In these days of pocket-sized camcorders with giant screens and funny attachments, Canon’s Legria models can look a little old fashioned, but while the looks may be old school, the performance is consistently cutting edge. Every Legria we’ve been fortunate enough to play with has impressed us, and the new HF-M32 is no different.
Full of goodies
Between the physical controls on the body, the various items hidden in the touchscreen menus and the actual technical specification of the components tucked inside its chassis, the M32 can only be described as feature packed. An F1.8 Canon video lens and a 3.3MP CMOS take care of the imaging, while the storage is handled by 64GB of built-in memory and an SDHC card slot that will also take SDXC cards – so you could install up to 2TB of storage if you happened to be a) rich and b) planning to record every second of your life.
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Among the many shooting aids sported by the M32, the stand-outs are the 15x optical zoom, a pair of image stabilisers that do a striking job of steadying your footage at either extremity of the zoom, and a pre-rec mode that constantly buffers and discards three seconds of footage, allowing you to hit record after an event and still manage to capture it.
If you’re planning to carry the M32 around with you on a night out or take it on your holidays, you’ll be pleased to discover that despite its size it tips the scales at just 320g. Fitting neatly into your palm, the M32’s physical controls all fall neatly under your fingertips, making it extremely easy to use, albeit with one caveat: the touchscreen controls are very stodgy. Fortunately, bumping up the display size brings the M32’s menus back under control.
It didn’t surprise us that the M32 reproduces rich colours and plenty of detail and texture, but what did was how well it continued to do so even as the sun went down and the tungsten bulbs are switched on. At the point where most camcorders are shooting Tango footage, orange-tinged and full of fizz, the M32 remains balanced and smooth. Its microphone also does a great job, picking up crystal-clear sound over surprising distances.
The M32 combines all the excellent functions and high-quality performance that Canon’s Legria models are known for, in a package that’s significantly more affordable than its high-end stablemates, the HF-S10 and HF-S21. It’s another winner from Canon.