The Canon XC10 – Who’s Buying This?

by Bret Hoy16 Comments

I’m not sure what I expected, but I can tell you that the Canon XC10 didn’t do anything to surprise me or change my opinion. This could be for a variety of reasons, but mostly it’s because it’s hard to tell exactly who this is made for, but before I get into that, I want to comment on the video itself.

This video, from devinsupertramp on Youtube, actually looks pretty good—the 4k looks like a great option for those that are looking for quick and easy set ups. Seems like it’d be a great camera to just have in your bag, ready to pull out when you might need it. In fact, this video does a great job of highlighting what I can only imagine, this camera was actually built for. It’s made for fun. It’s made to have ready at your convenience. It’s a very casual type camera, in a package and at a price that has me scratching my head and asking, “Who’s buying this thing?”

After perusing some reviews online, I’ve noticed that many people are saying it’s a great B-Cam for other cameras in the Canon arsenal, such as the C300. The question is: Why would you purchase something like the XC10 to play wingman to your C300? At $2,499, your options are so wide open nowadays. The Sony a7S, Panasonic Gh4, Canon C100 and now the Sony FS700 all fall into a similar price range. Let’s also not forget that you can pick up a Canon 5D Mk III and load it with Magic Lantern.

I can say with confidence that, whatever you’re looking for, you can find it in any of those selections. 4k, Log Recording, Low light, Convenience and Raw capabilities. You know, things for people who are spending almost 3 grand on their cameras want.

With that logic, I’m forced to assume that either these people are Canon diehards that have no native Canon Glass or else they’d buy a C100, or they don’t want to buy a Gh4 AND an adapter. But that just doesn’t make any sense, does it?

So when you look at this thing and ask, “Who’s buying this thing?” Realize that the answer is probably… crickets.

planetMitch counterpoint: I suspect that there are plenty of people who are buying this camera – Canon's not going into this without doing market analysis. What I suspect is true is that most of our readers (including Bret) are not the target market for this camera. Imagine news media or event coverage (like NAB) being shot with this and you'll see an entirely different market. Sure, Bret's probably right that the XC10 isn't for filmmakers, but there are plenty of others whom this will appeal to.

So, after watching, sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Life In A Bubble! – 4K

Behind The Scenes – Life In A Bubble!


Via Youtube Description:

Super thanks to Canon for letting us test out the new 4K Canon XC10! Check out the camera here:

Behind the Scenes:

The music in this video is called “Summertime” by Milkman. Check out their music here:

Filmed on the Canon XC10 and the Devin Graham Signature Series Glidecam

Super thanks to Tiffany Alvord and the Dyches Fam for being in this video! Check out their channels below:

Edited in Adobe Premiere Pro CC by Nick Sales

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)

Bret Hoy

Bret Hoy

Bret Hoy is a filmmaker, photographer and writer based out of St. Louis, Missouri. Mainly focused on documentary and experimental film, he has produced, directed, shot and edited many short films and a few long form works.

He shoots a lot and often.
Bret Hoy


  1. I think these are both valid points, there are probably good reasons for this camera to be made and a market for it. I think Canon users (for filmmaking) are just frustrated with Canon. This is a joke of a camera to us and Canon has yet to give us something that has hit mark recently. It is an investment to choose a camera and when you do, you are not only investing in that camera and equipment but in the future products of that company. You hold them to a standard of what should be produced because you have invested money and time into them. 

    For Canon users it has been a very frustrating period because nothing is coming out that is remotely affordable or even close to offering what we want. Meanwhile we watch as Sony, panasonic, and other companies are listening to the filmmaking market and delivering the cameras with features that filmmakers (and photogarphers) love. I have watched as many colleagues and professional filmmakers sell off all of their Canon stuff and happily switch to Sony. That is a huge insult to Canon and I don’t think they have realized it. By switch companies these filmmakers aren’t just saying we don’t think our current camera isn’t good enough anymore but saying that they have no faith in what Canon will produce in the future. 

