Summary

Our Score

8/10

User Score

Pros

  • Good image quality
  • Improved Wi-Fi functions
  • 8GB of memory built-in

Cons

  • Manual lens cover
  • No full manual mode
  • Wi-Fi functions still behind competition

Review Price £313.86

:
Key Features: 1/4.85-inch CMOS with 3.28Mpixels; 32x optical zoom; 53x Advanced Zoom; Optical Image Stabilisation: Intelligent IS with Advanced Dynamic Mode; AVCHD 2.0 and MP4 recording at up to 35Mbits/sec; WiFi functions

Manufacturer: Canon

What is the Canon LEGRIA HF R46?

The Canon LEGRIA HF R46 is a mid-range camcorder with a reasonable range of features, including Wi-Fi. Canon's model numbers can be a bit confusing if you're not used to them. Despite being numerically smaller, the R46 is actually the higher-end sibling of the Canon LEGRIA R406 we looked at a few weeks ago. The core features are broadly the same, but with some extras that make it a slightly more rounded option.

Canon LEFRIA HF R46 4

Canon LEGRIA HF R46 - Features

Where the two models are identical is in the sensor used. The R46 incorporates the same 1/4.85-inch CMOS with 3.28Mpixels, although only 2.07Mpixels are used whether you are shooting stills or video. The lens is the same, too, so an impressive 32x optical zoom is available, which can be increased to 53x in Advanced mode, and to a ludicrous 1,060x if the digital mode is enabled. The lens ranges from F1.8 to F4.5, depending on zoom factor, so this is reasonably, if not outstandingly quick glass.

The range of shooting modes is identical as well, and these have been augmented since the last generation of Canon camcorders. The R46 supports AVCHD 2.0, giving a top quality mode of Full HD at 50 progressive frames per second and a 28Mbits/sec data rate. MP4 encoding is also available, with Full HD at 50 progressive frames per second recorded with a 35Mbits/sec data rate, whilst 720p can be captured at 4Mbits/sec. Stills are only available at 1,920 x 1,080, which won't have you leaving your digital camera at home. However, whilst the R406 relies exclusively its SD card slot for storage, the R46 comes with 8GB of memory on board. This is enough for 30 minutes of footage at the top MP4 quality mode.

Canon has implemented a rather elaborate image stabilisation system in its last couple of generations of camcorders. In automatic mode, the camcorder detects conditions and sets image stabilisation mode accordingly. There are four different options, including a tripod mode that turns off image stabilisation when the camcorder is clearly stationary. The system is called Intelligent IS with Advanced Dynamic Mode, which is fundamentally optical. This is good to see in a camcorder at this price, and it's noticeably more effective than the electronic systems a lot of camcorders will still be offering at this level.

Canon LEFRIA HF R46 1

Canon LEGRIA HF R46 - Controls

So the R46 has some higher-end features than you might expect at this price, but otherwise it is very much a budget-oriented model. The lens cover is manual, operated via a slider on the side. There are very few discrete controls, with pretty much everything operated via the 3in touch-screen LCD panel. In Auto mode, the R46 will detect conditions and attempt to set scene mode and image stabilisation accordingly.

In this mode, you can still access Canon's esoteric decoration effects, which include the ability to draw on the frame as you shoot, add a variety of particle effects and animations, date and time stamp the video, add a graphical border, or temporarily pause the picture. These are all things we would do at the editing stage, but if you don't plan to edit they could come in handy.

However, it's easy to switch from auto to one of the other shooting modes using an onscreen icon. There's a baby mode, where you can add stamps to mark videos of particular stages of your new child's development. There's a Cinema mode, which shoots video with one of seven different film-like effects. You can choose from nine scene modes, including the usual portrait, sports, snow and beach.

There is no fully manual option, however, just Programmed AE. This enables the option to vary brightness up and down by 1 or -1 in quarter increments, but with no direct control over shutter or iris. You can focus manually too. These facilities are also available in Cinema mode.

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