The Canon XA20 Professional PAL HD Camcorder is a compact "run-and-gun" camera with HD-SDI output that is suitable for ENG, event coverage, and independent and documentary filmmaking. The camera features a 1/2.84", 1920 x 1080 CMOS sensor that captures video at various frame rates including 50p, 50i and 25p. The integrated 20x optical zoom lens has a 35 mm equivalent zoom range of 26.8 to 576mm and features an 8-bladed iris to help create softer, more natural looking bokeh.
The Digic DV 4 Image Processor not only provides more efficient de-bayering and interpolation as the image is captured off the sensor, the image-processing engine powers Canon's Dynamic IS (Image Stabilization) mode, which provides compensation not only for horizontal and vertical shake but also by adding correction for camera roll in three axes. In addition, the power of the Digic DV 4 is leveraged by the compressor, letting you simultaneously encode your video to two different codecs and bit rates simultaneously, letting you, for example, record a web-ready version and a high quality master that will be available for upload and editing as soon as you stop recording.
The XA20 features both a 3.5" OLED flip-out touchscreen with 1,230,000 dot resolution and a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, and a color electronic viewfinder (EVF) with 1,560,000 dots of resolution. The camera features full manual control and auto modes for exposure, focus, white balance, gain, and shutter speed. The camera provides professional features such as a pre-record buffer, peaking, zebra bars, color bars, and reference tone. The zoom speed is adjustable with variable, constant (with 16 selectable discrete speed levels), fast, normal and slow settings. The camera features a detachable top handle with zoom toggle, record start/stop, IR emitter, tally light, accessory shoe, external mic holder and two XLR connectors with +48 V phantom power and manual audio level controls. The XA20 includes a built-in headphone jack and an HDMI mini connector, and outputs composite video and audio via a 3.5 mm mini jack.
Two built-in SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card slots allow you to record video to available media cards in both slots at the same time. This allows you to create an instant back up copy for archiving and data protection or you can capture high resolution AVCHD or MP4 video files on one card while creating a lower data rate MP4 more suitable for the web on the other card. When using two media cards with the camera is in Relay mode, there is no need to stop shooting when the first card gets full. Recording seamlessly switches to the second card. Built-in dual-band Wi-Fi and FTP allows you to upload video files directly from the camera to your server or a social media site, or playback footage from the memory cards to Wi-Fi enabled TVs and Computers. You can also remotely control select camera functions from a smart phone or tablet over Wi-Fi, freeing you from remote cables.
Native 1920 x 1080 CMOS Sensor
The XA20 features a 1/2.84-inch HD CMOS Image Sensor with 2.91 MP. Keeping the sensor resolution lower means the individual photosites are larger, increasing their light gathering ability.
20x Optical Zoom Lens
The Canon 20x HD Zoom Lens provides a 35mm equivalent zoom range of 26.8 mm-576 mm, and a minimum object distance of just 23.6 inches (60cm). An eight blade iris design gives the out of focus areas a smoother, more circular bokeh pattern. The lens features an endlessly rotating manual focus/zoom ring, and the built-in power zoom control includes user-programmable direction and sensitivity modes. Zoom speeds can be set to variable, constant (with 16 levels), fast, normal or slow.
Digic DV 4 Image Processor
The DIGIC DV 4 Image Processor works in concert with the HD CMOS Image Sensor to reduce noise, aliasing, and color artifacts caused by de-bayering. It also powers Dynamic Mode image stabilization, an electronic correction of unwanted rotational movement. Finally, the processor enables simultaneous encoding of video to two cards in two different codecs simultaneously.
The XA20 offers optical image stabilization (IS) useful for reducing shake while shooting hand held. User selectable IS modes you choose the setting that works best for your situation. Alternatively, you can select "Intelligent IS" and let the camera identify the appropriate stabilization mode for you.
In addition to traditional horizontal/vertical correction, Dynamic Mode takes advantage of the Digic DV 4 processor, using it to help offset circular motion and roll.
Macro IS: corrects angular and shift-type shake in wide-angle shots.
Powered IS: corrects for low-frequency camcorder shake when shooting at the long (telephoto) end of the lens
Auto focus selection allows you to choose between a slower, more natural autofocus, instant autofocus for situations where speed is more important than finesse and will abruptly snap the subject in focus, and Face Detection AF in which camera focus will stay locked onto a particular face in the frame.
Zebra bars selectable between 70 and 100% are available to help you judge exposure.
Focus peaking provides a user selectable color overlay on top of the parts of the image that are in focus. And for critical focusing, a 2x image magnification can also be engaged.
The camera can display and record SMPTE color bars and reference tone. Reference tone levels can be set at -12 dB, -18 dB or -20 dB. can be set at -12 dB, -18 dB or -20 dB.
3.5" OLED Touchscreen and Viewfinder
For monitoring, you are provided a 3.5-inch, 1,230,000-dot OLED flip out touchscreen display as well as a 0.24" 1,560,000-dots viewfinder (EVF). The touchscreen has a viewing angle of over 80 degrees in all directions, and a 10000:1 contrast ratio. The viewfinder can tilt up to 45° to accommodate a variety of shooting positions.
Manual Camera Control
The XA20 features selectable manual/automatic control on the camera functions, allowing you to choose the best settings for the situation. Functions include: Exposure, Shutter Speed, Iris, Gain, Exposure Lock, and AGC Limit.
White Balance features 6 presets (Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent H, and Fluorescent), as well as store up to two auto white balance readings taken from a white card. Additionally, manual white balance when let you select any color temperature between 2,000 and 15,000 K in 100 K steps.
The cameras body features five user assignable buttons so you can customize the camera to access select settings without having to enter the menu system.
A built in mic providers stereo, reference audio. In addition, dual XLR inputs on the detachable handle allow you to connect most types of professional microphones, including shotgun mics, wireless lavalier receivers, and handheld "interview" microphones. The inputs have manual levels control and will accept line- and mic-level feeds, and for condenser mics can provide +48 V phantom power.
A secondary 3.5 mm stereo mini jack is also provided, and allows external mics to still be used while the handle is removed.
A 3.5 mm headphone jack with 16 volume setting s enables you to accurately monitor you audio monitoring.
The XA20 features an AV mini terminal for composite SD video and audio stereo audio via a four-ring 3.5 mm mini jack and a mini HDMI out connector for HD or SD video up 1920 x 1080 at 50p. Timecode and OSDs can be switch on or off for the video outputs.
Dual Media Card Slots
Two SD/SDHC/SDXC card slots are built into the camera allowing you varied recording options
Dual recording: allows you to simultaneously record the same footage to different media cards using different codecs and bit rates
Double-slot recording: allows you to record simultaneously to each of the two SD memory card slots, providing an instant backup for your footage
Relay recording: the XA20 automatically switches video recording from one memory card to the other when the first memory card becomes full.
Infrared Shooting Mode
Engaging the Infrared (IR) shooting mode, moves the IR Cut filter out of the optical path for shooting in extreme low light conditions. An IR emitter built into the detachable top handle provides an IR source, and the built-in IR diffuser helps prevent IR hot spots on the subject. In IR mode you can select from the traditional green hued IR image or the default setting, which produces a black and white image.
Dual-band Wi-Fi (5GHz and 2.4GHz) support is built into the camera, allowing FTP file transfer of MP4 video. The camera supports a web browser interface that combined with Wi-Fi support allows you to control key features of the camera, including start/stop recording, zoom (limited to three speeds), exposure functions, and focus using a smart phone or tablet. You can also view and download recorded MP4 footage from the camera on a PC or mobile device. When the camera is in playback mode video files can be uploaded to social media websites via the free Movie Uploader app for iOS devices.
An integrated Hi-Speed USB (mini-B) port allows you to download footage from the memory cards, this port is for output only.
Remote Control Port
The camera features a standard 2.5 mm LANC port for using wired remotes.
Detachable Top Handle
The detachable top handle contains the audio controls and external XLR audio inputs, as well as a tally light and the infrared emitter and accessory shoe. You can remove the top handle from the camera to create an even smaller shooting package, particularly beneficial for journalists who want to disguise the XA20 as a consumer camcorder.
Photo capture: The XA20 is capable of capture still images at video resolution, up to 1920 x 1080. Photos may be captured to an SD memory card during recording, as well as "frame grabbed" during playback.
Pre-record: In this setting, the XA20 will continuously cache a buffer of approximately three seconds of video. When you press record the contents of the buffer are saved to the memory card and the camera will continue recording until you press stop. This is helpful especially in journalistic and documentary applications where events can happen unexpectedly that you may not be ready for, but space limitations prevent from simply rolling all the time.
Intelligent battery system: The XA20 is compatible with Canon's Intelligent Lithium-ion batteries, which communicate remaining running time (down to the minute) to the user.