If you have been making movies with a lower-end video camera, it might be time to move up to a professional camera that will let you shoot professional-quality movies. You could go out and spend several thousand dollars on a camera, which wouldn’t be unusual. Or, you could take a look at everything that the Canon XC15 has to offer. This is the follow-up to the XC10, and it is loaded with awesome upgrades that make it comparable to cameras that cost $5,000 and up, yet you can buy it for less than $2,500.
The Canon XC15 professional camcorder gives you plenty of video and audio features, including a one-inch, 12MP CMOS sensor that is able to capture Ultra HD 4k resolutions at nearly 30 frames per second, as well as 1080p at nearly 59.94p. So with such high-end configurations, you can expect to capture videos of the absolute highest quality possible.
This camera may be huge on features, but when it comes to actual size, it is compact and easy to use. It is small enough that it can easily be used for handheld shooting, and the sensor and other features help to reduce or nearly eliminate camera shake. It is smaller than its predecessor but is able to do a whole lot more.
Features of Canon XC15
This camera comes with an integrated f/2.8 – 5.6, 8.9 – 89mm zoom lens, which is the 35mm equivalent to a focal length of 27.3 to 273mm when using the video mode. There are separate focus and zoom rings, so you have more control over the focus whether you are using the automatic or manual focus controls. This is a video camera that is loaded with the same features that many professional videographers use, and now you can enjoy using them as well. Some of the best features include:
- The Canon XC15 camera comes with an MA-400 microphone adapter, and it has an XLR audio input that supports the adapter. This is a good camera for documentary and news-style videos, and the MA-400 was created for single-user applications such as covering news stories. It was designed for the c300 Mk II, and it can be mounted on a shoe in two positions. There is also an external microphone holder.
- The MA-400 microphone adapter is more suitable for single-user applications like solo newsgathering. It can be mounted to the camcorder’s accessory shoe and offers an external mic holder to which you can mount external microphones.
- Thanks to the extra XLR input, which is used in most professional settings and live recordings, there are many additional menu options, including mic low-cut, internal mic trimming, and internal mic sensitivity. This means that you are going to be able to capture high-quality audio for your videos without the need for an external microphone. Of course, you have the option to use a different microphone, but in most cases, it isn’t going to be necessary because this camera has amazing audio capabilities, something that a professional camcorder really needs.
- The Canon XC15 can support SD and CFast cards. You can record 4K video to CFast memory cards in an MXF wrapper, as much as 305 megapixels in an H.264 codec. A Material eXchange Format (MXF) wrapper is a video container format that is mainly used for storing professional audio and video. The beauty of it is that you can store several different compression formats in a single file
- When recording in 1080p, you can write video to SD cards at as much as 50 mega pixels in the same codec, as well as in an MXF wrapper. You can also use the SD cards for still images. This is a handy feature, which helps you to keep your different video types separate.
- Monitor – This camera features a Waveform Monitor Display. This lets you monitor all of the video signal characteristics when you are shooting outdoors in bright sunlight, which makes seeing other monitors nearly impossible. It can also help when you are working in low light conditions, which can also make it difficult to see all of the details of the subjects you are shooting for your videos. The scale display is based on 1/24 second shutter speeds.
- Highlight Priority – This is a new gamma mode that gives you effects that are a lot like HDR. This feature ensures that colors and lighting are nearly perfect, so no matter what type of lighting conditions you are shooting in, you are going to have just the right exposure on your subjects, with perfect highlights to really make your videos seem more realistic.
Pros and Cons of Canon XC15
- Touch Panel – Accidents happen, and it isn’t uncommon for a videographer to accidentally hit a button and make a mistake, lose data, etc. This camera has a new touch panel, which has a special operation lock. When you are using the camera with cross keys, set the operation lock to make sure that you don’t accidentally change any of your settings.
- Easy to Handle – This is a small and compact camera, but it is large enough to make it easy for anyone to handle with comfort. There is a grip along the side that has a record button as well as other controls, so you never have to fumble while you are shooting. It is not too heavy, so you can also use it without a tripod.
- LCD Screen – The LCD screen can be tilted, so you can shoot from a variety of angles and still be able to see what you are shooting. This is going to allow you to get really creative with your shots to add depth to your videos. The viewfinder attaches to the LCD, so it is always located at the back of the camera.
- Image Quality – Image quality is of premium quality. It is on par with professional 4K Canon camcorders, although costing much less.
- Files – Unfortunately, this camera has very heavy files, which means that you are going to need a good computer to be able to process the files and create your videos. It might not be feasible if you do not own a high capacity computer.
- Focus – They could have worked on providing on a more stable focus. Sometimes, it can take a few tries before getting the focus right, especially if you’re in a non-professional environment.
- Price – Although it offers tons of premium features, if you’re a single user, mostly vlogging or shooting casual videos, it can get a bit pricey. Add to that the cost of CFast memory cards, it can be a bit costly to maintain too.
If you are ready to move up to a professional video camera, but you aren’t ready to pay professional prices, this is a great compromise. It has most of the features that any professional videographer could ever want or need, and it isn’t going to cost thousands and thousands of dollars. This is a great middle-of-the-road camera that is not one hundred percent professional, but far from mediocre. This is definitely a camera that you should consider doing more research about when you start shopping for a new camera.