Describing Canon’s fixed-lens, consumer-oriented compact 4K UHD all-in-one video camera – which also shoots JPEG-only stills – as a “pocket rocket” in a press release earlier this month, Atomos’ Jeromy Young wrote of how all that turbocharged rocket power can be unleashed via the Atomos Shogun.
That the XC-10 plays nice with the Shogun may be good news for the many industry critics still scratching their heads at yet another example of Canon coming late to the affordable 4K race, but is it good news for would-be buyers of the XC-10? I’m not so sure. But please read on.
I have to say it. The XC-10 is an odd camera and I can only guess at what Canon was thinking when it came up with it. Or perhaps I had better not – it might do my head in. I do know that Canon’s average time to market for consumer and ‘prosumer’ cameras, according to a former longtime Canon R&D staff member, is 3 to 5 years. And the first versions of entirely new products like the XC-10, says my ex-Canon expert, “are always crippled”.
I can’t argue with that. I have blown a fair bit of hard-earned cash on Canon products that could be described that way – crippled, expensive and out-of-date. No more. The XC-10 concept may have seemed cutting edge back in 2010 or 2012 but now, it is out of place and out of time.
The first thing that struck me about the XC-10 as entirely inappropriate is its zoom lens. It is too slow – at f/5.6 at the long end – and it is too long – at the 35mm equivalent of 27.3mm to 273mm. Granted, the 35mm focal length equivalents for shooting stills with the XC-10 are 24mm to 240mm, a much more reasonable range for that purpose, but 27.3mm is way too narrow for the wide end of a standard video camera zoom lens.
Then there is Canon’s claim that the XC-10 is “a GoPro on steroids”. That is, essentially a drone camera. One big difference between the GoPro and this steroids alternative – GoPros have wider lenses. Too wide for me given I am not a full-frame fisheye lens fan, instead preferring rectilinear ultra-wide lenses for “you are here” immersive stills and video shots.
My colleague Hugh Brownstone wrote some initial coverage of the XC-10 earlier this month and readers began puzzling over the camera’s specs. Firestorms over the camera have been unleashed on other online fora and websites since.
I won’t keep going over the same ground here, save to say that I do remain puzzled as to the XC-10’s raison d’être. With the benefit of hindsight and Blackmagic Design’s NAB 2015 announcements, their Micro Cinema Camera looks is more a “GoPro on steroids” than the XC-10, with interchangeable, fast, wide, affordable Micro Four Thirds lenses to boot. And more. For all that, I can forgive the BMMCC’s lack of 4K.
And yet, I am sure that Canon’s XC-10 will have its devotees, those who are prepared to pay its USD2,500 asking price and laugh at the added cost of all those CFast cards needed to shoot enough enough 4K footage in the course of a day. Not to forget a damned fast, contemporary editing workstation and lots and lots of hard drive space.
Those same devotees will have probably have no problem with the idea of adding a circa USD2,000 Atomos Shogun to the mix in order to boost the camera’s usefulness and “record to edit friendly formats”.
Jeromy Young’s prediction that the “Shogun will be the first accessory purchased for the XC-10” may be right on the button. For some. The rest of us may well be considering what other camera makers can offer for that USD4,500, especially if earning other currencies with less than impressive exchange rates.
Let’s see, USD to AUD, that makes it AUD5,600 at today’s rate. Now what can I buy for that?Is the Atomos Shogun recorder/monitor the perfect 4K complement to Canon’s 4K XC-10? Click To Tweet
Atomos Shogun Fully Supports New Canon XC-10
Via Atomos Press Release:
Melbourne, Australia – 8th April 2015: Canon's latest announcement sees the Japanese giant launch a compact 4K video camera, the XC-10. Inheriting many features from the Cinema EOS range but in an incredibly small form factor it delivers 4K on the run and most importantly has the essential feature of clean HDMI, start/stop trigger and timecode over HDMI for perfect integration with the Shogun and other Atomos recorders.
“Atomos is proud to be playing a major part in the 4K revolution by enabling these amazing cameras to record to edit friendly formats.” said Jeromy Young CEO and co-founder of Atomos. “Canon today has changed the playing field again with this pocket rocket that is only unleashed by the addition of a Shogun recorder or an Atomos CFast card, we are confident Shogun will be the first accessory purchased for the XC10.”
Atomos Press Release, continued
With the Atomos Shogun, XC-10 users will gain:
– Direct to ProRes/DNxHR 4K recording (up to 2160p30) and ProRes/DNxHD recording (up to 1080p60). This means users do not have to transcode the XC-10's internal recordings ready for editing in Apple FCPX, Adobe Premiere or Avid Media Composer.
– The 4K recording, apart from being the native codec for NLEs, is also 4:2:2 color accuracy and 10-bit color depth that enables the freedom in post production to integrate 10-bit effects and overlays.
– A 7″ monitor almost six times the area of the XC-10's 3″ display, is the best and only way to truly set up Pro shots with professional features not available on the XC-10 like 3D LUTs, 2:1 & 1:1 zoom for critical focus, vectorscope, false color and the ability to have ongoing color calibration using an optional Spyder unit.
– Ability to tag footage on the fly as Favorite/Reject ready for immediate integration into Final Cut Pro, Adobe or other NLE's
– Long record times onto affordable and reliable SSD media as opposed to the more expensive $/GB media option on the XC-10.
– With built in HDMI to SDI signal conversion the Shogun/XC-10 combination can perfectly integrate into an existing SDI workflow
– The breakout XLR connection gives the Shogun/XC-10 combination both balanced analog XLR audio and 48V phantom power options for condenser microphone solutions.
For all of this added functionality, users do not sacrifice usability since the Atomos Shogun and the Canon XC-10 have synchronized start/stop trigger and timecode over HDMI meaning 1 touch recording from the Canon will trigger the record and timecode to start on the Shogun.
The Canon XC-10 also supports the Atomos CFast cards. Small and reliable Atomos CFast cards are available in both 64GB and 128GB options and perfect for affordable filmmaking on the go. The blend of advanced functions with industry leading usability makes the XC-10 / Shogun a perfect 4K combination and the biggest 4K news to come from NAB 2015, which still hasn't started yet.
Atomos exist to help creative professionals cut through technology barriers by creating easy to use, cutting edge products including 4K & HD Monitor-recorders, a pocket size ProRes recorder, signal converters & power management solutions. Each product serves a different need but all share the common benefit of enabling a faster, higher quality and more affordable production schedule for video professionals.
(cover photo credit: snap from Atomos and B&H)