Canon’s Image Effects provide even more detailed manipulation of how the camcorder records its video – much more than any other manufacturer. There are presets for boosting or reducing saturation and sharpening, a soft skin mode, plus a custom option with independent settings for brightness, contrast, colour saturation and sharpness. Further sweetening the deal, progressive scanning is available via 25pf mode, which encodes full frames into a 50i signal for the widest format compatibility. You can also shoot in x.v.Color, which widens the range of each 8-bit colour channel to its full extent, for deeper hues.
You also get the same amount of on-board Flash memory. The 32GB integrated will be enough for two and a half hours of footage at the top data rate. This records Full HD AVCHD with a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution at 24Mbits/sec, the most currently available from this format, although there are alternatives ranging down to 5Mbits/sec, allowing 12 hours of footage. If this isn’t enough, an SDHC slot is also provided for further expansion.
Despite its more budget orientation, the HF20 still also provides mini-jacks for attaching headphones and an external microphone. However, Canon is sticking with its proprietary ‘S’ Advanced Shoe rather than the standard formats, so only Canon peripherals will be compatible. The tripod mount has at last been moved from the unbalanced location of 2008 models near the front, to a more sensible place in the middle, although it is still on one edge of the body.