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Canon XA10 Video Camera Review

by John Mueller 31. December 2011 08:26
John Mueller

For those of you looking for a new video camera for next season the Canon XA10 from Campbell Camera's is one of the most advanced compact video cameras on the market today. Small in size, but very big on features. This compact camera has all the bells and whistles. But it is still very user friendly, for guys like myself who aren’t video experts. Some of the advanced features actually make it easier for the novice videographer. I have used mine the whole 2011 hunting season and will now give you my personal review. I just know a lot of you have that Christmas bonus burning a hole in your pocket. This would be money well spent.

A few controls are located under the flip out viewfinder.

There is not much this little camera can't do.

My camera complete with the 3rd Arm Tree Arm.

There are many things I like about the XA10, but the number one reason I decided on this camera is its size. Since I do all of my own filming and hunt in very hilly terrain, I need a small lightweight camera, one that fits in a small pack or carrying bag and doesn’t weigh a ton. The XA10 is just that, not that much bigger than a point and shoot digital camera. I carry all my camera gear in the Campbell Camera’s small carry bag.

Not that much bigger than my Android.

Two other really neat features on this camera are the Infrared Mode and the Touch Focus feature. The IR mode allows for filming in complete darkness. Much like the IR trail cameras, this produces a black and white video with very good picture quality. I find this most useful when doing interviews in the stand. I can do an interview either before the hunt or after while still in the stand. Sometimes I don’t want to be talking after sunrise or need to wait till after sunset if there are deer near my stand. The Touch Focus mode is great for those of us that self film our hunts. Once you have your deer in your view finder you simply touch the deer on the viewfinder screen and the touch focus locks in on the deer. Even if the deer moves or you move the camera, the camera stays focused on the subject. This prevents the deer from becoming blurry if it walks behind a tree or a branch gets between the camera and the deer. I totally love this feature when self filming.

Just touch the deer on the screen and the touch focus keeps it in focus.

The XA10 has a 64GB internal flash drive which can hold 6 hours of video when set on the highest quality setting and also comes with 2 SD card slots for additional recording time or for simultaneous backup recording. This means no fumbling with changing tapes or worries about running out of tape in the middle of your hunt. The SD cards really make it simple to download the video to a computer for viewing or editing. Just pop the card in the reader slot and away you go.

Another great feature is the lowlight capabilities of the XA10. This camera can film right up to the end of legal shooting light as long as you don’t have to zoom in too much. I was completely surprised at how little light is actually needed to get usable video with this camera.

I don’t have enough time or space to tell you about everything this compact camera can do. The truth is I’m still learning myself. What I have learned is this camera is very easy to use, with most of the controls on the touch screen.You can be as basic as you want be or explore all of the features and make some amazing video with this outfit. I plan on doing more research myself and adding more to my videos next season.

Most of the options are controlled right on the viewfinder screen.

The handle houses the sound level controls.

Even though the XA10 only has a 10 optical zoom, I have been able to use the digital zoom with very good results. As long as I have a steady rest I have no problem zooming in to 60-80x.

If you would like to see some of the video I’ve shot using the XA10, click on this link.

You can also get more info on the XA10 and ordering info from Campbell Camera’s here.

Campbell Outdoor Video School: Learn To Self-Film Your Bowhunts

by Bow Staff 24. February 2011 08:38
Bow Staff

Would you like to learn how to film like the pros? Get tip and tricks to break into the industry? Learn from the best outdoor videographers in the industry? If you would like to start your outdoor filming career today attend the 2011 Campbell Cameras Outdoor Videography School.

The Campbell Outdoor Challenge has teamed up with several leaders in the outdoor video industry to bring to you one of the most informative and hands on training courses for outdoor videographers ever!


No experience? No camera equipment? NO PROBLEM!

The Campbell Outdoor Challenge has teamed up with several leaders in the outdoor video industry to bring to you one of the most informative and hands on training courses for outdoor videographers ever!


