Canon VIXIA HF G10
It is very important for camcorder manufacturers to come up with a naming system that makes it easy for consumers to make the right choice in purchasing their next digital camcorder. Digital camcorders in general cost more than digital cameras so the next choice should be something that will last them for years. Canon did the right thing and divided their consumer lineup of VIXIA high-definition camcorders into three basic series which are the R, M, and S series from entry-level to high-end. The numbers after each series mainly determines the general and storage features so those that do not need extra space can actually save. Early January 2011, Canon announced fresh new models in the VIXIA line. While the enhancements proved to be attractive, owners of the high-end S series may be hesitant to upgrade because of the higher price and incremental benefits compared to the predecessors.
The good news is that Canon is adding a new G series with the Canon VIXIA HF G10 being the first member posing as the new flagship model in the VIXIA series.
Design and Interface
The Canon VIXIA HF G10 is still categorized as a consumer camcorder. Weight is kept low for portability and is similar in size to the rest of the VIXIA models. But it separates itself from the other VIXIA models with its noticeable 8-blade iris which helps smoothen the background blur. This enhancement is perfect for those that enjoy using the different manual controls of other VIXIA cameras.
It has a 3.5-inch high resolution widescreen touch panel which opens up to reveal a similar layout of the controls and available connections. You can still navigate through the interface by touching different onscreen controls and optionally use the Powered IS button when stabilization features are needed. Unlike other models, the AF/MF mode button is found just above it since users of this camcorder will likely switch between the two modes quite frequently. There is also a custom key and dial component so you can assign any of their favorite functions like shutter speed or manual exposure to make these features more reachable.
It also has some of the features that are present in the new M40 and M41 VIXIA camcorders namely the 0.24-inch color viewfinder which happens to be widescreen as well and can display 260,000 dots which is more than twice as many dots that the high-end S30 provides allowing a 100% field of view.
The many features of the VIXIA HF G10 are basically a combination of the S30 and M41 which is good because it nearly gets the best of both models. It separates itself from the S30 by incorporating the new HD CMOS Pro image sensor that the M41 possesses. This causes a decrease in megapixel count but the 1920 x 1080 video resolution performance is a lot better because these pixels are actually around 60% larger. There is no more necessary resizing in order to get a good picture so the overall quality is better. The large pixel area also lets the G10 store more light so the dynamic range is better and the gradations are more stabilized.
The DIGIC DV III Image Processor supports these new enhancements nicely as they produce the same benefits that other VIXIA models enjoyed. This image processor primarily handles the low-light performance but the results are better because of the HD CMOS Pro sensor that it uses. It also utilizes some advanced noise reduction techniques along with a number of technologies depending on the objects that are recorded. For instance, if the recording involves people, the Genuine Canon Face Detection feature is used to track up to 35 faces and apply the necessary focus and exposure enhancements for a more natural look.
The G10 uses the Instant AF focusing system which is exclusive for the top Canon camcorders. It can perform autofocus operations very quickly regardless of the current lighting conditions and the subject does not have to be stationary either. If this feature cannot be used for a certain situation, the softer and smoother Medium AF setting can be used or the manual focusing for even faster operation. Some of the advanced features include an Edge Monitor Focus Assist system to help get the sharpest focus possible as well as a waveform monitor to check the brightness levels. The HD video lens can be made to zoom up to 10x to achieve telephoto focal lengths. In this mode, image stabilization is necessary to preserve the overall quality and the SuperRange Optical Image Stabilization does that part ensuring that unwanted shaking does not cause problems whenever the Powered IS button next to the touch panel is held.
The Canon VIXIA HF G10 is also ready for recording right out of the box because it has 32 GB of internal memory available for up to 3 hours of 24Mbps video or 12 hours of 5Mbps video. Although lower than an average hard disk drive, the flash memory has no internal parts making the data more stable and able to transfer to other devices via USB much faster. The storage space is also expandable because there are two SD card slots that are revealed when the LCD screen opens. Many older VIXIA models have these pairs of slots too but the slots in the G10 support SDXC card formats allowing 64 GB SDXC cards and higher capacities to be used. These cards also have faster transfer rates which is necessary for transferring large segments of video to a computer or laptop. The HD to SD downconversion feature can optionally be used for faster transfers and easier online sharing.
Here is a video captured with the Canon HF G10 which shows low-light capabilities with minimal motion blur:
Canon’s new flagship digital camcorder still has the fun features like the Touch Decoration feature that lets users utilize the Touch Panel to apply all sorts of decorations to saved clips for personalization purposes. The Advanced Video Snapshot can be used for making more creative movies by recording short segments or selecting existing ones and then applying custom background music to create a special clip that shows highlights based on the selection.
At around $1,500 the Canon HF G10 is considerably more than high-end S31 and even the S21 which offers more storage space. But it has the best external and internal features along with that unique 8-blade iris which gives this camcorder a noticeable performance boost.
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