Why it matters to you
The venerable camcorder still has some tricks up its sleeves and Canon’s latest models put impressive imaging capabilities into compact packages.
On Tuesday, September 12, Canon announced three new camcorders, the Vixia GX10, XF400, and XF405. All three are built around the same basic tech, including a 1-inch sensor that can shoot 4K video at 60 frames per second, making them powerful tools for news, sports, and documentary shooters. While the GX10 is designed to be the most approachable of the three, all are clearly aimed at advanced amateur and professional users, with pricing starting at $2,499 for the GX10, $2,999 for the XF400, and $3,499 for the XF405.
Each camera is paired with a newly developed 15x zoom lens, with a full-frame equivalent focal length range of 25.5-382.5mm. All models also feature 3.5-inch articulating LCD monitors and dual SD card slots. Where they differ is with the addition of a handle that supports dual XLR inputs and a shotgun microphone holder on the two XF models. The handle also includes audio level controls and a standard 1/4-inch stereo microphone input, for four channels of audio in total.
With the handle and battery attached, the XF models weigh approximately 3.7 pounds, while without the handle weight drops to just 2.5 pounds (as is the same for the GX10). This is considerably lighter than an interchangeable lens camera with an equally powerful zoom lens and illustrates the primary advantage of these camcorders.
While the differences between the two XF models and the GX10 are obvious, what sets the XF405 apart from the XF400 is more subtle. All models make use of HDMI 2.0 for video output, but the XF405 also gains a 3G-SDI terminal for integration into professional workflows. However, only 1080p is supported over 3G-SDI; 4K output must be done over HDMI.
Camcorders have lost ground in recent years as high-quality video modes have popped up in DSLRs and mirrorless cameras (and compact action cameras and smartphones have taken over the lower end of the market). However, aside from the impressive Panasonic GH5, such cameras have been slow to adopt 4K/60p (most 4K DSLRs and mirrorless cameras top out at 30p). With these new models, Canon seems to be making a point that camcorders are still relevant for a variety of users, although their features and flexibility do come at a cost.