High-def video at its best
- Stunning 'full HD' video resolution, improved AVCHD recording format, arresting design
- No standard-definition mode, inbuilt hard drive only 16GB
For an AVCHD removable flash memory camcorder, the HF10 is close to flawless. It offers superior video performance, better build quality and more modes and features than any of its high-def rivals. Highly recommended.
Price$ 1,699.00 (AUD)
The release of a flagship camcorder from Canon is always met with keen interest from the video community. Simply put, the company produces the best digital imaging hardware on the market, with each new model consistently outclassing its assorted rivals and predecessors. The HF10 is even more noteworthy than usual — it marks Canon's first serious foray into removable flash memory (its previous high-def models have all been based on the MiniDV, hard disk and DVD formats). The anticipation level among videographers has therefore been through the roof, with sky-high expectations to match.
It's just as well that Canon has managed to improve upon its stellar reputation once again. With superb image quality (including support for 'full' 1080p HD), advanced audio capabilities and an inbuilt hard drive, the HF10 is arguably the best high-def flash memory camcorder that money can buy. It will please anyone who prizes video performance over faddish features or gimmicky control schemes — and it looks pretty cool to boot.
In addition to its SD/SDHC memory card slot, the HF10 comes equipped with its own 16GB hard drive. This is substantially smaller than most hard disk-based cameras, which typically offer between 30 and 100 gigabytes, depending on price. On the other hand, some SD/SDHC models offer no inbuilt memory at all, so we suppose it could have been worse. The hard drive will record six hours of video at the highest quality setting, which is boosted by up to 12 hours when using a 32GB memory card. This should be more than enough to get you through multiple days of intensive shooting.
After several years of doggedly supporting the HDV format, Canon has shifted its allegiance to AVCHD: a high-definition video codec used by the majority of its rivals. AVCHD is considered better than HDV due to its superior compression efficiency, which translates into longer recording times. However, the format has also suffered from assorted teething issues, including inconsistent video and limited editing opportunities.
Thankfully, these problems have all but disappeared from the HF10, which sports a refined version of the AVCHD format. Perhaps the most notable change is its increased 17Mbps bit rate, along with support for 'full' (1920x1080) high-definition. This has dramatically improved the quality of recorded footage, with almost no ghosting or compression artefacts marring the picture. Editing your data is also less problematic than before thanks to increased software support (the codec is now compatible with almost every editing application on the market). If you're still in the HDV camp, there has never been a better time to make the switch.
In terms of video performance, the HF10 is almost in a class of its own. We were highly impressed with the majority of our test output, which exhibited stunning true-to-life colours and razor-sharp detail in a variety of environments. 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. Nevertheless, it offers some of the best low-light performance we've seen from a camcorder in this price range (a front-mounted light can also be activated for nocturnal shooting).
The HF10 is equally proficient at recording audio. In addition to its front-mounted microphone, the model sports a pair of mic and headphone jacks, as well as an accessory shoe compatible with Canon 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. The menu itself is intelligently laid out, with a plethora of advanced options and manual settings.
The HF10 strikes the right balance between size and portability. While bulkier than some of its competitors (including 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.
We've had a long think about it, and the HF10 is nearly impossible to fault. It easily outclasses the majority of AVCHD camcorders on the market; both in terms of video performance and build quality (its closest rival is probably Sony's identically priced HDRCX7K, which lacks the HF10's full progressive HD mode, external microphone jack and inbuilt hard drive). If we were forced to complain about something, we suppose it would be the lack of a standard-definition mode. This means you will need to invest in a high-definition TV and Blu-ray player to get the most from this camera.
Join the newsletter!
When the Hypertext Transfer Protocol was introduced nearly 30 years ago, the Internet was a small, cozy club hosting just one website.
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Nova 3e: P20 in a pinch
- 2 Oppo R15 Pro review: A compelling mid-tier option with lots of value and few compromises
- 3 LG E8 OLED TV (2018) and SK10Y soundbar review: If you've been on the fence about OLED, now might be the time to jump it
- 4 Nokia 6 (2018) review: Simple. Solid. Supreme.
- 5 Samsung Q9F Series QLED: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- D-Link Launches new Wi-Fi cameras and enhanced Mydlink App
- Swann launches voice integrations via Google Assistant for multi-camera wired systems
- Swann refine their smart security solution with new solar panel
- Netgear recall Arlo power adapters
- Canon Strengthens 2:3” Broadcast Lens Range
PCW Evaluation Team
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.
Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category
The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Panasonic FZ1000U OLED TV: Full, in-depth, review
- Oppo Find X: Full, in-depth review
- 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