Updated 9 February 2017
Canon’s XC15 is an updated version of their easy-to-use broadcast quality camcorder, the XC10.
Like the XC10, it shoots very well stabilised HD and 4K footage, with great Canon colours, in a relatively small unit that looks more like an SLR than a pro camcorder.
It looks like the XC10. The main difference is the bundled MA-400 audio adapter that allows the use of pro microphones. As well as two XLR inputs, there’s a holder for a shotgun microphone, and physical control switches and dials under a clear cover on the top. It has a similar function to the detachable top handle on Canon’s XA20 camcorder: I find it really handy to be able to adjust audio levels with dials rather than touchscreen. But the adapter makes the camera a lot bigger and less discreet.
The new model also adds 24p recording in 4K and 1080p, a waveform monitor, movie looks that match the C300 Mk II, a highlight priority mode, and a new touch panel with an operation lock.
Minus points? Same as the original. There’s only one level of built-in ND filter, which might not be enough on bright days; it relies heavily on the touchscreen, which can slow down operation; you need expensive CFast cards to shoot 4k; and the clip-on loupe, which magnifies the screen, distorts the image if you use it while wearing glasses.
I liked the XC10 as an easy-to-use broadcast quality camera for non-specialists, and the XC15 looks like a significant improvement.
If you don’t need XLR inputs, the original XC10 (review) costs significantly less than the XC15.
If you don’t need Canon colours or the 10x zoom range, Panasonic’s similarly priced (with kit lens) GH5 mirrorless camera, with its high-quality viewfinder, could be a more flexible alternative (though its XLR unit is a $400/£360 add-on).