So, finally, we come to the M52's most unique feature. The M52 isn't the first camcorder to include wireless connectivity. Sony added Bluetooth to a few of its camcorders some years ago. But this is the first we know of to integrate wireless and DLNA in one. Once you have entered the settings for your wireless network, or configured this automatically using the WPS facility, you can call up the DLNA server. This will then appear on your network as an AV streaming device. We managed to stream both AVCHD files and MP4s to a PC running CyberLink PowerDirector 11 and VLC Media Player 2, but our test iPhone app, MLPlayer Lite, would only play the MP4s, which is presumably one reason why this option is offered.
It's a bit of a missed opportunity that Canon hasn't also made it possible to stream video live from this device. A built-in webserver or partnership with Bambuser would have made this an incredible Internet camcorder, like the model Flip was rumoured to be about to release just before Cisco closed the brand, only with better camcorder abilities. But the DLNA features are nevertheless quite impressive.
With its professionally derived sensor, the M52 provides seriously good image quality. Colours are vivid and vibrant, and there's plenty of fine detail. Footage has a very slight lack of sharpness compared to Panasonic's top-end models such as the HC-X900, but otherwise this is one of the best performances we've seen from a consumer-grade camcorder. Low light capabilities are similarly impressive, with the image remaining bright and colourful down to low levels of illumination. The M52 aced our 100W ceiling light test, for example. Best of all, there's no sign of grain, implying that the M52 is not using aggressive levels of video gain to achieve this quality.
The LEGRIA HF M52 is a slightly curious model for Canon. We usually associate the more adventurous camcorder features with Sony, such as the projector built into the HDR-PJ10E and the GPS receiver integrated into a number of units. But Canon has managed to combine leading image quality with a reasonable set of features, plus the unique video streaming capabilities. The resulting price is quite high, but otherwise this is an accomplished little camcorder.