4K UHD demand pushes Canon Europe to bring fixed lens XA series of camcorders “up to date”

Canon Europe has announced it is refreshing its XA series of professional fixed lens cameras with three new 4K UHD camcorders, the XA55, XA50 and the XA40 entry level product, in response to the growing market requirement for 4K UHD production.

The new Canon XA55 fixed lens camcorder

The XA55 and XA50 are 4K UHD camcorders with a 1.0-type sensor, Dual Pixel CMOS AF and 15x Optical zoom, with the XA55 model featuring 3G SDI. The XA40 is an ultra-compact 4K UHD camcorder with 1/2.3-type sensor and 20x Optical zoom.

Graham Payne, product manager for professional and imaging products at Canon UK, told SVG Europe: “We are bringing our XA series up to date with more 4K products.”

The XA55, XA50 and XA40 are equally suited to 4K UHD and HD production, with Over Sampling HD processing allowing users to benefit from advanced Full HD capture, while the camcorders also offer a host of versatile professional features. Competitively priced and light in weight, these new camcorders broaden the reach of the XA product family and will appeal to professional users for applications such as news gathering, corporate video and documentary production, said Barry Griffin, cinema EOS and pro video trainer for customer marketing at Canon UK, while speaking to SVG Europe.

Portable and highly compact, the XA55 and XA50 enhance the appeal of the XA range to camcorder users, claimed the company. Griffin said that while the new models do not have IP streaming capability, they are still suitable for sports broadcasting: “These cameras are for capture not live content, but the 15x optical zoom will enable you to get closer to the action with a fixed lens solution, while Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF will allow you to have assured autofocusing for sports, which is especially important with moving subjects. This solution is ideal for smaller sporting events.”

The two models are the first in the XA-series to include a 1.0-type CMOS sensor with fast and reliable Dual Pixel Autofocus technology. Griffin stated: “Bringing in the larger sensor, we’re bringing the beauty shot capability into this fixed lens camera solution that we’ve never had in this range before.”

Added Payne: “Anything where you’re filming people you’re now able to get a more aesthetically pleasing image. Now we’re getting the larger lens in a fixed lens solution, you can achieve the look you needed to use a DSLR for before, but this is out of the bag; put the audio on and off you go, with no need for a big kit bag.”

For the first time globally, the XA55, XA50 and XA40 will be on display at NAB 2019 on the Canon stand (Central Hall, C4425).

Canon’s new Sumire range of lenses

Meanwhile, Canon Europe has also announced the launch of its Sumire Prime lens series, a range of seven fast T-stop cinema prime lenses, all with an interchangeable PL mount, which can be modified to an EF mount . Bolstering its cinematography offering, the new lenses – CN-E14mm T3.1 FP X, CN-E20mm T1.5 FP X, CN-E24mm T1.5 FP X, CN-E35mm T1.5 FP X, CN-E50mm T1.3 FP X, CN-E85mm T1.3 FP X and CN-E135mm T2.2 FP X – are compatible with any PL mount cinema cameras equipped with either a 35mm full-frame format sensor or a Super 35mm format sensor, including selective Cinema EOS cameras. With their newly designed cinematic look and unified warm colour tone, these prime lenses are designed to enhance creativity and operability in the cinema industry.

Said Griffin: “Rather than put a PL mount on our existing lenses, instead Canon has changed the optics on these to deliver a brand new look that Canon’s never had before. The Sumire range is not anamorphic, but they create an anamorphic feel to the edges; this is a trend at the moment, which Canon researched by talking to filmmakers, for a soft, beauty look.”

Added Payne: “The optics [on the Sumire Prime range] are completely different to our existing range. The Canon look in the past is very clean, precise and very sharp. This new range is softer, more artistic.”

Concluded Griffin: “These lenses could become very popular for companies like Netflix and Disney for lower budget but high end content.”

Canon Europe additionally announced the expansion of its 4K broadcast series with the launch of two zoom lenses for 4K broadcast cameras employing 2/3-inch sensors: the CJ18ex28B and CJ15ex8.5B. Both lenses enable 4K optical performance, while maintaining maneuverability and handling comparable to that of its lenses for HD broadcast cameras. Meeting the wide ranging needs of documentary, live event and sports productions these new additions to Canon’s UHDgc series line up are useful for broadcasters looking to futureproof their content, when shifting to 4K systems and workflows.

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