A case of deja vu.
- Exceptionally sharp image quality, lots of manual features, improved 24Mbps bit rate
- Too similar to previous model, joystick ill-suited to manual control
If you already own the HF10, there is next to no reason to make the switch to the HF11. Everyone else, on the other hand, would do well to seek this camcorder out.
Price$ 1,699.00 (AUD)
The HF11 is a high-definition camcorder that records AVCHD video to SD/SDHC memory cards. It is Canon’s second stab at a camcorder with removable flash memory, and there are no prizes for guessing which model it replaces (for the numerically challenged, it’s the HF10). The new version shares much in common with its nine month old predecessor, including the same 1/3.2in CMOS sensor, an effective pixel count of 2070k, a 12x optical zoom and a near identical appearance. In fact, so similar are the two models, Canon probably should have called this camcorder the HF10.5.
To be fair, the HF10 was such an impressive performer that there really isn’t much room for improvement. Though it fails to bring anything new to the table, the HF11 is easily one of the best camcorders in its price range, exhibiting exceptionally sharp video and an extensive array of manual features. With superb image quality (including support for 'full' 1080p HD), advanced audio capabilities and inbuilt flash memory, it will suit both casual shooters and serious videographers alike — just like the HF10. In other words, the best just got marginally better.
So what does the HF11 actually offer that’s new to justify its existence? Perhaps the most notable change is the amount of onboard memory, which has been boosted from 16GB to a more generous 32GB. This will net you around 12 hours of video at the highest possible quality. (Naturally, the recording time can be boosted further via the SDHC/SD memory card slot.) Another significant improvement — on paper at least — is the maximum AVCHD bit rate, which has been increased from 17 megabits per second to 24Mbps. This is supposed to translate to superior video quality, though we were hard pressed to tell the difference.
In terms of video performance, the HF11 is every bit as impressive as the HF10, which gave one of the best performances we’ve seen from a consumer-level camcorder. In optimum lighting, our test footage exhibited stunning true-to-life colours and razor-sharp detail. The 3.3-megapixel, 1/3.2in CMOS sensor did a reasonable job of combating noise levels, though it naturally works best in bright environments (a front-mounted light can be activated for nocturnal shooting).
Like the HF10, the HF11 doesn’t skimp when it comes to audio quality. In addition to its front-mounted microphone, it sports a pair of mic and headphone jacks, as well as an accessory shoe compatible with Canon external microphones. The audio level can also be manually adjusted via the camera's miniature directional stick. Once again, Canon has opted to place the stick on the outer side of the LCD cavity. While we generally prefer a back-mounted joystick, it shouldn't pose too many problems during operation. With that being said, we would have liked to have seen a control dial implemented for certain manual functions — we found that the joystick was far too fiddly to adjust focus, for example. Oh well, perhaps this will be remedied on the HF12.
The HF11 strikes the right balance between size and portability. While bulkier than some of its competitors (such as Panasonic's HDC-SD9), it should still fit comfortably into most jacket pockets and will not weigh you down while shooting. We were also impressed with the overall look of this camera: despite adopting a familiar shape and colour scheme, it manages to stand out from the crowd thanks to its exceptional build quality.
So there you have it. The HF11 can be viewed as a nominal upgrade that offers more inbuilt memory — and precious little else. While we would have liked see some additional polish, it remains a top class camcorder.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Google Daydream VR headset
Acer Swift 7
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Lexar® Portable SSD
Huawei Mate 9
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Dell XPS 13 laptop
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Surface Pro 4
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- AT&T will acquire Time Warner for US$85.4b in content play
- Facebook adds Apple TV and Chromecast support as video push ramps up
- Remocam review: This security camera can control your home appliances
- Logitech's C922 webcam is the revered C920's vastly upgraded successor
- Jump the line for the newest Chromecast features with Google's new preview program
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCSenior Networks Specialist - DNS PlatformVIC
- FTFront End DeveloperQLD
- TPTechnical Support Resource-Skype for BusinessVIC
- TPBusiness Analyst - PeopleSoft HR/Payroll ProjectVIC
- FTInfrastructure Architect (Adelaide Based)VIC
- CCMarketing SpecialistNSW
- CCSenior Storage System Engineer - Tivoli Storage SpecialistNSW
- CCSalesforce - Functional Analyst (BA)NSW
- FTSenior Systems AdministratorWA
- FTMid-Level Software Engineer x 2 - Positive Vetting, NV2 or NV1 required!!SA
- TPSenior Applications Support OfficerQLD
- TPSenior Business Project ManagerNSW
- CCProcess Improvement Specialist - Six Sigma Black BeltVIC
- CCSolution Architect - Financial applicationsVIC
- CCSenior .NET DeveloperNSW
- TPProject Manager to manage two concurrent ProjectsQLD
- FTDatabase Modelling SpecialistACT
- FTJava Developer/IntegratorACT
- FTSnr SOC Security Coordinator - Perm - North Ryde areaNSW
- CCTest LeadQLD
- CCSenior Project Coordinator - Banking/Financial ServicesNSW
- FTSenior Project Manager - PERMANENTACT
- CCSenior Business Analyst - Financial ServicesVIC
- TPOracle Consultant - CC&BQLD
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW