Review Price £249.99
As with focusing, the Canon LEGRIA HF R26's exposure controls have a touch option, or you can use the natty slider along the bottom of the screen, or buttons either end. However, this is a general exposure shift, as unlike so many Canon camcorders from previous eras, no aperture or shutter priority modes are available. The menu where these would normally be found merely includes Programmed AE, access to the array of Scene modes, and a Cine mode. The latter adjusts the colour range for a more cinematic look, which works well with the PF25 progressive shooting mode. The nine scene modes include the usual options, such as portrait, sports and night.
A small selection of digital effects are also available, with some wipes and fades in this section. There's a Pre REC function, which creates a rolling buffer of a few seconds of video in memory, which is added onto the beginning of a clip when you press record, effectively capturing what happened just beforehand, and hopefully preventing you from missing Little Johnnie's first steps.
Whether in auto or manual mode, you can also call upon the slightly bizarre Decorate option. This lets you draw on the video as it is recorded, add a range of particle effects, date/timestamp your footage, superimpose an image, or pause the onscreen image. These are the kinds of effects we would usually recommend adding during editing, as once you've added them they can't be removed, but for quick-and-dirty online uploads they could add an extra layer of fun to your footage.
Despite the budget orientation of this camcorder, it's still capable of very respectable image quality. When the lighting is good, the R26 produces a crisp image with accurate saturation. It's also possible to achieve a bright image with faithful colour and only a mild tinge of grain in relatively poor illumination. Our one caveat here is that we found the automatic white balance system could be erratic in low light, often bringing out a red or orange tinge, although switching to the indoor preset mostly fixed this. But this was a sole black mark in an otherwise commendable video performance, considering the price.
The Canon LEGRIA HF R26 is a bit more expensive than our favourite budget model, the JVC Everio GZ-HM445. But it also has built-in memory and a slightly easier range of manual settings to access. So whilst this isn't the best value camcorder on the market, you still get a lot for your money, making this a decent choice if you're tight on funds.
Trusted Reviews is part of the Time Inc. (UK) Ltd Technology Network