- Excellent image quality
- Lens focus ring
- Comprehensive manual controls
- Relatively pricey
- Proprietary Canon accessory shoe
Review Price £1,036.00
The Canon HF10 and HF100 were the cream of the premium camcorder crop a few years back, but since then the company's top-end models have been priced too far beyond the competition. The LEGRIA HF G10 costs a little over £1,000, so it's still more expensive than the top models from competitors. But it has a trick or two up its sleeve which could warrant the extra price.
Central to this is the G10's HD CMOS PRO. This is the same sensor used, either in singular form or as a trio, in Canon's professional range of camcorders. It's a 1/3in sensor with a gross 2.37Mpixels, of which 2.07Mpixels are employed when shooting video. This may seem meagre, when compared to the megapixel monsters found in some consumer-grade camcorders. But if your main focus is shooting video, it's ideal. The resolution of Full HD is 2.07Mpixels, so there is pixel parity between the sensor and shooting format. This also means each pixel can take up as much area as possible, which should be good for low light performance.
Video is recorded in standard AVCHD format. So the resolution is either anamorphic 1,080p or Full HD, and data rates range up to 24Mbit/sec, the maximum available from the non-2.0 version of AVCHD. There are interlaced 50i and progressive 25p options, but no 50p, as this is not part of the original AVCHD standard. The G10 comes with 32GB of memory on board, enough for around three hours of recording, even at the top quality setting, but there are two SDXC-compatible slots available if you need more. With a 64GB card in each there would be space for 15 hours of footage.
With its relatively large sensor, the G10 only offers a reasonable 10x optical zoom. Canon does allow you to augment this with a 2x digital teleconverter option, but this reduces quality in a similar fashion to a digital zoom with this camcorder, because there are no extra sensor pixels available. So you're best off ignoring this unless absolutely desperate. The image stabilisation, however, is optical and pretty impressive. There are three modes, with Dynamic and Powered options alongside the Standard setting. Whilst Standard mode is general purpose, Dynamic mode is optimised for low frequency motion such as when shooting whilst walking, whereas the Powered mode smooths high-frequency vibrations, so is more effective when shooting handheld at full zoom factor. Both are pretty effective, particularly the Powered IS.