    I am currently a Canon user and have a lot of love for my cameras, but I too am beginning to lose faith that Canon will produce anything that I actually want anytime soon. Switching companies will cost me a lot of money but I think I will have to do it soon.

  2. When the XC10 was announced, I also asked myself “who should buy this?”. And then I tried it out, and in the meantime I own two of these little “strange” hybrid cameras, using them for work every week.
    I’ve owned plenty of cameras, including the 7D (during the DSLR revolution) and the 5D3 and I still own (and use) a Sony F55, a Canon XF305 and a GH4. I’ve shot ENG on the prominent Sony PDWs and Panasonics.
    None of the cameras listed above even come close to the operability and picture quality of the XC10, especially in the field of ENG for FullHD delivery.
    Here are some reasons for this:
    • The XC10 doesn’t require a rig: Indeed, this is the first DSLR-type camera I have used that didn’t make me yearn for a shoulder rig or a gimbal. The ergonomics are excellent, and the image stabilization (especially the 5-axis in 1080p mode) is breathtaking.
    • The XC10 has an incredible picture quality “out of the box”: I hate moiré and aliasing which is why I had to part ways with the 5D3. I never really liked the “digital” video image that comes out of a GH4 and I spent a lot of time tweaking curves and colors to turn it into something more or less pleasant to view. The XC10 image is solid 4:2:2 8bit and I haven’t realised any disturbing moiré or aliasing yet. The 1″ sensor delivers a 16mm-esque image that still offers plenty of shallow dof without resulting in a 5D3-like blurfest.
    • The XC10 has a parfocal 10x zoom lens: Yep, this camera has a 10x zoom range and the lens is parfocal. That’s more reach than the popular 24-70 / 70-200 combo that many people use. Alright, it doesn’t stay at f2.4 very long, but then again the popular 24-105 is f4 and even Sonys recommended zoom for the FS7 is “only” an f4 (with less zoom range). If you’re cheeky and know how to treat it in post, you can also enable 2x sensor crop and go 20x zoom @ 1080p. Did I mention it’s parfocal?
    • The XC10 is small and super-lightweight: Due to this, the DOP travels light and quick. I have my whole setup (including a Beachtek adapter to mix Videomic Pro + Sennheiser G3 wireless + a headlight) in a small Lowepro backpack. I also don’t have to haul the huge Sachtler tripod that my F55 requires along, a Miller DS10 or even a Sachtler ACE will easily support the XC10. Working in less than ideal “studio” environments, like on top of mountains or on a ship will quickly make anyone appreciate these aspects of the XC10.
    This list could go on and on, but I think it’s clear that the XC10 has a couple of strong points in comparison to the other cameras listed in the article. While it doesn’t replace my F55, it took over a lot of its tasks and makes my everyday camera-operating life easier.
    My GH4 is for sale now…

  3. L and M Films See the new reply from MGerard. Canon is doing what Canon does. They’re on a 3 year cycle with cameras like the 5D and they’re delivering when they’re ready. The question for you is simply do you HAVE to have something different NOW? It is OK to say yes :) Then you’ll switch like the others have done and maybe you’ll be happy and maybe you won’t. As you say there are plenty of cameras and vendors these days. 

    I still have my 5D2 and use it now and then. Just because there are new cameras every other week doesn’t mean you have to have new gear. Maybe you have a need, but I urge everyone not to get caught up in the camera lust just because they feel left out. Buy what you NEED.

  4. The price is not unreasonable if the pretty versatile lens delivers what you need. GH4 + a good lens is in the same ballpark. If you need 4.2.2 4K recording on the GH4 you’ll need to add an external recorder and the XC10 is then a bargain. I’d guess the people who are buying it are the people who need exactly the features it offers. For them it is a reasonable cost, and as MGerard points out, a very compact all-in-one package. If you enjoy assembling and disassembling a camera for every setup you will feel cheated by the XC10. If you just need a camera that does what it does, it’s very attractive. 

