Canon unveils three new compact, pro-level camcorders with big zoom, but no 4K

Canon is bringing three new options for pro-level and enthusiast videographers that need a compact form — on Tuesday, December 5, Canon USA announced the Canon XA15, XA11, and Vixia HF G21. All three feature similar capabilities though none offer 4K, with different port options and a smaller, handle-free form factor for the HF G21.

All three camcorders sport identical optics, sensors and resolution. The camcorders use a 20x optical zoom lens with a range from 26.5mm to 576mm and a Hi-UD design to prevent chromatic aberration, or the colored fringing often spotted in high contrast scenes. That lens is in front of an 1/2.84 inch CMOS sensor capable of capturing full HD video. Coupled with the DIGIC DV4 image processor, the cameras can record at 60 fps with a 35Mbps bit rate. Using dual SD cards, the camcorders can also record both the AVCHD and MP4 format simultaneously.

The camcorders also sport Wide DR mode, Canon’s high dynamic range shooting mode. Using this mode, the cameras are more capable of capturing high-contrast scenes by compressing the brightest areas of the shot, which Canon says helps to prevent overexposure along with creating better color gradation. Additional advanced features include slow motion (and Fast Segment) for speeds between 0.4x to 1,200x the normal capture range as well as a five-axis optical stabilization system using sensor shift.

“The ability to capture high-quality video on the go in a compact and lightweight form factor is extremely valuable to videographers of all skill levels,” Canon USA president and CEO Yuichi Ishizuka said in a press release. “These camcorders were designed to help professionals and enthusiasts who are in the field capture action as it happens.”

While all three camcorders share identical lenses, sensors, and processors, there are a few notable differences between the trio. Both the XA15 and XA11 use a body style with a handle and offer XLR audio jacks, while the VIXIA HF G21 doesn’t have those jacks or that handle. The XA15 has an HD-SDI while the XA11 does not. All three include HDMI and headphone ports, as well as a spot to add GPS using accessories.

All three camcorders will be available at the end of the month. The XA15 retails for $1,900, the XA11 for $1,400 and the Vixia HF G21 for $1,000, making the options more affordable than the 4K 60 fps camcorders Canon launched earlier this year.


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