Learn everything from starting your own outdoor television show to how to obtain sponsorships to in depth outdoor video techniques. This video school will supply you with the tools and knowledge youneed to be successful in this remarkable outdoor industry!

When: April 13-15, 2011

            May 18-20, 2011

Where: Carmi, IL

Our Price: $1295.00/Person*

*Includes Lodging and Meals

Visit Campbell Cameras website to learn more about the Campbell Cameras Outdoor Video School!

Bowhunt or Die! Episode 7 Recap

by Cody Altizer 19. November 2010 09:53
Cody Altizer

 While it may seem hard to believe, Bowhunt or Die has reached Episode 7 of the 2010 bowhunting season.  With the rut in full swing, our staff members flooded the woods and fields of Wisconsin and Illinois in hopes of harvesting a mature buck on film.  Two of our most persistent Pro Staffers, Mike Willand and Neal McCullough, both harvested good bucks and Todd Graf continued his Quality Deer Management efforts by harvesting his second doe of the season.  In case you missed Episode 7 of Bowhunt or Die, read on for a recap!

Click on this link to view the footage from Episode 7!

 Neal McCullough was the first out of the gates and he brought us an exciting hunt for a Wisconsin 10 pointer.  Neal has been hunting hard all year long and just hadn’t been able to put fit the pieces together, but he stayed resilient and kept after it knowing the only way to tag a big buck was to keep working hard.  On the morning of November 7th, Neal was able to call in a big rutting buck while hunting in Pepin County, Wisconsin.  The big buck was so focused on the buck he thought he heard making the grunt, that he paid no attention to Neal’s mouth grunt to stop him.  Neal had to practically yell at the buck, but when the buck stopped, Neal took hit shot.  The shot didn’t get much penetration, but Neal gave the buck plenty of time and was able to recover his buck.  Congrats Neal on a well-deserved, hard earned Wisconsin buck!

Pro Staffer Neal McCullough had been working very, very hard throughout the season and was thrilled when he harvested this buck.  The expression on his face says it all!

 We then head to Northwestern Illinois and join staff member Mike Willand in JoDaviess County.  Mike’s 2010 season thus far was similar to Neal’s in that he was seeing good bucks from stand, he just wasn’t able to close the deal or they weren’t the caliber buck he was looking for.  All that changed, however, on the afternoon of November 11th.  Just as soon as Mike got settled in his stand, a mature buck pushed a doe across the bean field Mike was situated on and the buck casually walked right in front of Mike’s stand at no more than 20 yards.  Mike’s first shot was true; however, the buck stayed within range and presented another shot.  Mike’s second was through the lungs and the buck laid down and expired; a quick, clean kill!  The result was Mike’s first self filmed buck harvest on an old, mature buck.  Nicely done, Mike!

Mike Willand looking over his first self-filmed buck kill.  While Mike's buck certainly isn't the largest scoring whitetail in Illinois, one cannot refute this buck had some age on him making him extremely difficult to kill and equally rewarding.

 Bowhunt or Die host Todd Graf jumps in on the action as he continues his pursuit for his second buck of the 2010 season.  Todd continued to put in a ton of time and effort and his drive in the whitetail woods to be successful is admirable.  Unfortunately, despite several more buck encounters, Todd just wasn’t able harvest a nice buck for this week’s episode.  On the other hand, Todd was able to harvest a nice adult doe off one of his hunting properties.  Quality Deer Management is very important to Todd and he takes the practice very seriously, so it was a virtual no brainer to thin out the herd and put a little meat in the freezer when the opportunity presented itself.  Great job Todd, now you can focus your efforts on that second monster buck of the season!

This screen shot was taken just seconds before Todd Graf released an arrow.  Todd takes Quality Deer Management very seriously and he didn't hesitate to take this doe to ensure better hunting opportunities in the future.