    All of that said, I rented one for a week with high expectations and found it just wasn’t for me. Handheld the balance was weird, the grip was cramped, and the neck strap was always in the way of something. On a tripod I really missed the GH4’s articulating screen, especially when using the joystick menus, which one does frequently because there are very few physical buttons. For 4K event shooting I needed to rent some very pricey CFast 2 cards. 

    But I’m looking forward to seeing some of those issues addressed in a mark ii model, and if and when that happens I’ll be taking another close look.

  5. I bought two as part of my kit. Because they are so compact they work amazingly well on my Ronin M, Kessler Cineslider with Second Shooter, and Portajib Traveler. My only disappointment is that if I’m working on a 1080 project they don’t record 24p. I shoot 4K 24p, which looks great, and then I down convert and can even reframe if I want.

  6. I was SO skeptical about this camera – fixed lens, dual different media slots, no raw still etc.,  etc., But now that we have it And added the Ronin M to it (worked equally well on the drone rental company we use. We tested the RED Scarlett and they chose the XC 10 over their own RED ) – Here is our first day test with it on the RONIN M

    Our other 4K is the Canon c500 – we do not call the XC 10 our ‘B’ camera it stands alone in its own right.  We were @Abelcine for some training and they referred to the XC 10 as ‘the sleeper’ . ( Compare the bit rate to the new SONY 7R2 – much higher bps here)

  7. About six months after the release there has been a 20% price reduction to $1999. The equation is getting more interesting.

  8. That’s Canon’s MO these days. As sales drop off they lower the retail price to attract more buyers. In turn they screw all the faithful customers who want to upgrade by dumping on the used market. My 4 year old C300 is still currently available at 1/3 the cost I paid. That makes it financially impossible for me to upgrade to the C300 mkII which retails for $4000 more than I paid originally. Thanks Canon. Hello Sony FS7!

  9. Greg Nosaty I agree – i feel that Canon really doesn’t listen to the market – decisions are made years in advance and thousands of miles from the main markets…physically and maybe more importanly psychicly.

    Having said that the SONY FS7 line is small and cute but you have a much better sensor in that c300

  10. walkerbell Greg Nosaty The C300 makes amazing looking images when I work in 1080p24. But I want and ergonomic body with internal 4K recording. The C300 has neither. But the C300 mkII, body only, retails for $20K CDN while the FS7, body only, retails for $10K CDN. I haven’t seen a side by side test but I’m sure both camera have stellar image quality. But if I’m gonna spend $20K I’ll buy 2 FS7. But this is no longer an XC10 conversation.

  11. So, a funny observation. Certain things happened recently that led me to take another look at the XC10 and I ended up acquiring a used one at quite a good price. And then the strangest thing happened. Now that I have actual money invested in it, my opinion of the camera has become highly favorable. The flaws now seem petty compared to the beautiful images and the wonderfully compact form factor. This makes me want to go back and read reviews and comments here and elsewhere about all sorts of gear and see if there’s a correlation between favorable opinion and ownership.

  12. planetMitch eclux I think weak marketing on Canons part and many of us ‘professionals’ poo poo’ed it based on its pre release feature set/limitations.  Then you get your hands on one, rig it up on  Movi, shoot in 4K Canon Log, and in our tests it is just a better all-around easier to use 4K camera with a built in 4K cinema lens than any of the new much better marketed SONY ar 7 II line. Yes the menus suck, the ‘z finder’ they ship with it went in the trash on the second day, 2 different chips is a pain at first blush, but the image quality and the dynamic range of the XC 10 continues to make it the one camera i take if i cannily take one camera. Our drone guys tested it against the RED scarlett for their drone work and choose it. We have it on a Movi and love what it does for us day in day out.!video=tractors  a recent example.

Leave a Comment