by "video IQ".
The things I usually look for in a camcorder are
Lens filter diameter (larger is better);
Imaging chip size (larger is better);
Audio input connectivity;
Manual audio gain control;
Manual focus capability.
All the other stuff - zebra, white balance, manual zoom, neutral density filters, low compression video capture/storage are all expected and considered table stakes. Lets see what we have when comparing the "pro grade" XA10 to the consumer grade HG10:
Lens filter diameter (larger is better)
Imaging chip size (larger is better)
HG10: single 1/2.7"
XA10: single 1/3" CMOS
Audio input connectivity
HG10: 1/8" (3.5mm) stereo. Can be used with a XLR adapter.
XA10: 1/8" (3.5mm) stereo - but comes with a 2 channel XLR adapter.
Manual audio gain control
HG10: In menu - but yes, when XLR adapter is used.
XA10: Yes - external when XLR adapter is used.
Manual focus capability
HG10: Sort of.
XA10: Yes - focus ring on lens barrel.
That I don't like AVCHD compression does not matter because both camcorders use the same format and compression and you did not ask about other cameras.
Any camcorder can capture good video quality when used within its design parameters. "Better" video quality is up to you and how you use the equipment. The XA10 will provide a larger window of capture opportunity...
I'm aware of all the extra stuff that I can get by upgrading to XA10. My question is specifically with the video quality alone. Is the XA10's video IQ better than the HG10? Thanks.