Canon camcorders have a great reputation for image quality and features. But the company hasn’t been quite so well known for its budget options. Most recent to challenge the value end of the market is Canon’s Legria HF R18. Is this the model that will give Canon the edge for the more price-conscious consumer?
The Legria HF R18 is actually top-of-a-range of three models that share almost all specifications. The R18 integrates 32GB of flash memory, the R16 only has 8GB of flash memory, and the R106 has none at all. All incorporate an SD card slot, so you can add more storage if you want. In the case of the camcorders with memory on board, if this runs out during shooting the camcorder can switch automatically to removable memory without a break in recording.
Apart from the R18 being black, the R106 being silver, and the R16 offering a range of colours, the memory allocation is the only difference between the three models. They are all built around a relatively small 1/5.5in CMOS sensor with just 2.39-megapixels. This should be enough for Full HD, but only 1.56-megapixels are used in movie mode, less than the 2.07-megapixels required. You can take photos at up to 1,920 x 1,080 pixels but not at the same time as shooting video.
The Canon HD video lens provides a 20x optical zoom, and there’s an automatic cover over the glass. However, the image stabiliser is electronic. It has two settings – Standard and Dynamic. The former is for general usage, whilst the latter is particularly tuned for removing camera shake when shooting whilst walking. However, it crops into the frame when enabled, which will reduce detail, so you’re better off with the Standard version if you don’t need the added smoothing of the Dynamic setting.
Four AVCHD quality modes are available, with data rates ranging from five to 17Mbits/sec, but not the top 24Mbits/sec possible with this format. All are HD, although only the highest quality one is Full HD. The remainder operate at the anamorphic 1,440 x 1,080 resolution originally used by the tape-based HDV format. Even at the best quality setting, the R18 can fit over four hours of footage on board, so you probably won’t need the extra memory slot.