This is an awesome camera. Every person who grabs it and uses it for the first time is surprised how good it is for it’s size. We originally purchased it as the best night time camera we could find. In researching, we red the production notes of “The Ghost Hunters” TV show and they would not say enough good things about it. We agree.
For nighttime use, there is a slide switch on the side that mechanically moves a IR-Cut filter into and out of place. As with all IR cameras, this will not shoot in total darkness. It needs some light, and really works well with infrared light. With he iris wide open, and IR emitters, it still has needs a a long exposure to capture video in all but the brightest IR light. But it works surprisingly well. The best out of all of our cameras, especially for video. It is also less picky about variations in lighting than the other cameras, with less washout of well lit areas of the frame compared to the less well let areas.
While working in the dark, it is especially nice to have so much on board storage. The buil-in64GB and two card slots allow for more than enough for our typical shoot times. In fact we have yet to need more than the internal memory. The supplied battery, as usual is very small. We purchased two Wasabi 3000ah batteries, and have yet needed to do a battery swap out. At night we almost always use the LCD, so this is especially good.
For those who haven’t discovered yet, Wasabi makes awesome replacement batteries for just about every camera. We are to the point of using them exclusively, even for the GoPros. They are cheaper than OEM, but tend to be a little more than other off-brand batteries. But they are worth it. We have purchased dozens of batteries by Wasabi and have yet to get a dud, nor have one go bad.
Shooting video at night with IR is tricky. And on the trail like us, you will never get the quality you get during the day. It may be possible if you had time to set many lights properly. But we do not have that luxury. The XA10 is our main camera so we reserve the best lighting for it’s shots. The large IR emitter, reviewed here on this site, is almost always directed at what ever this camera is shooting. The remainder of the cameras either get the shot or not. So when you watch our youtube videos, keep that in mind, this is Cam One with the lights following it. Plus we mount a smaller IR emitter on the camera’s shoe for front light. The footage is incredible considering when we look up from the image clearly displayed on the LCD, all we see is pitch black. The cameraman using this often uses it as his only means of seeing while in the dark on the trail.
This is also a very sturdy camera, from the experience of The Burningman while on a night shoot. He was riding an electric bike with one hand while shooting with this cam in his other. The throttle stuck. He was heading towards a gate at 20+mph, on a trail with woods on both sides– Riding one handed, and no way to stop. In desperation, he laid the bike down and extended the camera out in front of him to try to protect it. It eventually flew from his hands and bounced on the trail. The battery broke, but not the camera. Still working three shoots latter!
This camera is also just a good all around normal HD video camera. We can’t say enough good things about the XA10, day or night.