 John Mueller concludes Episode 7 of Bowhunt or Die as he toughs out a frustrating November.  As amazing as the rut can be for some hunters, it can be equally as frustrating for others as was the case for John.  He had been seeing great activity and some good bucks, just couldn’t coax them in close enough or they were too busy with a doe.  But at the end of the day, that’s bowhunting.  As frustrating as it can be sometimes, that’s also the beauty of the sport because we appreciate the sweeter moments that much more.  Don’t give up, John.  When you do connect, it will only make that feeling that much more enjoyable!

One of the several bucks John Mueller had an encounter with over the past several weeks.  While John wasn't able to harvest a buck, he has certainly put the time and effort in to do so.  Patience pays, John!  Patience pays.

 That wraps up the action for Bowhunt or Die Episode 7.  Unfortunately, firearm season settles in for the majority of the country so there will not be a Bowhunt or Die next week.  If you are a gun hunter, please be safe and remember to wear blaze orange!  Until the next episode of Bowhunt or Die, enjoy the Thanksgiving Week with your family and have a blessed holiday! 

Bowhunt or Die! Episode 6 Recap

by Cody Altizer 15. November 2010 09:22
Cody Altizer

 Episode 6 of Bowhunt or Die marked the beginning of Sweet November in the whitetail woods and to hunters around the country it meant the beginning of the rut.  The Bowhunt or Die team continued their impressive streak of laying down quality whitetails on film in Episode 6 as two more Illinois bucks were harvested.  In case you missed our last installment of Bowhunt or Die, read on as we recap the action!

Follow this link to watch the exciting bowhunting action of Bowhunt or Die Episode 6.

 Richie Music continued his dream season as he harvested yet another Illinois buck.  For the second sit in a row from the exact same tree, Richie was able to harvest a bruiser Northern Illinois buck.  This buck followed the exact same script as his buck the week before, walking down the exact same trail and stopping at the same spot.  Richie’s shot was farther back than he would have liked, but knew that if he didn’t push the buck and gave him plenty of time to expire, he would recover his trophy.  A wise decision by Richie resulted in the recovery of Richie’s second buck.  Unfortunately for Richie, he is now tagged out in Illinois, but I am sure he is not complaining.  Two bucks and two does down is a great season for anyone.  Nicely done, Richie!

Look familiar?  This Illinois beauty of a buck stopped in the same place as the buck Richie harvested in last week's episode.  Richie made his shot count and harvested his second Illinois bruiser from the same stand.

This was Richie's second buck of the 2010 bowhunting season.  Richie has truly had a season to remember and we are grateful he shared his success on Bowhunt or Die with quality footage.

 We then followed Todd Graf on his quest for either his second Illinois giant, or a monster Wisconsin buck, whichever came first.  Todd hunted the end of October and early November hard and had some great, close encounters with some dandy Wisconsin bucks, but they just wouldn’t cooperate.  As Todd stated, as magical as the rut can be to bowhunters, it can turn into a game of cat and mouse.  With bucks tending and chasing does across open fields and through the timber, sometimes you just have to hope you are in the right tree at the right time.  With plenty of season left and knowing the hardcore hunter that Todd is, I know he will put in the time and effort and ultimately have an opportunity to bag one of those Wisconsin brutes that have given him the slip so far this season. 

This is one of the Wisconsin brutes Todd has been chasing this season.  A true giant for any state, I know Todd will do whatever it takes to give himself the best opportunity to harvest this giant by the season's end.

 Bowhunt or Die then introduces its newest and youngest team member, Brady Scheffler.  Brady’s first appearance on Bowhunt or Die was a memorable one has he filmed himself shooting a great Illinois buck.  Brady got up in his stand plenty early one morning and right at first light a buck that Brady had a lot of history with this season presented a shot.  Brady’s shot was true and, despite running farther than expected after the shot, the buck died along a creek bottom.  Big congratulations Brady on harvesting such a fine whitetail and welcome to the team!

This buck had given Brady the slip throughout the month of October, staying just out of range just as he did in this photo.  It was only a matter of time before Brady caught up with him.

Brady recapping the action of his self-filmed buck harvest.  As our newest staff member, Brady made his first appearance on Bowhunt or Die a memorable by taking this great buck. 

 We concluded Episode 6 of Bowhunt or Die by following Justin Zarr on a couple hunts on his property in Northern Illinois.  Justin’s determination to harvest a buck off this piece of property is admirable as he relentlessly tries to figure out these wary suburban bucks.  If you recall in previous episodes, Justin had hunted this piece of property numerous times without even seeing a deer.  Fortunately for Justin he was able to get on some good deer this go around.  While they were just does and smaller bucks, seeing deer is always a morale booster and proves that Justin is inching closer and closer to harvesting a buck in Lake County, Illinois.  Only time will tell if he will be able to do it, so be sure to tune into next week’s episode of Bowhunt or Die to see how he does.

Just a doe?  Not hardly.  Justin was finally able to see some deer from his Lake County property during Episode 6.  During the rut if you find the does, you'll find the bucks.  It's only a matter of time for Justin.

 The 2010 bowhunting season has been very good to the Bowhunt or Die and the first week of November was no different.  Every week I say it will be tough to top the previous week’s episode, but somehow our guys manage to do it.  With the rut now in full swing, I fully expect this week’s episode of Bowhunt or Die to be one of the best ones yet.  Of course, there will only be one way for you to find out.  So, tune in next week to see if the Bowhunt or Die team can continue its impressive inaugural season. 

Bowhunt or Die! Episode 5 Recap

by Cody Altizer 8. November 2010 08:43
Cody Altizer

 The fifth episode of Bowhunt or Die was our best episode so far this season, hands down.  Halloween Weekend was good to the team as 4 bucks hit the ground totaling over 540 inches of bone.  Episode 5 is full of big buck action from Central Illinois and Wisconsin so read on and let’s recap Halloween Weekend on Bowhunt or Die!

Click this link to watch the footage from Episode 5 of Bowhunt or Die!

 Josh Fletcher got things started off for us with an exciting hunt in Wisconsin.  Josh was in the tree October 28th for the first day of what was a planned two week vacation to bowhunt the rut.  Fortunately, (or unfortunately, depending how you look at it) Josh filled his buck tag on his first trip out.  Josh had a nice buck chasing a doe right underneath his stand and, just as he was recapping what he saw with an interview, he hears the crunching of leaves, spots a shooter buck, quickly turns the camera around and prepares for the shot.  With the buck in frame, Josh releases an arrow tipped with the NAP Bloodrunner towards the giant Wisconsin buck.  All in a matter of seconds, Josh had successfully filmed himself shooting the biggest buck of his life!  To top it off, the big bodied whitetail died within just 40 yards of his truck making for an easy drag.  Well done, Josh!

Josh Fletcher posing happily with the biggest buck of his life, a monster Wisconsin 12 pointer.

 We then climb up the tree with Richie Music on a suburban hunt in Northern Illinois.  Despite the annoyances of hunting suburbia, Richie was determined and optimistic about seeing deer and shooting a good buck.  Richie didn’t have to wait long, because around 4 o’clock a monster Illinois 11 pointer walked right into Richie’s shooting lane.  Richie quietly drew his bow, released and let his NAP Bloodunner do its job.  A perfect double lung shot resulted in a dead deer, a happy bowhunter and the biggest buck of Richie’s life on the ground.  Richie’s reaction after he shot the buck is what deer hunting is all about.  Just watching Richie’s excitement and enthusiasm is enough to make me get back in the woods right now!  Kudos to Richie for self-filming the biggest buck harvest of his life with bow and arrow, good job Richie!

The monster 11 pointer just before Richie's arrow strikes true.  The bright red streak you see above and to the right of the buck's rack is Richie's arrow.


Richie with the biggest buck of his life.  A mainframe 10 with a split left G2, long main beams and a super wide spread make Richie's buck a buck of a lifetime.

 Bowhunt or Die then makes the trip south to Central Illinois and Pike County as I continue my quest for not only my first Illinois buck, but my first buck with a bow period.  After filming Justin Zarr for three days, I set out on my own and my first afternoon out I had some action.  About 5:45 I catch movement out of my left eye and see a shooter buck making his towards me.  I immediately take a deep breath, grab my bow, situate the camera and stand up to get ready for the shot.  The buck cooperates beautifully and walks right in an opening just 20 yards from my stand and when he stops, I shoot.  My arrow hit its mark as I watched my Thunderhead Edge pass quickly through the buck’s heart.  I was pumped!  I was able to film myself shooting my first Illinois buck as well as my first buck with a bow.  There is no better feeling!

My first buck with a bow, my first Illinois buck and my biggest buck to date.  I was able to self-film myself harvesting this buck and am extremely proud of him!

 The big buck action continues as we follow Justin Zarr on the same piece of property as he looks for a big buck.  If you have watched the previous episodes of Bowhunt or Die, you’ve watched Justin pass on several nice bucks looking for a mature, Illinois whitetail.  Justin hunted hard for two straight days and despite numerous encounters with younger bucks and a couple close calls with two shooters, Justin headed into Halloween morning without a deer.  Justin is living proof, however, that persistence pays because Halloween morning Justin’s patience was rewarded.  An old, battle tested buck made the mistake of stopping in Justin’s shooting lane and Justin made a perfect shot on him.  Justin’s NAP Nitron made a quick, clean kill on a bruiser Illinois buck.  Justin’s buck actually had three tines broken off which adds character to his rack and proves this old buck was a warrior!  Congrats Justin!

Justin's reaction right after he shot his buck.  This is what bowhunting is all about!

Justin proudly poses with his Halloween buck.  The buck had three broken tines, but he was still a great trophy nonetheless.

 Episode 5 was packed full of exciting buck action, and the hunts shared were similar and unique in several ways.  Josh, Richie, and I all shot the biggest bucks of our lives.  We were all able to successfully self-film the buck harvests featured in Episode 5 and we all relied on NAP broadheads to harvest our bucks.  Combine this with the fact that Josh shot his buck on October 28th, Richie on the 29th, mine on the 30th and Justin’s on the 31st and it all adds up to make for a pretty cool show!  While it may seem as if Episode 5 will be impossible to top, I would put nothing past the Pro Staff with the rut now in full swing.  Tune in this Friday for a new episode of Bowhunt or Die to find out!

Illinois Buck Down! Living the Bowhunter's Dream

by Cody Altizer 1. November 2010 16:21
Cody Altizer

    I’ve always said, “Everyone should get to live a dream come true.”  It’s a simple saying, but I truly believe that at some point, everyone in life should get to live out the dreams they had has a kid, regardless of how wild or seemingly unattainable they might be.  Fortunately for me, I have been living a literal dream come true for the past month and a half and that dream got even sweeter this past weekend.  So, when I received official word that I would be heading South with Justin Zarr to his lease in Pike County, IL to hunt and film for three days, I had an undeniable feeling that something good was going to happen.


The view from my stand Saturday October 30th.  Central Illinois is some of the prettiest country I have ever seen and just being there was a blessing in itself.

    One of the perks of being a Pro Staff member is I get to hunt with some genuinely cool guys on some awesome whitetail hunting grounds.  The current downside of this opportunity is that I am the “low man on the totem pole” and have to work my way to obtain hunting privileges.  This means I am cameraman first, hunter second.  So, the deal was I was to film Justin for three hunts, and then I had three hunts to myself.  I was cool with this as wildlife cinematography is a growing passion of mine and I was anxious to hunt alongside Justin for three days.  Nevertheless, I would be lying if I told I wasn’t out-of-my-mind excited to have the opportunity to hunt Pike County for three consecutive hunts Halloween Weekend. 

This doe got a pass from me at 20 yards.  A text from my dad kept me optimistic that a buck was going to make his way by my stand.

    While filming Justin I tried to learn as much as I could about the property and the deer’s patterns as I could so I could really get the most out of my three hunts.  When Saturday afternoon rolled around and my duties as cameraman were complete, I was prepared to harvest not only my first Illinois buck, but my first bow buck period.  Justin’s lease is a real unique piece of property as it is essentially one huge bedding area with approximately 65% of it being a huge CRP field.  However, when filming Justin we saw the majority of the 3+ year old bucks in the remaining timber and I knew that’s where I wanted to concentrate the most of my efforts.  Being late October, the mature bucks were on their feet more than usual, but weren’t really willing to venture out in the wide open CRP just yet.  So I opted to hunt the fringe of the CRP field Saturday night and was prepared to sit in a tree all day Sunday in the timber if need be.
    Now, I know I dedicated nearly an entire paragraph to trying to pin down a mature buck, but I must make a confession.  I was just looking for my first bow buck period!  I have passed on several bucks with my bow back home in Virginia as I wanted my first bow buck to be in the 120” range and figured the same rule should apply in Illinois. 

A shot of my buck just seconds before I released the arrow.  Be sure to watch Bowhunt or Die this Friday to see the footage of my hunt.

    As I got settled in my stand Saturday afternoon I was a little bummed about the weather.  Temperatures were in the middle 60s and the wind was blowing just enough to irritate me so I didn’t start the hunt off on a very positive note.  However, I reread a text my dad sent me Friday morning when Justin and I were seeing great buck activity from the same stand.  He told me, “I’ve got a feeling Mr. Big is going to come by you this weekend! Relax, steady, release!  Mr. Big is yours!”  Without even knowing it, my Dad had lifted my spirits some 700+ miles away.  I was ready for the hunt. 

My 2010 Pike County, IL bowhunt.  You would be hard pressed to find a happier hunter than the one sitting behind that buck October 30th. 

Is he the biggest buck roaming the timber and fields of Central Illinois?  Absolutely not.  Am I uncontrollably proud of this buck?  You bet!

    The evening slowly passed with pleasant activity.  I saw a small raccoon meander his way by the stand around 4 and around 5:30 a doe and her two fawns crossed in front of me at 20 yards.  Then, at 5:40, I heard a snort-wheeze to my North and stood up to further investigate the noise.  Mere seconds later I see a buck making his way between the two fingers in which I was hunting and immediately peg him as a shooter.  With both eyes locked onto the buck I stood up, grabbed my bow, got my camera situated and prepared myself for the shot.  It was all coming together perfectly.  He slowly made his way down the opening and I drew my bow as soon as he was behind a big branch that was sticking off the tree my stand was in.  I took a deep breath and thought to myself, “This is actually going to happen!”  He stopped on his own at 20 yards exactly and I placed my 20 yard pin directly behind his shoulder and touched the release.  I have never watched an arrow fly so perfectly.  I watched my Thunderhead Edge tipped arrow quickly strike the deer right behind the shoulder; a perfect heart shot!  He took off in a hurry but I knew he wasn’t going to make it far.  I wasn’t able to see where he fell but knew he was laying 70 yards from the point of impact in the CRP grass.  I had done it, buck down in Illinois!

I'm extremely thankful that Justin let me come down and hunt his property with him and taking such beautiful harvest pictures of me and my buck.

    This buck is by no means a monster but he’s the most proud I have ever been of a deer and will look great hanging on my wall.  He’s my first Illinois buck, my first bow buck and my biggest buck to date!  I hate to sound like a broken record, but harvesting this buck was a dream come true.  Most guys my age back home would kill to have the opportunity to hunt Pike County Illinois and I am extremely blessed to have been given the opportunity to do so.  A BIG thanks goes out to Justin Zarr for letting me come down and hunt with him, I’m really grateful.  
    Unfortunately, this means I am nearly tagged out in Illinois.  As a non-resident I was only issued one buck when I bought my permit and gladly used it this past weekend.  Factor in the doe I shot opening weekend and I am done.  I did, however, buy an extra doe for the late season, but it looks like my November hunting time will be spend behind the camera.  But who I am to complain?  It’s not everday you get to live a dream come true.

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