Canon's basic consumer camcorder updates have been disappointing so far this year, but the camera giant seems to be focusing instead on creating multimedia products, gear that can perform well for both stills and video. While the Canon XC10 is technically a camcorder, it features specs good enough to beat out some cameras.
At first glance it's obvious the XC10 isn't your typical camcorder. It looks more like a DSLR, though the lens is fixed. There's zoom and focus rings around the lens, which you'd expect from a DSLR. The grip is actually separated some from the rest of camera and rotates for comfortable shooting at different angles. There's no viewfinder, though you can purchase one separately and add it on--beware that it appears extremely bulky though.
4K is the headlining feature here, with the high resolution footage shot at about 30 fps. For faster frame rates, HD video is also available. Both optical and electronic image stabilization is implemented and a 10x zoom adds to the versatility. Canon is also claiming up to 12 stops of dynamic range for better detail in the lightest and darkest parts of the frame.
While the 4K is a pretty big deal, the XC10 can also take 12 megapixel still pictures. There's no RAW and the burst mode is just 3.8 fps, but the bright lens, optical zoom, image stabilization and wide dynamic range should come in handy.
The Canon XC10 looks like it can capture some pretty spectacular shots, both still and video. We're a bit hung up on the price though. Even just a year ago, $2500 for 4K wouldn't be over the top, but this year there are at least three 4K camcorders for under a grand, and one of them, the Sony AX33 has the same 1" sensor and 10x zoom, but takes 20.6 megapixel pictures with a brighter lens. Is the unusual design really worth $1,500 more?