Packing a lot of pro-level features in a slim body, the Canon Legria HF G10 is top of Canon's amateur range. And at around £1200, it would stretch the budgets of even the keenest amateur cinematographer. However it is a really solid piece of kit and has a few pleasant surprises...
LOOK AND FEEL
Design - stylish and slim, with the body being the same thickness as the lens, it looks a bit like an eye on the end of a tube. I like it for that.
Plasticy - it is of course made out of plastic. But arguably it feels a little too plasticy for £1200 pounds worth of high-end camera.
Buttons - my camera expert friend suggested that some of the button-arrangement was counter intuitive. There certainly are a lot of them - this packs manual controls as well as a lot of automatic software, but I was fine with them.
Manual options - switch to auto and you don't need these - but there are a lot of options for playing around with: zoom, optical zoom, focus.
Touchscreen - nice and clear and big. Seemed to be resistive rather than capacitive so it wasn't always the most responsive, but that was only a minor quibble.
Audio - this really stands out. There's a nice microphone packed into the camera and the sound recording quality is really good. An external mic port would let you do professional grade sound if you wanted.
Focus, zoom & light sensitivity - excellent auto-focus adjusted in milliseconds and the the CMOS sensor was good at picking up decent images in low light. The optical zoom worked a treat, though with that much movement it can look a little rubbish filming a zoom in like that.
Images - the wide lens (30.4mm wide-angle lens) means the frame of vision is nice and big it shoots stills too, which can be handy. It's HD quality film of course and it really picks up everything down to individual hairs on a close-up shot. The on-board stabilisation makes a big difference in keeping tremors from the handheld down.
Flip-out touch-screen viewfinder - the 3.5-inch screen makes for great visual experience and means the device is fun to watch stuff back on. And top marks for being able to flip it round so that the person in front of the lens can also see the viewing screen.
Viewfinder - nice to have a camera which actually lets you hold the thing up to your eye. This viewfinder pulls out from the body of the camera and lets you manage the filming by sight. Though I found the camera a little fiddly to operate from this position.
Memory - a built-in memory of 32gb is significant and really useful. You can just pick this up and it works. Otherwise there are two SD card ports, which could take the memory up to wherever you want it.
Connectivity - with a mini-HDMI port, two mini-USB ports, a headphone jack, it has most of what you need. The camera comes with a bunch of wires as well. And even a remote control for remote operation of the camera.
Artistic filters - Choose from 8 different filter effects from misty Nostalgic to dramatic black and white. A nice Hipstamatic touch for those of us addicted to those photo-filter iPhone apps. Real cinematographers may scoff, but I found this fun and quite gratifying. It's nice to see the results immediately on the viewing screen too.
Playback options - the watching options are easy to navigate and the whole thing was pretty fun - shows Canon learning from the iPhone again, with very pleasant on-device viewing.
- would be excellent quality for web video. Also light and compact with no need for external mics or SD cards so you could just grab the camera and pick up great off-the-cuff moments very quickly. Features like the reversible viewing screen - letting the person being filmed see what's getting recorded are ideal for one person pieces to camera.
It's also very easy to see what you are shooting and review it quickly afterwards: useful if you don't intend to spend ages in the editing suite.
Quality home video
- that remote control is just made for those set up cutting the birthday cake shots. It's very immediate and easy to use. Also the mini HDMI means you could plug it into a TV and play which would be great for watching family moments immediately.
Sexy and fun with enough oo-factor to justify the price tag. However, only those with a big commitment to video will splash out this much on one device.
Canon HD Video Lens
Canon HD CMOS Pro sensor 160% more light than a normal CMOS sensor
AVCHD video to 32GB memory; 2x SDXC slots
Full manual control
8.8cm Touch-screen LCD
Instant AF; Face Detection
Dynamic Optical Image Stabiliser
Creative Cinematic Features
More on the LEGRIA HF G10 on the Canon product page
£1157 from LambdaTek