Canon XC10 Review

The XC10 was initially panned in early reviews when it first came out because people wanted interchangeable lenses, like other DSLR or Cinema cameras from Canon, to take full advantage of the 4K sensor.

I found it to be the perfect camera for certain situations though. Watch my full review above or on YouTube.

The XC10 offers some features that are unique in the Canon line and here are the features that intrigued me the most:

  • 1" CMOS Sensor and DIGIC DV 5 Processor
  • UltraHD 4K at 29.97/23.98p
  • H.264 Recording in MXF Wrapper
  • Up to 305 Mbps 4K / 50 Mbps HD Recording
  • SDHC/SDXC and CFast Card Slots
  • HDMI Output - Supports 4K Monitoring & Recording
  • 10x Zoom / 8.9 to 89mm Focal Length
  • f/2.8 to 5.6 Aperture Range
  • 100 to 20,000 ISO Range
  • Ergonomic Tilting Hand Grip

What I Liked About the XC10 

Reading through the specs, the XC10 seems like a confusing, albeit powerful camera. So to truly get a feel for the camera we decided to do our NAB coverage with only the XC10, leaving the trusty C100 at home which forced us to become well acquainted with the camera quickly.

So how did it perform?

On the whole, the XC10 performed well. It is lightweight and easy to use on the fly. The 4K recording + Canon color you receive from the sensor are beautiful. The downside is you can only shoot in 4K for about 30 minutes before having to switch out the 64GB CFast 2.0 card it comes with.  

Canon decided to not allow 4K recording an SD card, mainly due to the bitrates available (either 205 MB/s or 305 MB/s for 4K).

You're going to turn some heads using this camera too. We got more questions about the XC10 than we would have got walking around NAB with a RED Weapon. Everyone wanted to know whether we liked it.

My Favorite XC10 Features

  • Touch screen for auto-focus 
  • Auto-Focus face tracking
  • On-board microphone is pretty good
  • 24-240mm zoom range on the built-in lens
  • Lens image stabilization
  • The built-in 3 Stop ND Filter

What I Did Not Like

As much as I enjoyed using this camera, there were quite a few quirks to using it. I didn't like using the touch screen for navigating through the menus. Especially since you can't use it when you have the viewfinder on the camera.

The auto-focus can be slow sometimes too because it isn't dual pixel, contrast based.

Other things I didn't like about the XC10

  • Bad in low light because the lowest aperture is f2.8 and it only goes to ISO 20,000
  • Requires CFast 2.0 cards to record in UHD/4K
  • Can only record 1080p to an SD Card
  • CFast 2.0 cards are expensive and a 64GB card only holds about a half hour of 4K
  • Photos are only JPEG, not Raw
  • Aperture changes when zooming

Who is the XC10 Best Suited For?

This camera is for you if...

  1. You have a Canon Cinema Series camera and need a B or C cam.
  2. You need a lightweight gimbal or drone camera that can be controlled via the wifi browser.
  3. You want a 4K travel or documentary run-and-gun camera and want to blend in.

This camera is not for you if...

  1. You want to run XLR audio inputs and prefer buttons to touch screens.
  2. You are a photographer first and want raw photos.
  3. You are using a Sony or other brand as your main camera.

In summary, if I was getting my first video camera, I'd much rather have this than a 5D Mark III or another DSLR. The image quality is great, despite the limitations and complaints above.

If only Canon would put 4K into other cameras that cost more than this one *cough* C100 Mark II *cough*.