New 4K camera/camcorder from Canon

Following some teaser images that were shown online a week or so ago, Canon has confirmed it’s launching an interesting-looking 4K-capable camera/camcorder.

The XC10 has a hybrid camera / camcorder shape – sort of like a camera body with bits of camcorder functionality stuck on it.

Canon XC10 with loupe and lens hood

Canon XC10 with loupe and lens hood

The gadget boasts quite a decent spec:

  • 3840 x 2160 4:2:2 8 bit at up to – wait for it – 305Mbps. 25p only (30 on US models presumably), not 50 / 60p, sadly.
  • 1920 x 1080 4:2:2: 8 bit at 50Mbps
  • 1-inch, 13 megapixel sensor using 8.29Mpx in 4K mode
  • Recording to CFast 2.0 card for UDH, SDXC for HD; a 64GB card gives 25 mins recording at the top spec
  • H.264 compression in an “XF-AVC” (Canon’s version of AVC) wrapper saved as mp4 files.
  • A 12 stop dynamic range is claimed with ISO up to 20,000. ND filters appear to be automatic and built-in, as on some of Canon’s camcorder range
  • Canon’s Log Gamma filming curve can be selected, at which point the gain switches to a minimum 9dB. Up to 42dB of gain can be added should you so wish.
Canon XC10 lens

Canon XC10 lens

The lens is a 10x optical zoom with a decent-ish range of 27.3-273mm (35mm equivalent). It offers auto and manual focusing plus manual (only!) zoom and has Canon’s usually excellent optical and electronic stabilisation system though the best-spec “dynamic” mode is not available when shooting 4K. The iris ramps from f2.8 which is not so hot, down to f5.6

The hand grip is rotatable which is nice (one of our favourite features of Canon’s XF200 camcorder).

Canon XC10 rotatable handgrip

Canon XC10 rotatable handgrip

On the back is a 1 megapixel, 7.66cm touch LCD which can rotate up by 90 degrees or down by 45. No flipped-over selfie mode though! An included loupe converts it to a more traditional viewfinder style of operation.

Canon XC10 LCD screen

Canon XC10 LCD screen

12 megapixel stills can also be captured whilst in photo mode, or 8Mpx stills from 4K video.

The device is WiFi compatible for remote viewing and control.

We notice with distinct alarm that there’s no waveform monitor function – we repeat, NO WAVEFORM MONITOR – though you do get 70 / 100% zebra bars. There’s also no genlock or component out and no LANC remote which is particularly infuriating.

Audio is 2 channel, 16-bit 48kHz via 3.5mm jack, with a 3.5mm headphone jack as well. There’s a single cold shoe on top for accessories and an HDMI output for external monitoring or external recording.

Canon XC10 top view

Canon XC10 top view

By the looks of it some of the few buttons can be reassigned but we’ll await the user guide or a review unit to see if it’s sufficiently flexible.

Canon XC10 right view

Canon XC10 right view

The price is a very reasonable £1,599 but we’re not sure what to make of this camera. It’s a weird hybrid of consumer-like camcorder bits (such as the audio scene modes which are all nasty in our experience of Canon’s home camcorder offerings) and pro-looking features. The price pitches it well below “pro” offerings like the C100 and above and below even little 4K camcorders such as Sony’s PXW-X70 and JVC’s GY-HM200.

Perhaps it will turn out to be the bargain of the century but given our experience with the Canon XF200 – great features, crisp picture but oh, such a noisy sensor! – we’ll await a proper trial before delivering a verdict.

See more info at www.canon.co.uk/about_us/press_centre/press_releases/consumer_news/digital_cinema/xc10_promotion.aspx

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