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Canon LEGRIA HF M52 review

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Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

Pros

  • Excellent image quality
  • Built-in DLNA server
  • Decent manual controls

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Proprietary Canon accessory shoe

Key Features

  • 1/3in HD CMOS Pro with 2.37Mpixels
  • 1080/50i and 25p, or 720p recording
  • AVCHD format at up to 24Mbits/sec, MP4 up to 9Mbits/sec
  • Built-in wifi and DLNA server
  • 32GB Flash memory plus SDXC card slot
  • Manufacturer: Canon
  • Review Price: £606.00

Canon's camcorders have always focused more on quality than gimmickry. But the LEGRIA HF M52 has a foot in both camps. On the one hand, it has built-in wifi and the ability to act as a streaming video server. But it also incorporates a professional-grade sensor, as used in the excellent LEGRIA HF G10 and Canon's professional XA10. So is this the best of both worlds, or a bit of an identity crisis?

First, let's look at the core specification. The professional sensor is Canon's HD CMOS PRO, a 1/3in unit with a gross 2.37Mpixels, 2.07Mpixels of which are used when shooting video. This is a lot less than most consumer camcorders now offer, but it has one important advantage - there is one pixel on the sensor per pixel of video. Taking into account the way CMOS sensors are constructed, this means each pixel can be as large as possible, for maximum light sensititivity. The one downside of the professional CMOS is that its low resolution means this is not a great camcorder for still images, which can only be grabbed at 1,920 x 1,080.

Canon LEGRIA HF M52

The recording formats are more consumer-oriented, however. Canon hasn't adopted AVCHD 2.0 yet, so data rates range from 5Mbits/sec to 24Mbits/sec. You can use either 50i or 25pf, with the former being regular interlaced video and the latter a progressive signal recorded into an interlaced format. But there are also two other recording modes available. The first records AVCHD but with shooting tips for different types of activity such as travel, parties, or blogging. For example, with the party option you're given suggestions of questions to ask people, activities to record, and the recording duration to use. Clips are then recorded into the categories. But there's also a MP4 mode which records at 720p resolution and uses either 4 or 9Mbits/sec, with a 30-minute clip length limit. This is designed to be more readily compatible with Internet upload, but also the M52's streaming video capability, of which more later.

Rik

March 12, 2012, 2:43 am

I am planning to buy a camcorder for use on a motorbike, using a RAM-mount. The automated image stabilisation sounds perfect for optimum vibration reduction.However, the camcorder must be able to shoot video while the LCD screen is closed because the wind will probably close it and the camera would be switched off. I did notice that the power on/off button is not locate in the screen recess, which is good.
Could somebody please confirm that M52 can shoot video with the screen closed ?

JESS

December 18, 2012, 12:44 pm

For motorbike and action better buy would be go pro hero 3. You can attach it virtually anywhere, on motorbike you have much better options to position the camera where the speed and action is, for example close to tyres/earth etc, and you get better fps, so you can make slow motions etc better.

Alen Rissling

July 28, 2013, 5:09 pm

This camcorder does not record progressive video natively!
What you see in the specification is a technical trick (filthy lie).
Before you buy one please learn extensively what 25PF format is.

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