Below, you can read the detailed comparison of Canon XA10 vs XA11. Both are professional camcorders that have received glowing positive reviews. Both have extensive manual controls, and both are capable of recording Full HD footage. However, depending on your need and purpose, either Canon XA10 or Canon XA11 will be more suitable.
Continue reading to learn more about:
– The design and features of each camcorder
– The storage options available on XA10 and XA11
– Why you should choose XA10 if you want to save some bucks
– When it is a great idea to get XA11
– The recording quality of Canon XA10 vs XA11
– Which camcorder that gives the best value for the money
Size and Weight
Let us start from the basic. In terms of design, Canon XA10 and Canon XA11 look like close siblings. They look similar. Both have hard a plastic construction, with some metal parts here and there, and black finish. Their bodies are solid and durable. See also: Canon XA10 vs XA20.
On the left side of each unit, there is a flip display screen which you can tilt and rotate to almost any angle, so that you can monitor the recording even in the most difficult shooting situation. On the top, you can find various controls, including dedicated dials and switches for two audio channels. On the rear, there is an electronic viewfinder for seeing exactly what the lens is seeing in real time.
Canon XA10 is the smaller and lighter of the two camcorders, though the differences in their dimensions are not very significant. Canon XA10 measures 5.1 inches x 7.0 inches x 8.0 inches (including the lens hood, handle, mic holder, and rear eyecup). The weight is about 1.8 lbs.
Canon XA11 is slightly bigger and heavier, but the differences are rather marginal. This camcorder measures 5.2 inches x 7.1 inches x 9.1 inches and weighs approximately 2.5 lbs, including the lens hood, handle, mic holder, and rear eyecup.
Nevertheless, both models are still compact and lightweight enough for easy handling. You can grip either model with a single hand easily and comfortably. Canon XA10 and Canon XA11 are very lightweight, so they won’t make your hands sore and exhausted during extensive use. They are highly portable, making them ideal choices if you travel a lot for your job for field recording.
Display and Viewfinder
An interesting difference between Canon XA10 vs XA11 is found on their display and viewfinder screens. Older generations of camcorder, including Canon XA10, often have a very good display, but the viewfinder is just barely useful. The latest models like Canon XA11 have a pretty good display, but the viewfinder is of a much higher quality.
Canon XA10 features a 3.5-inch high-res touch panel LCD, which is said to provide 100 percent field of view. The display is very enjoyable to see. With a resolution of 922,000 dots, the display can easily deliver very sharp and detailed images.
However, the 0.24-inch viewfinder of Canon XA10 only has a resolution of 260,000 dots. It also has 100 percent field of view, so you can see the entire scene that the camcorder is shooting, but the low resolution makes it a little bit inconvenient to use.
Canon XA11, on the other hand, comes with a slightly smaller display. It is a 3.0-inch LCD panel with a resolution of 460,000 dots. The display also provides 100 percent coverage. Although the resolution is lower, the reduced screen size helps to keep the pixel density fairly high, hence allowing the preview images to remain quite sharp.
Canon XA11 also has a 0.24-inch viewfinder with 100 percent coverage, but it is much more sophisticated. It has a resolution of 1.56 million dots. The images are very sharp, precise, and detailed. It has decent brightness and color accuracy, too.
The next difference between Canon XA10 vs XA11 is about the storage. The older product does have internal storage. But this feature has been erased from the newer model.
Canon XA10 comes with 64GB internal storage, which can be quite useful for recording a few Full HD videos. If you don’t want to buy memory cards, or at least not yet, this camcorder can function fine with the internal storage alone. Canon XA10 also has two slots for SD, SDHC, or SDXC memory cards when you are ready to expand the storage.
Canon XA11, on the other hand, does not have any internal storage. There are just two slots for SD, SDHC, or SDXC memory cards. Without any internal storage, you must insert at least one memory card in order to record a footage. You need to purchase the memory cards separately because none is included in the box. Nevertheless, getting a memory card with decent capacity is quite easy nowadays, so this is probably not a problem for you.
