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Whether you’re making a documentary or covering an event, you need a camcorder that can provide what you need. Run-and-gun situations can involve shooting one scene from a wide angle and a tight close up on the next shot. This demands a versatile lens but also one attached to a not-too-heavy camera body. Since audio will be integral to the output, your camera of choice needs to have the necessary options for sound recording.
- Genuine Canon 20x High Definition Optical Zoom Lens
- New, Advanced HD CMOS Pro Image Sensor with Improved Low-light Performance
- Full HD 1920×1080 Recording Capabilities
- 3.0-inch LCD Capacitive Touchscreen with Tilt able Electronic Viewfinder
- Video Recording System:Compression: MPEG-4 AVC/H.26
Canon XA11 Compact Camcorder Introduction Video
Video credit: Gus DaCosta
Canon XA11 Camcorder Overview
These are just some of the basic requirements for camcorders that have to be used in documentary filmmaking, electronic news gathering, and event coverage. You’ll also find that the Canon XA11 Compact Full HD camcorder provides these basics. Although Canon has a DSLR wing, they still have a foot in the camcorder market. And just like Canon’s other products, the XA11 delivers results.
Design & Features
The Canon XA11 combines both power and portability in one package. It’s the one you want to hold when filming a chaotic environment or a serene event. Armed with an HD CMOS Pro image sensor, a DIGIC 4 image processor, and a 20x high-definition optical zoom lens, the XA11 can deliver high-quality HD content.
Viewing, Handling, & Controls
Like a lot of modern camcorders these days, the XA11 also features a 3.5” OLED touch panel view screen. It also has a color electronic viewfinder with a 1,560,000-dot resolution.
The XA11 provides users with full manual control and auto modes for features such as exposure, focus, gain, shutter speed, and white balance. Since this is a camera targeted at an advanced audience, it comes with several professional features such as color bars, peaking, pre-record buffer, and reference tone.
The camera features adjustable zoom settings, with options such as constant, fast, normal, slow, and variable. The detachable top portion features a range of controls including an IR emitter, tally light, accessory shoe, external mic holder, record start/stop, manual audio level controls, two XLR connectors with phantom power, and a zoom toggle.
Image & Video
The XA11’s 1/2.84”, 1920×1080 CMOS sensor is capable of recording video at different frame rates up to 59.94p. For a more cinematic feel, you can set the camera to record in 24p.
Zooming in and out of a scene is common in run-and-gun work and the 20x optical zoom with an equivalent zoom range of 26.8 to 576mm, allows you to capture wide shots and tighter ones with ease while still maintaining great quality.
Stability is also an issue when shooting handheld in most run-and-gun situations. Thanks to a pretty powerful DIGIC DV 4 image processor that powers the camera’s Dynamic Image Stabilization mode, image distortion across all axes won’t be such an issue.
Another advantage of having a powerful image processor is the capability to record video using two different codecs and bit rates. With this, it’s possible to have a copy of the master video but also have a web-ready version that you can easily share.
Sound quality obviously needs to be great for recording special moments in weddings and covering breaking news events. Even documentaries need to have sharp, crisp sounds for effective storytelling. The XA11 comes with a built-in headphone jack so you can manage audio levels and it also has a 3.5mm mini jack for audio output. Audio recording features of the XA11 include an integrated microphone and two XLR line/mic level inputs.
The XA11 features two built-in slots for SD/SDHC/SDXC cards, which gives you different options for recording. You can go for dual recording to film the same scene but using different codecs and bitrates saved to each of the cards. Another option is double–slot recording where you record footage into one card then back it up in the other. The last option is relay recording where recording automatically shifts to the other card once the first one is full.
Extras & Connectivity
The Canon XA11 features an infrared (IR) shooting mode that allows you to capture great-looking images even in low-light situations. The camera features a built-in IR diffuser for preventing IR hotspots on the subject while the IR emitter on the detachable handle provides an IR source.
The camera has a USB (mini-B) port for downloading footage stored in memory cards. It also has a 2.5mm stereo mini jack for remote control.
Pros & Cons
The Canon XA11 delivers impressive still image and video results. Being given the option to record footage in different ways is also a bonus. However, the camcorder only records in Full HD while others are already on 4K. The lack of WiFi capability might also be a deal breaker.
Although many makers are now boasting about their 4K products, you can still stick with a Full HD camcorder if you don’t have the necessary tools to enjoy 4K recordings. Also, getting this camcorder means you’re fine without WiFi connectivity.