The New Camcorder

If you’ve shot video lately, it’s most likely been with a still camera that has video capabilities, or your phone. Even the venerable Canon 5D Mark II, which spawned the massive and very exciting world of DLSR filming, is primarily a still, not motion, camera.

But the video-first device—we know it by that very 1980s term “camcorder”—lives on and, indeed, is making staggering leaps forward in technological prowess. Pro-level digital film cameras like those from Red are a fraction of the cost of the film cameras traditionally used in feature-film production, and there are heaps affordable enthusiast devices, too, like the new, recently announced Canon XC10.

The XC10 flipflops our expectations. Rather than a still camera that shoots great video, this is a video camera that promises to shoot great stills: It captures 4K video in the XF-AVC Intra format and shoots 12-megapixel stills, and you can pull 8MP stills from the video you’ve shot. The photography industry is calling such models “convergence” cameras, but a better term is simply “the future.” There will come a time not too many years from now when a camera can shoot broadcast-quality video and magazine-quality stills and be light and affordable, too. The Canon XC10 is the first significant step in that direction.

It uses a one-inch CMOS sensor with 12 stops of dynamic range and ISO from 160 to 20,000. Dimensions are approximately five by five by five inches and the weight is a hefty 2.3 pounds. The lens ranges from the 35mm equivalent of 27.3mm to 273mm for video and 24.1mm to 241mm, and the hand grip rotates so you can shoot with the camera to your eye or looking down at the flip-up screen.

There are a handful of cameras with similar sensors that shoot 4K, but the Canon trumps them all in specs and capabilities. This is a legitimate shooter for news organizations, journalists, independent media, and enthusiast filmmakers. It’s affordable and, most exciting, it’s just the first of many to come.

$2,499 • BUY

Read more from Steve Casimiro at his blog, Adventure Journal.

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