Canon Unveils New Professional Camcorder: the XA10

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Canon unveiled the XA10 today at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Today, Canon announced a new professional camcorder, the XA10, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The camcorder isn't much larger than some of Canon's top-line Vixia models (like the HF S21), which means the XA10 is likely being marketed as a bridge camcorder that blurs the line between high-end consumer and professional models.

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The XA10 shares many of the same features and qualities as the Canon XF105 and XF100, two members of Canon's XF line of professional camcorders, but it is also nearly identical to Canon's new Vixia HF G10 consumer camcorder that was also announced this morning at CES. You can read about the HF G10, Canon's new top-of-the-line consumer camcorder, here.

Internally, the XA10 has a lot in common with the XF105 and XF100. In fact, the XA10 has the same 1/3-inch image sensor as its XF predecessors, although it records using AVCHD compression rather than the XF codec. With AVCHD compression, the XA10 is limited to a 24Mbps maximum bitrate and 4:2:0 color sampling instead of the 50Mbps and 4:2:2 sampling offered on the XF105 and XF100 models. The sensor and bitrate specs on the XA10 are identical to those offered on the aforementioned Vixia HF G10.

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The lens on the XA10 has identical specs to the lenses found on the XF105 and XF100. For those who don't have those specs memorized, here they are: 10x optical zoom and a 30.4 - 304mm focal range. At 1.7 pounds, the XA10 is roughly 3/4 of a pound lighter than the XF100, which should make it ideal for on-the-go recording.

The XA10 records has dual SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card slots (as opposed to CF cards on the XF models) and it comes packed with 64GB of built-in memory—two more features that should enhance the portable nature of the model. The LCD on the XA10 uses touchscreen technology, and it has a large 3.5-inch display with a 921,000-pixel resolution.

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To set it apart from the Vixia HF G10, the XA10 has a removable handlebar that features dual XLR inputs for professional audio recording. The XA10 also has the infrared recording feature that was found on the XF105 and XF100, but is not present on the HF G10. The XA10 features double the internal memory of the HF G10 as well (64GB vs. 32GB).

You can expect the XA10 to hit the stores in late March of 2011, and it should retail for around $1999. A wireless microphone, with a release date set for May, will also be available with the camcorder at a cost of $250.