the operator’s part—you’re on to something.
On the same review one read that “the Canon XC10 is an odd little beast. Understanding its creation story is the key to understanding its purpose and primary market. Its design favors journalists whose primary job isn’t running a camera, but covering a story; people for whom a camera isn’t the focus of their professional lives but a necessary technical tool.” Follow the link to read the complete article, as it will give you some more information on the XC10.
At NewsShooter the article about the XC10, under the title Canon XC10 review: A simple solution for everyday video journalism? tells us that “when Canon introduced the XC10 they had the opportunity to create just such a camera. A camera with the lineage of the C300 and C100, but shooting 4K at high bitrates in a compact body. Surely this was going to be it? Then came the reviews which were almost universally negative. No XLR audio, a zoom without a constant aperture, a small sensor that isn’t designed to shoot in pitch black conditions and slow autofocus. The Canon XC10 seemed to be a huge letdown for experienced video professionals who wanted to love it.” Continuing reading, though, the author concludes that “for the rest of us, having a go-to camera for those shoots where we don’t want to bring our 200 pounds of kit along…the XC10 might be a breath of fresh air.”
To end this series of reviews of the XC10, let me mention a last one. The author writes, about the XC10, that “after several “Real World Review” shoots with the camera, including the Sony RX100 IV Review, Sigma 150-600mm Review, Vegas Helicopter 5-Min Portrait and more, I quickly fell in love with it. Not only was it perfect for our run-and-gun style of shooting, but the overall quality we were seeing blew us away–for both the price and size.”
With this background, Canon launches now the XC15, which continues to follow the same logic. Canon presents the camera as the perfect “B” or “C” camera for film productions, thanks in part to its ability to record with Canon Log, providing the same impressive 12 stops (800%) of dynamic range as seen in Canon’s EOS C500. The camera can record UHD (3840 x 2160) 4K footage at 25p or 24p to an internal CFast 2.0 card at up to an impressive 305Mbps, or Full HD to an SD card at up to 50Mbps. The option to record at 24p, combined with the ability to select a ‘Look’ setting, appeals directly to cinematographers as they are able to easily integrate footage from other cinema cameras, dramatically improving their workflow. The shutter speed and shutter angle modes further support the camera’s operator to work in a more familiar way.
News gatherers and filmmakers understand that sound quality is just as important as the image and increasingly require a camera with more advanced audio options. Built on feedback from global XC10 users, the XC15 includes the MA-400, a microphone adapter which allows professional grade audio to be recorded via dual XLR connections that accept balanced and unbalanced microphones and line level audio inputs.
As well as sound, the flexibility of the XC15 will appeal to news gatherers due to its ability to extract 8.29MP still images when used in 4K (UHD) recording mode for publication in print or online. When capturing breaking stories is of upmost importance, the camera’s autofocusing is quick and includes face detection for added ease of use when framing a shot.
The XC15 has excellent low-light capabilities thanks to its wide ISO range from 100 to 20000, perfect for shooting in difficult lighting conditions such as news interviews in poorly lit areas. Equally, the built-in ND filter helps when the light is too bright. Combining speed and quality, the XC15 features a 1.0 type CMOS sensor and Canon’s DIGIC DV5 image processor, providing users with the ability to capture high quality, low noise 4K video with a shallow depth of field. The camera also features a 10x Optical Zoom lens with Canon’s class-leading image stabilisation technology providing the ability to shoot a range of scenes, from portraiture to large expanses of scenery.
The Canon XC15 4K UHD professional video camcorder is scheduled to be available in September 2016 for a list price of $3,000.00.