A lot has to be said when you choose a video camera. Here are the reasons I chose the canon XA10 and XA20
I teach media presentations and public speaking skills, and do promotional videos for startup businesses and entrepreneurs. . Over the past few years I've done most of my work with some cheap and nasty cam-corders and I wasn't fussed about the quality of the audio or video. Back then I was saying that I pretented to be an authority in public speaking and my resources didn't match my authenticity. So I went on the hunt for an all-in-one production solution for event videography and run-and-gun shooting. I finally chose firstly the XA10 and now 2 x XA20, and am very glad that I did. Here's why:
The video quality on the XA20 is really outstanding. The lens has a huge zoom range from 26.8-576mm (in 35mm equivalent). You can frame practically anything within 100 ft with the XA20. Even if it isn't mounted on a tripod, the optical image stabilization is the best I've ever seen on a camera in this price range (around $2000aud).
Lightning quick zoom and focus
The auto-focus is lightning quick. When enabled, the XA20 picks out faces and focuses on them faster and more accurately than I can. The XA20 can also focus like a smartphone by tapping on part of the frame, and there's a manual ring which can easily be assigned to focus if you prefer.
The camera shoots MP4 and AVCHD at bitrates ranging from 4mbps to 35mbps (for MP4), so you can choose whether you want high bitrate (example, for chroma key) or lower bitrate for smaller and more manageable file size.
OMG, it has WiFi
The XA20 also has wifi. These features are obviously 1st generation and are mixed in usefulness. You can point a web browser to the IP address of the camera on a specific port and "remotely control" the camera.
There is one part of the wifi feature that is amazing and I love: uploading footage directly to an FTP server. It took me about 30 minutes to get the FTP and wifi connections all configured properly to work, but now that it's configured the feature is INCREDIBLE. At our 'meetups, we have wifi at the studio.
Overall, Canon got it right on the XA20. If you're looking to upgrade from a tape or HDD based camcorder to something more modern, the XA20 has no rivals at this price point. All of the basic production features you would expect on a pro rig are present here (color bars, 1kHz tone, audio level meters, focus peaking, zebras, focus assist, etc.). And some of Canon's new ideas that they put into the XA20 have turned out to be really useful.