Input and Output
The other inputs and outputs of Canon XA10 and Canon XA11 are pretty much similar. They each have an accessory shoe, but this is a cold shoe for holding an external device without any direct signal path to the electronics or recording. They each also have a remote control terminal, which will allow you to control the camcorder from a distance via a remote control.
Each model here comes with a Mini USB 2.0 Hi-Speed port and Mini HDMI connector for external monitoring. In addition, there is a component video output and a composite 3.5mm output. Note that the 3.5mm mini-jack also doubles as a headphone terminal.
For audio input, each camcorder features two XLR connectors that are switchable between mic and line levels. The XLR connectors have phantom power, so they can be used to power up demanding microphones. These connectors are really handy for various external microphones as well as other instruments. Additionally, a 3.5mm stereo microphone input is also available.
Lens and Zoom
You need a good image sensor in order to get quality footage, but that’s not the only thing. When working in a demanding environment, your camcorder also needs to have a powerful lens. Canon XA10 vs XA11 come with different lenses.
The lens of Canon XA10 is actually really good. It is an f/1.8-2.8 Genuine Canon Video Lens, which has a focal length of 4.25-42.5mm (35mm equivalent to 30.4-305.35mm). This lens can provide up to 10x optical zoom, which is quite handy for getting clear and sharp pictures from some distance.
The optimized digital zoom goes up to 40x, which is also quite reliable with minimal reduction in image quality. The basic digital zoom can go up to 200x, but it will make the images blurry.
However, if you really need a powerful lens with high zooming capabilities, Canon XA11 should be your choice. It comes with a newer f/1.8-2.8 Genuine Canon Video Lens with a focal length of 3.67-73.4mm (35mm equivalent to 26.8-576mm).
The optical zoom goes up to 20x, which should be sufficient for almost any shooting need. The digital zoom goes up to 400x. But the images at high digital zoom levels become really blurry, so you should stick with the optical zoom whenever possible.
Canon XA10 already has the Dynamic SuperRange Optical Image Stabilization (OIS). It is a lens-shift system that ensures optimum image quality even when the camera is held in shaky hands. The OIS has four modes: off, standard, dynamic, and powered. The standard mode will keep the compensation at the peak level constantly. The dynamic mode is for wide-angle, whereas the powered mode is for telephoto. For sure, the image stabilization of this camera is highly effective and reliable.
Canon XA11, however, comes with a newer, more advanced image stabilization. It combines the lens-shift optical image stabilization with electronic stabilization to provide superior performance. The hybrid IS is really great for minimizing shakiness and blur, and the overall performance is better than the predecessor. Also, Canon XA11 has an Intelligent IS mode which will automatically select the optimum settings according to the environment and camera’s condition.
Both cameras are able to record Full HD (1920 x 1080) footage. In general, both Canon XA10 and Canon XA11 have very good recording quality. They produce sharp and detailed images with impressive colors. However, there are still a few differences to set the two models apart.
Canon XA10 is armed with a smaller image sensor, which is a 1/3-inch 2.37 CMOS sensor. It also runs on an older Canon DIGIC DV III processor. Compared to the new model, Canon XA10 feels a bit slower, and the images are not as sharp.
Canon XA10 can record Full HD videos at 60i, 30p, or 24p frame rate. The 60i (interlaced) setting is good for making content for TV channels. But it is not good for modern digital screens. It is more blurry compared to the 60p frame rate.
Canon XA11 has a 1/2.84-inch 3.09 MP CMOS sensor. The wider size and higher resolution enable the sensor to deliver sharper, brighter images. Also, Canon XA11 features the new Canon DIGIC DV IV processor, so the performance is unsurprisingly snappier.
Canon XA11 supports recording at 60p, 60i, 30p, and 24p. The 60p setting is really nice because it can provide significantly sharper movements and less blur when displaying the footage on modern digital screens like PCs and phones. Many new televisions nowadays can also show the full potency of 60p content.
Canon XA10 vs XA11
In general, Canon XA11 is more recommended. It is better in almost every aspect. More importantly, it has better recording quality, and it supports 60p frame rate. Also, it has higher zoom levels and a more advanced image stabilization system. However, if you are really tight on budget, Canon XA10 can be a decent alternative, as the recording quality is already good enough and the feature set is mostly similar.