Unfortunately, the G10 does have one chink in its armour for serious videomakers. Whilst minijacks are available for an external microphone and headphones – the latter doubling as the analog AV output – the accessory shoe is Canon’s “S” Mini Advanced Shoe, so is only compatible with Canon proprietary peripherals. This means you won’t be able to mount a standard video light or microphone on the camcorder body, which will be a hindrance if you want to use this camcorder as a professional stand in. You can buy adapters that convert it to a standard hot shoe but these aren’t all that easy to use and are much less secure. This is a particular shame when pretty much everything else is in place for serious video production. Our only other quibble is that the power supply will only charge batteries when they are installed in the camcorder, not separately. So you can’t leave a second battery on charge whilst you go out shooting.
Canon’s high-end camcorders have always competed well on image quality, and the G10 is a tour de force in this respect. In good lighting, colours are saturated and extremely accurate. If we were to pick holes, there is a slight lack of detail compared to the very best in class – such as Panasonic’s HDC-TM900 – but overall the performance is excellent. Where the G10’s HD CMOS PRO particularly shows its strength is in low light. In short, this is the best performance we’ve seen from a consumer camcorder in poor illumination. The image in our 100W ceiling light test actually looked brighter than the naked eye, and colours were still accurate and saturated, with no sign of grain at all. Again, there’s slightly less detail than the best competitors, but overall we would choose the G10 in low light because its colour, brightness and lack of grain are so very good.
Canon’s LEGRIA HF G10 is close to being a perfect camcorder for video enthusiasts or professionals looking for a second unit for quick handheld work. Only the lack of a standard-sized accessory shoe and the price let it down. These two factors mean this camcorder doesn’t quite grab our very top recommendation. But it shoots great-looking video, particularly in low light, and has supremely easy manual control, making this a very tempting proposition.
Score in detail
Image Quality 10