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Like the Legria HF M31, most of the functions are now accessed via the touchscreen. You can immediately call up a touch-operated focus and exposure mode, or head to the various menus. There are onscreen controls available for operating the zoom and toggling record. However, whilst the zoom buttons are on the edge and quite easy to access, the record button has been placed inexplicably near the camcorder body.
In manual mode, Canon's usual array of configuration options become available via the touchscreen. The Function button calls up two pages of buttons, providing direct access to white balance, microphone levels, plus focus and exposure controls. The latter can be operated by onscreen sliders or by touching a point in the screen, although the presence of extra touch-operated controls around the frame edge means the active area is merely a central rectangle, not the entire frame. The manual focusing control has a peaking option, whilst manual exposure offers zebra, and can be set to lock on average levels or highlights.
There is also a button to toggle between Canon's various program modes. As well as the general Programmed AE, there are shutter and aperture priority options, the usual array of scene modes, and cinema colour. The shutter can be varied from 1/6th to 1/2000th, and aperture from F1.8 (at maximum wide angle) to F8. As usual with Canon camcorders, you can't adjust both separately. But the general Exposure setting remains available, providing similar functionality.
Separate touchscreen menu buttons are available to switch between Automatic gain control and manual boosting up to 24dB, as well as for turning on the pop-up video light or Pre REC buffering mode, and toggling between dynamic, standard and no image stabilisation. The Powered image stabilisation mode has its own dedicated button on the edge of the LCD bezel. There are six digital effects available, too.
The HF S10's main innovation over the HF10 generation also remains. There's a knob next to the lens that by default operates the manual focus, with a button on the front to activate it. However, you can also customise the knob to operate exposure, shutter, mic level or AGC limit. The fineness of control is nowhere near that of a full lens ring, as sported by Panasonic's top-end models such as the HDC-TM700, and you would be hard pressed to execute a smooth rack focus effect using the knob. But it still makes rapid adjustment of various manual settings both easy and quick.