I am a journalist who puts together all kinds of stories that require interviews and all kinds of shots and creativity.
I was looking at the Canon VIXIA HF G10 as well as this add-on for XLR inputs [Canon MA-300 Dual XLR Microphone Adapter & Holder for GL-2/XL-2 Camcorders]. I was wondering what you think of the video and audio quality these pieces would provide?
I was also wondering if the video files from this camera can go into Final Cut Pro easily?
I like the look of the Canon HF G10 a lot. Infact, if I was in the market for a camcorder for under $2,000, that camera would be at the top of the list (with the Sony HDR-CX700V a close second.) I've played briefly with the HF G10 at a show, and was impressed with it's professional features like focus assist (which doubles the image in the viewfinder), peaking (also helps with focus by displaying color outlines where sharp edges appear), a visual indicator for focus range, zebras and exposure waveform.
The image sensor is impressive too - for a camcorder in this price range - because it's resolution matches the HD frame resolution (1920 x 1080.) This means that the image from the sensor doesn't have to be resampled, and should have less moire in some situations. It also performs very well in low light. I think the video quality from this camera should be very good
Apart from the lack of audio inputs, it's only limitation is that you won't get the shallow depth of field you can get with DSLRs. Personally, while I like the shallow depth-of-field look, working with DSLRs requires a lot more effort, what with the 12 minute recording limit, lack of focusing features, etc. If you were choosing between a DSLR and a small-chip camera, I think it really depends on what results you want, and how hard you are willing to work for those results. I see people shooting run- and-gun interviews with DSLRs, but it doesn't appeal to me! For ease-of-use I'd rather get the HF G10 or something similar. And it's still possible to blur out the background by moving the camera further away from the subject, and then zooming in (usually, the more zoomed the lens is, the shallower the depth of field.)
Camcorderinfo.com has reviewed both the Canon HF G10 and the Sony HDR-CX700V, and seemed to like the HF G10 better, though they also seem to like Panasonic camcorders a lot too, noting that the Panasonic HDC-TM700 [which appears to be discontinued- Ed] is a better value, but it doesn't have as many features.
The intriguing thing about the Sony HDR-CX700V is that it shoots at 60p (as does the Panasonic), which could be useful for doing slow motion effects - great for shooting fast moving subjects. I'm not sure if that's of interest to you. HOWEVER, the Sony has poorer low-light performance, and many editing applications don't handle 60p well at the moment anyway, though that will surely change.
Oh, one other note; even though these cameras are getting better and better in low light, you'll still get much better looking images out of these cameras if you use them in good lighting. If you're shooting indoors, adding one or two additional lights can really make a difference (and the advantage of these sensitive cameras is that the lights don't have to be super bright!)
All things considered, I'd probably buy the HF G10. It's only limitation is the audio inputs, but that's true of most of it's competition. Canon does sell the XA10, which comes with a handle with XLR inputs, but it's another $500 more, AND, doesn't seem to be in stock much.
The GL2 XLR handle you pointed to looks interesting, but I'm not sure if it will work with the HF G10. I tried to do some research, and couldn't find any conclusive answer, though it does say that it only works with certain cameras [this page lists the XL H1, XL2 and GL2], and it uses a "smart connection" so it doesn't just plug into the mic input of any camera.
You might be better off getting something like this from BeachTek [DXA-2T Universal Audio Adapter] which will work with pretty much any camcorder.
Editing should not be a problem in Final Cut Pro. Though I haven't used this camera with it, Final Cut Pro recognizes Canon camcorders quite happily, and I don't think you will have a problem with this camera.
Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions!