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Canon Legria HF R36 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £359
inc VAT

The Legria HF R36 has reasonable image quality, but its built-in Wi-Fi and Story Creator function make it an ideal family camcorder


1/4.85in CMOS sensor, 1,920×1,080, 32.0x zoom, 273g

This review is of the Canon HF R36, however it also applies to the Canon HF R306, which is identical in every respect except it lacks the R36’s built-in 8GB of memory

Canon’s HF R36 is a Full HD compact camcorder with a 1/4.85in CMOS sensor, 32x optical zoom, 51x intelligent zoom, a 3in colour touchscreen monitor and a whopping 8GB of internal storage space. That specification is already pretty good for a camcorder of this price, but Canon has gone even further by adding Wi-Fi connectivity, which means you can transfer recorded videos to your PC without a USB cable and stream videos to DLNA-enabled TVs and games consoles.

In fact, the HF R36 has many built-in features that are perfect for families that want to have fun with video, but don’t necessarily want to use a computer. Story Creator lets you create video stories using pre-designed patterns, various digital filters make your videos look like old black and white movies or a 70s TV show, and Memory Save lets you back up your images and videos to an attached hard drive from the USB host port.

Canon Legria HF R36

Of course, image quality is the key feature of any camcorder. When shooting from our rooftop in bright daylight, the HF R36 captured enough detail to make a satisfying family movie. It adequately captured the texture and staining of paving stones, pebbles and walls within five metres of the lens, but from around 15 metres the camcorder captures less detail, so that individual bricks are no longer apparent, although individual patches of colour are. Overall quality isn’t bad for a camera of this price, although the automatic focus is a little too soft and there’s some noise, even in daylight.

The camera’s CMOS sensor is supported by a 32x optical zoom lens, which works well up until half of its full extension. After that, objects have a pronounced halo effect and more noise is introduced. You can further extend the zoom digitally to 51x and 1020x. The former is Advanced Zoom, which is a hybrid optical and digital zoom which gives you a zoom boost without degrading quality too much.

There are also has a number of image stabilisation options, including Dynamic IS and Powered IS. Dynamic IS aids stability when walking with the camcorder and Powered IS adds stability when using the zoom, although you can have both activated at the same time. The image stabilisation is reasonable for a camera of this price (it’s not a patch on the Panasonic HC-X800‘s stabilisation, for example), but we recommend using a tripod where possible.

Canon Legria HF R36

The HF R36 has a 3in touchscreen monitor instead of a viewfinder. Sadly, its horizontal and vertical viewing angles are poor, which can make it difficult to film at interesting angles. The touchscreen is also used for adjusting options, although the menu you see depends on the mode to which the HF R36 is set. The menu icons are clear and menu options easy to read, but they could be better organised. Even after some time with the HF R36, we still struggled to remember where certain menu options were located.

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Basic Specifications

Rating ****


Optical zoom 32.0x
Digital zoom 1,020x
Sensor 1/4.85in CMOS
Sensor pixels 3,280,000
Widescreen mode native
LCD screen size 3.0in
Viewfinder type colour touchscreen
Video lamp No
Video recording format AVCHD, MP4
Video recording media SD/SDHC/SDXC
Sound Dolby Digital Stereo
Video resolutions 1,920×1,080
Maximum image resolution 1,920×1,080
Memory slot SD
Mermory supplied 8GB
Flash no


Digital inputs/outputs mini HDMI out, mini USB
Analogue inputs/outputs combined A/V out and 3.5mm headphone output
Other connections charge jack
Battery type Li-ion
Battery life 47m
Battery charging position camcorder
Size 55x54x115
Weight 273g

Buying Information

Warranty one year
Price £359

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