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Canon Legria HF R48 review

Andrew Unsworth
15 May 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
365
inc VAT

Great picture quality, useful Wi-Fi functions and a good price make the HF R48 a Best Buy

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Specifications

1/4.85in CMOS sensor, PAL, 1,920x1,080/1,920x720/1,440x1,080, 32.0x zoom, 277.0kg

The Canon Legria HF R48 is a fairly compact Full HD camcorder with a ¼.85in CMOS sensor, a built-in Wi-Fi adaptor and 32GB of built-in storage for your videos and still images, in addition to an SD card slot. This is a large amount of storage, and is great if you’ve forgotten your SD cards.

Although small, the Legria HF R48 is comfortable to hold, which is due in part to the handstrap’s padding. It feels light but not cheaply made, and the touchscreen’s hinge feels sturdy, giving us confidence that it won’t break easily if handled by younger family members.

Canon Legria HF R48

IMAGE QUALITY

We were pleasantly surprised by the image quality of the Legria HF R48, given its price. There’s a lot more detail in daylight shots than we’d expect. You can see the grime on a handrail for instance, as well as reflections in panes of glass and the water-staining of painted surfaces, but it isn’t perfect. If you look closer, part of the handrail looks blocky, and we can’t see the texture of individual bricks in the wall opposite. Even so, these are things you’d only notice if you took the time to look. It certainly won’t stop you enjoying your footage. Colour reproduction was similarly good, although overcast skies appeared to have a blue tinge. We saw minimal noise, except when we trained the HF R48 on a cloudy sky.

Canon Legria HF R48

We were also pleased with the footage shot in our studio. There was still a great amount of detail in all but the darkest scenes. We could clearly see the toy train reflected in the fan blades, for example, but we couldn’t make out much detail on the darker parts of the train itself. Although noise was predictably present, it wasn’t too intrusive.

We also noticed a pulsating shift in focus when we activated a rotating fan LED, which caused the text on a pack of stickers to move in and out focus slightly. Again, you’d have to look closely to notice it.

The HF R48 also rendered the fur of our toys better than expected. Not as well as the much more expensive Panasonic HC-X920, but slightly better than the Panasonic HC-V520. With the HC-V520, some of the fur lacks detail, looking like a rough coloured surface, while other parts look like plump clumps of rice. You can tell the surface is fur, but it doesn’t look too realistic. The Canon Legria HF R48 renders the fur similarly, but has just enough detail to make the fur appear more realistic.

FEATURE-PACKED

The Canon Legria HF R48 has a wonderfully smooth and incredibly responsive touchscreen interface that’s packed with lots of sensible, well-organised options. The first level displays five icons that you can highlight with a cursor. Each icon represents a set of menu options, but click through the icon and you’re presented with a list of natural language options. Any menu items that are not relevant to the camcorder mode you’re using are greyed out, so you don’t have to worry about them. It’s certainly a lot better than the user interface seen on last year’s Canon Legria HF R36.

The R48 also has a built-in 2.4GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi adaptor that lets you control the camcorder remotely, upload videos to your smartphone or tablet and connect it to your router so that you can access it through your computer. In the latter scenario, the R48 operates as a media server, so you should be able to watch videos on your smart TV, too, as long as it supports media streaming from a server.

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