Perhaps you're a videographer for a major corporation, set to document the next industry trade show. Or you're a local journalist cruising City Hall for the next blockbuster exclusive interview. You might even be a graduate film school student, storyboarding your first major short subject for the festival circuit. While all of these people face different challenges, it's a pretty sure bet the Canon XA20 high-definition camcorder can help each of them to deliver a final product that shines. Lightweight, compact, and remarkably easy to handle on the move, the XA20 even borrows some brilliant features from the consumer camcorder world, like the enhanced functionality that Wi-Fi offers.
Features pros demand
The removable handle on this camcorder conceals a world of audio versatility. Two XLR-connectors provide phantom-powered connections for professional microphones, and on the other side of the handle's control block, dedicated switches and audio pots allow you to assign and regulate the signals coming from both external and internal audio sources. The handle also features a mount for a shotgun microphone (not included).
Designed for easy control
The zoom rocker switch has been upgraded to match the performance that's only been available on Canon's top-level camcorders in the past. That controls a versatile and light-thirsty 20X optical zoom lens that gives you all the reach you need for quick-changing assignments. If your light levels drop to near zero, there's a built-in infrared (IR) emitter that will allow you to still capture images under challenging conditions. And buttons on the side of the camcorder are assignable, so if, say, your white balance conditions — or your sensitivity settings — keep changing, you'll be able to adjust instantly.
The format you need, when you need it
The XA20 can capture video in two formats, high-quality AVCHD and web-friendly MP4, and it can even do so simultaneously to the camcorder's dual memory card slots. The maximum data rates for both formats (28 megabits per second for AVCHD; 35 Mbps for MP4) allow the XA20 to record at a full 1080/60p resolution, in addition to several other resolutions — a cinematic 24p-native frame rate among them. When those capture modes are played back at different speeds, you can achieve slow-motion playback as slow as 40% of normal speed, and fast-motion as fast as 250% of normal, with no degradation of picture quality.
Built-in Wi-Fi makes this already capable camera more convenient. Share files easily between devices. Control your XA20 from a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. And easily upload your videos for sharing with family, friends, or social networks — a process made much easier by the fact that the camcorder performs internal downconversion of your high-quality videos to make them small enough to post easily online. In fact, if you're under the gun for a tight filing deadline on-air or online, step down the data rate of your MP4 capture and upload your raw video directly to an FTP site for fast turnaround from remote locations.
See even more of what your camcorder is seeing
The Canon XA20 sports an upgraded monitoring system. Its generous 3-1/2" organic LED (OLED) touchscreen display brings 1.23-million dots worth of high-contrast resolution to bear to reveal even the tiniest details in your image. Plus, the tiltable electronic viewfinder allows you a 1.56-million dot view of the world, for even finer control of your camera when handheld and zoomed-in. And to make those zoomed-in moments even more stable, Canon has added what it calls SuperRange optical image stabilization, which corrects for erratic motion almost instantly, ensuring that even long-lens shots of faraway subjects will be smooth and easy to follow.
More pro touches
The XA20 has even more pro tricks up its figurative sleeve. A zebra-stripe monitoring mode allows you to adjust exposure on the fly. A manual focus ring gives you fine control of zoom as well as focus. And the HDMI output can be routed to an external solid-state video recorder so you can capture colors in even more detail than you can with on-board memory cards.
Storage and Formats:
records high-definition video and photos onto dual SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards
records 1080/60p 28 megabit-per-second AVCHD format and 35 Mbps MP4 format simultaneously
dual memory card slots switch from one card to the next when full (but not when executing simultaneous recording)
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