Canon Legria HF G10 review
The HF G10 is Canon's top-of-the-range camcorder, and the most expensive we've seen of this year's crop. It takes a different approach to capturing digital video to Panasonic's high-end HDC-SD900 - instead of separate 1/4.1in sensors for red, green and blue light, the HF G10 has a single, larger 1/3in sensor. The sensor also has just 2.37 megapixels, compared to the 3.05 on each of the Panasonic's three sensors.
The less densely packed sensor has two effects on video quality. As there are fewer pixels, the camcorder catches less detail overall. Daylight footage had fairly accurate colours, but was generally soft - it had none of the sharpness of the SD900's video, and didn’t jump out of our PC's screen in the same way. There was little noise, though - something which was even more evident in low-light shots, where the HF G10's clear footage made even the SD900's video look noisy. The HF G10's lens has a 35mm equivalent focal length of 30.4-304mm, compared to the SD900's 35-420mm, so has a significantly wider field of view.
The HF G10 may be £600 more expensive than the SD900, but you can see where some of the money has gone. Canon's camcorder has 32GB of built-in storage, plus you can supplement this with memory cards in the twin SDXC card slots.
The main LCD has a huge 922,000 pixels, compared to the SD900's 460,800. The camera also feels like a quality item. It's relatively heavy and is made of tough-feeling matte plastic, and everything from the display's hinge to the focus ring has a heavy-duty feel.
Unlike the SD900's multi-purpose ring, the ring around the HF G10's lens is strictly for manual focus mode. You have to access the other functions through the touchscreen, apart from some exposure settings, which you can change with a thumbwheel on the left of the battery. The focus assist mode works well; the camcorder zooms in to the centre of your image, and the screen's high resolution makes it easy to make everything sharp. The electronic viewfinder is comfortable to use and clear, it extends outward but doesn't swivel upwards.
Rather than think 'is it worth £400 more than an SD900?', think 'is it worth £800 more than an SD800?'. OK, it's got a 922k screen. Most 'serious' users would use the optical viewfinder, and let's face it only serious users would consider the £1200+ range in the first place. And I thought there was a recession!
By kingsgraphic2 on 3 May 2011
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