Best Canon camcorders: which all-in-one video camera should you choose?

Canon's XF and XA video cameras combine cutting-edge tech with an all-in-one, easy-to-use design. But which is the best professional Canon camcorder for your livestreaming setup, newsgathering and corporate needs?
A person using a Canon camcorder to film a smartly dressed news reporter on a bridge.

The Canon XA75/XA70 and XA65/XA60B camcorders are designed to integrate seamlessly into Canon’s live video ecosystem and offer significant benefits for livestreaming setups.

Canon's professional video cameras combine some of the best Canon video technology with a familiar, easy-to-use camcorder design. As dedicated all-in-one video cameras, they are easier to control than DSLR or mirrorless cameras, and their compact design makes them more portable than Cinema EOS cameras. This makes them an excellent standalone choice for fast-paced productions, from newsgathering and live events to documentaries and weddings. But which is the best Canon camcorder for you?

"It's one camera, one piece of equipment that you're carrying around with you," says Mehdia Mehtal, Channel Marketing Executive for Professional Video & Broadcast at Canon UK. "Although these camcorders have the option for adding audio accessories should you need them, you don't have to worry about changing lenses as you get a massive 15x or 20x zoom built in, depending on which camera you choose."

And there is certainly plenty of choice available. Canon's XF and XA series of professional camcorders range from broadcast-focused 4K video cameras to budget-friendly Full HD models. The Canon XF605 sets the benchmark for convenience and performance, with intelligent AF tracking that can keep a subject's head in focus even when they're not looking at the camera.

A technician wearing white gloves cleans the sensor of a Canon camera.

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But even advanced Canon LEGRIA camcorders have features that will appeal to professional filmmakers and videographers, including outstanding image quality and professional-level control – see the section on the Canon LEGRIA GX10 below.

To help you choose the ideal video camera for your needs and budget, we've put together a guide to some of the best camcorders available today.

A Canon XF605 camcorder on a recording desk with rows of screens and panels behind it.

The Canon XF605 introduces a host of firsts to the Canon professional 4K video camera range, including Eye Detection and Head Tracking AF, plus enhanced control options such as a new touchscreen interface and improved Browser Remote for smartphones and tablets.

Best all-round professional 4K camcorder: Canon XF605

The Canon XF605 is the most advanced camcorder in Canon's professional 4K video camera range, blending superb performance with a flexible feature set.

It introduces an improved Dual Pixel CMOS AF, now complete with Eye Detection and Canon's EOS iTR AF X Intelligent Tracking technology. "This makes the autofocus even more reliable," says Mehdia. "It can now continue to track a person's head even when they're walking away from the camera."

The Canon XF605 camcorder.

Canon XF605

A versatile broadcast quality 4K camcorder, offering advanced AF, connectivity and streaming for demanding productions.

Just like the Canon XF705, the Canon XF605 features a premium L-series 15x optical zoom lens and a large 1.0-type 4K UHD CMOS sensor. In addition, the XF605 is equipped with a DIGIC DV7 processor that works in harmony with the sensor to deliver high-quality image processing with impeccable clarity and low noise.

Capable of recording 4K UHD 60p/50p in 4:2:2 10-bit XF-AVC and MP4 to dual SD cards, the Canon XF605 is a practical choice whether you need to run footage through post-production or broadcast it directly. A wide dynamic range is captured via Canon Log 3, while PQ and HLG formats are available when your production requires HDR formats. Slow and fast (S&F) mode allows Full HD clips to be recorded at up to 120p, too.

The Canon XF605 also supports less compressed 4K ALL-I recording, which is enabled via a firmware update. Additional features which are added in firmware v1.0.1.1 include XC Protocol support, which allows the Canon XF605 to be used as part of a multicamera solution with other Canon hardware, plus Face Detection AF when shooting in S&F mode, and the ability to monitor all four audio channels in the display – a useful addition when it comes to managing multiple microphones during an interview.

An expanded range of Custom Picture profiles and support for Look Files (3D LUTs) enable users to achieve distinctive footage straight out of the camera. "We introduced Look File support in the EOS C70," adds Mehdia. "I think the concern with many people when they shoot Log is post-production and how much time they spend editing. But when a Look File is baked into the footage it can help to minimise the workflow."

The Canon XF605 is also one of the most connected camcorders. In addition to 12G-SDI, Ethernet and XLR, it comes with a multi-function shoe that can be used to add additional XLR inputs, and it can be connected to the Canon RC-IP100 remote camera controller. The Content Transfer Mobile app allows video to be transferred directly to an FTP server via an iPhone, and video output over USB-C enables the XF605 to be used as a webcam.

A close-up of Canon camcorder filming a reporter on a bridge.

"The benefit of having a 1.0-type sensor in the Canon XA75/XA70 is that you're getting more dynamic range, better low-light capability and the chance to exploit a shallower depth of field at the telephoto end of the zoom," explains Canon Europe Product Marketing Specialist Ram Sarup.

A Canon camcorder records two smartly dressed people having a conversation in an office, while a laptop livestreams the footage.

"The smaller 1/2.3-type sensor in the XA65/XA60B enables a greater telephoto zoom range," says Ram. "This is why smaller sensor cameras are popular in broadcast, and sports in particular."

Best camcorders for livestreaming: Canon XA75/XA70 and XA65/XA60B

What are the essential features you need to look for in the best camcorder for livestreaming? A versatile range of outputs, professional audio, a high-quality zoom and accurate autofocus are probably at the top of the list – and the Canon XA75/XA70 and XA65/XA60B deliver an all counts.

The XA75 and XA70 camcorders are both equipped with a 1.0-type 4K UHD CMOS sensor, while the XA65 and XA60B feature a 1/2.3-type 4K UHD CMOS sensor. All models include a USB-C output as well as HDMI, with the XA75 and XA65 benefitting from an additional 3G-SDI output.

Canon XA65

A 1/2.3-Type CMOS 4K pro camcorder. With advanced autofocus, 20x optical zoom plus 5-axis stabilisation, 3G-SDI, HDMI out and UVC streaming.

"The USB-C output supports UVC streaming protocols," explains Ram Sarup, Canon Europe Product Marketing Specialist. "That allows you to not only use these cameras as a webcam, but for any form of livestreaming in Full HD at 30fps directly through a PC or Mac. That could be livestreaming a service at a place of worship, a lecture or a corporate event with the XA75/XA70 or XA65/XA60B – there are so many uses."

Deciding whether the Canon XA75/XA70 or the XA65/XA60B is the best camcorder for your livestreaming setup will come down to budget and whether you need the higher performance of the XA75/XA70 (which pairs its larger sensor with Dual Pixel CMOS AF) or the smaller form factor of the XA65/XA60B.

In addition to their livestreaming capabilities, these camcorders feature high-quality zoom lenses (15x for the XA75/XA70, 20x for the XA65/XA60B and LEGRIA HF G70) with 5-axis IS for sharp, stable images. They also include OSD (on-screen display) recording for embedding a time/date stamp into footage, and a useful infrared mode that's advantageous for low-light newsgathering, documentary filming and security work.

Marcus Hawkins

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