Canon’s camcorders have recently come with a healthy dollop of flash memory rather than hard disk storage, with the claim being that flash is faster, lighter and more reliable.
And it’s hard to argue with that logic when staring down the barrel of the LEGRIA HF21 – an HD shooter that delivers striking looks along with a generous 64GB memory.
A day in HD
That’s double the storage seen in Canon’s HF20 and HF S10 launched earlier this year, and enough the capture over 24 hours of HD video. Recording options don’t end there either – there’s also an SD/SDHC card slot to boost it further.
Canon has been busy tweaking and refining its camcorders’ innards too, so the HF21 can puff its chest out and boast about two new low-light features, an optical image stabiliser and a video snapshot mode.
Of the low-light features, ‘Night’ is a somewhat baffling addition as it automatically reduces light levels so you can reproduce the darkness of night.
The more perfunctorily named ‘low light’ claims to help you capture detail in fading light – in reality it’s a practical feature, but one which only benefits when the cam is kept steady, otherwise you get a fuzzy effect.
Pitching the HF21 as a family orientated camcorder may be something of a mis-step from Canon. Sure, the video snapshot means easy recording of four-second clips that can be re-arranged and set to music on the camcorder – and without need of a PC – but the menu is too detailed and extensive for point-and-shoot immediacy.
There’s also the issue of pricing. Starting out at under £900, you’ve got to wonder what kind of buying dilemma Canon thinks it’s giving consumers. You may call it a family model but when a pocket-sized Flip, Creative or Kodak is available for less than £250 it’ll be easy for a family to prioritise and budget accordingly.
Painful price tag
At £875, it’s also a slightly more serious purchase now we’re in a world of sun-£250 hi-def Flips and Kodaks. But aside from messing up its pitch, the HF21 is a very enjoyable camcorder to have in your company.
It’s compact without feeling too miniaturised, as well as being blessed with a crisp 2.7in LCD and smart two-channel Dolby Digital audio. It even racks up an impressive range of sockets such as microphone input, headphones out, and Component and (mini) HDMI output terminals.
This warm glow doesn’t diminish when it comes to video and photo performance either, with its strong, bold, detailed video and strong audio ensuring that if you do make the investment you won’t be disappointed.