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Camcorders Reviews
15,669 Reviews

Canon Legria HF S21 review

£906.54 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Canon

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

The Canon Legria HF S21 is Canon's flagship consumer camcorder.

The Canon Legria HF S21 is Canon's flagship consumer camcorder.

Featuring a similar barrel shape, the Canon Legria HF S21 is about the same size as a small DV or HDV camera, and records AVCHD-format video on to an internal 64GB flash drive. This can be supplemented with SDHC Cards in its two slots.

The shape comes from the 10x zoom lens, which is much larger than you get on most consumer-level camcorders - and that holding it in your cupped hand feels more natural for video work than upright or traditional stills camera layout. The Canon Legria HF S21's high-class lens feeds a 8Mp CMOS sensor and a processing engine that records AVCHD up to a full-progressive 1080p. The HF S21 offers a variety of quality settings, but the best 'MXP' mode records at AVCHD's maximum of 24Mb/s.

For a consumer camcorder, the Canon Legria HF S21's footage is outstanding - lustrous and full of detail. Low-light performance was really impressive too. Of course, it's no match for a true pro camcorder such as JVC's HM100, but we'd be confident in taking the HF S21 out for professional projects to get the footage we needed.

One of the Canon Legria HF S21's most promoted features is its 3.5in touchscreen. As a display, it's excellent - showing a detailed, colourful representation of what you're filming. But as a control device, it's somewhat lacking - especially as there's no other menu controls. It's great for precise point focus or exposure - but for selecting general settings it can be painful.

The main problem is that Canon has got iPhone fever, asking for the same finger-sweep scroll controls. But the Canon Legria HF S21's touchscreen is resistive rather than capacitative, which means you have to press hard to make it work. Ultimately it's slow to scroll through menus and all-too easy to 'select' items when you mean to sweep them.

There's a good range of manual controls, with aperture and shutter priority modes that use the touchscreen well to adjust f-stop or shutter-speed values. There's a manual wheel for quick adjustment too, which seems an odd inclusion on top of the touchscreen, like an admission that the touchscreen can get in the way.

The Canon Legria HF S21 will be available in the UK from April 2010.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

Canon Legria HF S21 Expert Verdict »

Canon Legria HFS21 reviews verified by Reevoo

Canon Legria HFS21Scores 7.3 out of 10 based on 6 reviews
8Mp high-definition camcorder
1/2.6 CMOS sensor
64GB flash storage
2 x SDHC card slots
3.5in touchscreen LCD
10x optical zoom
6.4–64mm focal length
dynamic/powered optical image stabiliser
DIGIC DV III image processor
1/2000–1/2 sec shutter speeds
still image capture up to 3264 x 2456 pixels
stereo audio Dolby Digital
USB 2.0
HDMI 1.3
Li-ion battery
  • Build Quality: We give this item 7 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 6 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

The Canon Legria HF S21 is a good HD camcorder but its implementation of touchscreen control prevents it from being a truly great consumer high-definition camcorder.

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