The same range of manual settings is available, however. The controls are in different places to the HG10, with no function dial on the LCD itself, but no less usable. In auto mode, the joystick simply turns on the video light. Switch to manual, and you get access to 12 steps of exposure control and manual focusing, with the latter offering optional Focus Assist.
Call up the Function menu, and you can enjoy no less than six preset white balance modes, plus automatic and fully manual. You can choose between the eight program auto-exposure settings, including portrait, sports, night, snow, beach, sunset, spotlight and fireworks. Alternatively, you can select Cine mode, which bolsters the middle of the brightness range, or between shutter or aperture priority modes. The shutter can be varied from 1/6th to 1/2000th, and the aperture from F2.8 to F8, but not both at the same time. You can even choose between the four video compression levels from this menu.
Delve into the full setup menu, however, and a choice becomes available between the standard 50-field format or a 25psf (Progressive Segmented Frame) shooting mode. However, despite Canon calling the HR10 Full HD, as with the other members of the range, this only refers to the CMOS sensor resolution. The AVCHD video is still recorded at 1,440 x 1,080 with anamorphic pixels, and the video will be encoded as interlaced, even if whole frames are being captured by the CMOS sensor.
In sunny outdoor conditions, the HR10 acquitted itself as well as the HG10, despite the greater compression of its top XP+ mode compared to the HG10’s HXP. Colours were very faithful, but as with the HG10 detail was noticeably softer compared to the HV20. The AVCHD compression was clearly reducing image sharpness. We also encountered the same jerky motion with the 25psf mode, making it essentially unusable except for very static shots, which was a shame considering that it did improve vibrancy when enabled.
Under reasonable artificial illumination, the HR10 also followed the HG10 closely for quality. The images looked similarly less noisy than those on the HV20 and colours were still very good, particularly if we reduced the shutter speed to 1/25th. But the image got steadily worse as we tried lesser lighting conditions, with even more noise than the HG10 and nasty yellow grain. The latter reduced as we lowered the shutter speed, but we had to go below 1/25th to remove it entirely, which isn’t usually going to be practical. Still, overall the HR10 produces a very good performance for an AVCHD model.