These days it's common to shoot video on photo-focused cameras; DSLRs and mirrorless cameras have dramatically expanded shooting options for videographers looking for high-quality results on a budget. But in most cases, the priority these cameras place on photography is easy to see from their grips and button layouts. A new camera from Canon goes the other way — it's more or less a camcorder, but one that should please photographers as well.
The XC10 shares some DNA with Canon's high-end Cinema EOS line, in particular the C100. It has a 1-inch sensor with a max ISO sensitivity of 20,000, and Canon says it will provide 12 stops of dynamic range when capturing 305Mbps 4K video or 12-megapixel still photos. The fixed lens is a 24-240mm-equivalent f/2.8-5.6 zoom, and the body is small at just 4.9 x 4 x 4.8 inches — though it gets bigger when attaching the lens hood and clip-on loupe-style viewfinder. There's a microphone socket, headphone jack, HDMI 1.4 port, DC power, a built-in neutral density filter, and both USB and Wi-Fi connectivity.
What all of this means is that the XC10 should be a seriously versatile camera that draws on Canon's abilities in both photo and video. It could be particularly well suited to journalists and others in the media who need to capture high-quality movies and still images in the field without carrying a ton of gear. While 1-inch sensors aren't as capable as what you'd find in a DSLR, cameras like Sony's RX100 line have proven that they can produce great results.
The XC10 will be a niche product for consumers
That said, at $2,499 the XC10 will be a niche product among consumers. Sony's RX10 and Panasonic's FZ1000 pair more capable lenses with the same size sensor and reasonable amateur-level video capability for less than half the price, for example, and Panasonic's Lumix GH4 is a strong 4K-capable contender with a larger Micro Four Thirds sensor and a wide selection of compatible lenses. But for a certain kind of user, the XC10 could be a uniquely appealing camera. It's a hybrid device that puts pro-level video at the forefront of its design, while offering strong photo functionality along the way.
It'll be out in June.