The G10 is packed with manual controls. Our most major criticism of the HF10 and HF100 was their lack of a lens ring, which Canon only partially addressed in their LEGRIA successors. The latter, such as the LEGRIA S21 only offered a control knob, which wasn’t sufficiently responsive for the important task of focus pulling, where you rapidly change from one focal point to another.
The G10 sees the welcome return of a lens ring on a Canon camcorder. It is exclusively reserved for manual focus, but there’s also a supplementary dial on the rear of the device with an assignable function button. This can be set to trigger either the general combined exposure control, shutter or aperture priority modes, Automatic Gain Control limit or fully manual operation. With the latter, each press cycles through the options of shutter, iris and gain.
There are two further buttons on the left edge of the 3.5in LCD panel. By default, these respectively toggle manual focusing (enabling the lens ring) and enable the Power IS whilst depressed. However, both can be user configured with a range of functions, such as backlight compensation or face detection autofocus, depending on your shooting preference. The remainder of the functions are accessed via the touchscreen. The main features are ranged into an array of large icons spanning two menu screens, and options include touch focus and exposure. Further settings can be found in a full menu.
You can also call up onscreen controls for zoom and focus, but whilst the zoom is operated conveniently from the left edge of the panel, the record button is in the bottom right-hand corner, making it rather hard to access. Overall, though, Canon has made all the most important functions accessible via discrete buttons. So once you have set the assignable functions the way you want, you won’t have to use the touchscreen very much.