By Olivia Van Arsdale

The Canon XA10, advertised as a lightweight professional camcorder, boasts HD 1920×1080 footage, 95 minutes of charge on one battery, and insane space capacity. However, with a price tag marked with a groan-inducing $1,699, can this supposed pack-a-punch camcorder earn back the splurge?

This sleek camera operates as a tough-as-nails workhorse; that much becomes clear after viewing the detachable handle allowing for superior mobility and the external mic holder for those insanely windy days that make your audio fuzzier than a small purebred Dachshund. Pretty user-friendly as well, it sports automatic, manual, and cinematic options to film in (the main difference between which being the FPS). The heavy-duty stabilizer can also make any amateur’s shaky shots usable, and the touchscreen HD viewfinder saves time and effort navigating menus.

The XA10 holds its own in comparison to similar camcorders, especially when it comes to memory. The 64GB internal storage can take a full day’s worth of footage, but in the event that you’re documenting a “Lord of the Rings”-esque quest, pop in 2 SD cards and save triple the original footage. The XA10 weighs lighter than similar models—1.7 lbs with all accessories attached, making it easy to travel with—and has killer zoom capabilities (10x).

However, the camera may be a little too idiot-proof. With no alternative lenses available to attach, a cameraman must stick with a pretty basic 35 mm for everything. Jostling the extremely touchy “focus assistance” ring will change your focus entirely, and it only shoots at a maximum of 60 frames per second. But don’t be fooled; this camera still requires the handling of a true filmography nerd; beginners may get lost in the XA10’s copious capabilities.

Look into this camera if you have A) a significant amount of cash to drop, B) an affinity for filming in outdoor/risky environments, and C) a problem focusing and stabilizing shots. The XA10 operates best for tough, outdoor work, getting jobs done that other camcorders can’t. It can take high-quality footage in near any non-aquatic environment, so Canon has lived up once again to the high expectation set for its cameras. Consider the Canon XA10 for your sporting/outdoor filmography needs, because this camera will outlast many others on the market and earn its own cringe-worthy price tag.