When Canon’s Cine 8-T video camera hit the market in 1956, it was only the third movie camera available in Japan. It was compatible with several lenses, and also had an additional viewfinder to look through and focus the lens that wasn’t currently in use—a revolutionary feature for its time. Canon’s Cine 8–T received the first G-mark award in Japan, a design prize awarded by the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The company has remained an industry leader in video imaging capabilities, with a full range of professional and consumer video cameras and camcorders. Here are the best Canon video cameras on the market today.
Canon Vixia HF10
This consumer-grade video camera makes great images, as all cameras in Canon’s Vixia line do. It’s not quite broadcast quality, but if you’re only planning on screening them in an online format (like YouTube) it’ll look top-notch.
• External microphone jack
• Threaded lens barrel for lens attachments
• 16GB of internal memory with additional slots for SD cards
• Tiny and lightweight
• Wide-angle imaging capability with image stabilization
• Shoots in AVCHD format (need software to files)
• No standard definition option
• Interface is slow, especially if using it for still images (not recommended)
Canon Vixia HF R500
A step up from the HF10, both in price and image capability, this consumer-range camcorder is another that produces video that works for Internet sharing, but isn’t quite broadcast quality.
• 3.28-megapixel resolution with full HD CMOS sensor
• 57x zoom with image stabilization
• Touchscreen with ergonomic, intuitive design
• External microphone jack
• Doesn’t perform well in low-light situations
• Manual shutter open option only
• LCD screen too reflective in sunlight to see
This is an entry-level professional video camera. It’s at the expensive end of the spectrum, and is more designed for professional than consumer use. If you’re looking to foray into more serious video production, this is a great starter model.
• Updated version of XA20, with HD–SDI output
• 8-blade aperture and manual focus ring
• Portable and small design with detachable handle
• Infared shooting mode for super low-light scenarios
• Focus can be slow
• Menus and interface not as intuitive as other Canon models
• Cannot switch quickly between auto and manual exposure settings
Canon EOS–1D X
This is one of the highest-end DSLRs that Canon makes, and it’s one of the best video cameras you can buy. It’s used by professionals and produces broadcast-quality photography, in either video or stills. If you’re looking for a powerhouse that does well for both photography and filmmaking, this is your best bet.
• 18.1-megapixel resolution with CMOS sensor
• Extra joystick for portrait mode for easy toggling between frames
• Super sharp imaging capability, even in low light situations
• Dual compact flash card slot
• Intuitive user interface menu design
• Not much digital noise up to 25000 ISO
• Heavier than other comparable models
Canon XL H1A
When the XL H1 was introduced it was Canon’s first HDV camcorder with interchangeable lenses. When the H1A were introduced in 2008, it featured a metal instead of plastic body and timecode options. This specific model is used primarily by documentary filmmakers and broadcast journalists.
• Can shoot in either HD or standard definition
• Three interlaced 1440×1080 CCD sensors
• Uncompressed HD output option
• Sturdy, durable design with metal chassis
• Interchangeable lenses
• 20x optical zoom
• Very expensive
• Only 2-channel instead of 4-channel audio
• Weight balance is a little off