Canon Vixia HF G10 Camera – Plenty of Features
Canon Vixia HF G10 is a camcorder having a price of over $1,000 and for this cost, I would expect a feature set that is more extensive particularly because Canon is creating a line that is really confusing by putting the HD CMOS Pro sensor inside this model, skipping next 1 down, and using it for mid range series of HF M4xx. This is the sensor that is used currently inside pro entry level models of this company. This one is a bit larger as compared to standard consumer sensor having 2.75 micron pixels instead of the 1.7 micron pixels, the manufacturer is claiming around 280 per cent of improvement for dynamic range as compared to the previous models having new and minimum recommended level of light around 1.5 lux.
Also, there is the pro version which is more expensive; it is Canon XA10 and adds detachable handle which includes XLR dual inputs, infrared light, audio switch, tally lamp, removable microphone holder, record and zoom switches, and accessory pass through shoe.
Combination of bigger pixels sensor along with lens of high quality gives the best quality video that you’d ever seen in consumer camcorder. Video is a bit softer as compared to what I would like but the overall quality is quite good. Playing back all the content on the TV; the videos look sharp. Overall speaking, the Canon Vixia HF G10 gives good dynamic range with brightest of highlights that are clipped. While editing, you should crush blacks a bit for improving contrast but for the video that is straight away going to TV will be looking quite well. White balance automatic is a bit cooler than what I’d like but the colours are pretty good – they are saturated, accurate, and bright too.
8 blade iris of the Canon Vixia HF G10 were expected to produce bokeh that is slightly rounder but it still looked good. There is some fringing even for edges of the bright high lights. There was some haloing on edges of the colours that were saturated and really saturated bright oranges and yellows close to one another approach quite indistinguishably.
For the highest 24 mbps quality, G10 didn’t display any compression artifacts except for the conditions of low light. There was some of aliasing that was caused due to interlacing of video of 60i. But 1 of distinguishing features in G10 as compared to rest of the camcorders of Canon is the support for the 24p true video, not simply 24 fps taken as progressive but coded at 60i which is common in most of the AVCHD models but with encoding of 24p. You get to use that around the issues of interlace. (European model of this camcorder is called Legria HF G10 and it has support for 25p.
Canon Vixia HF G10 gives good video in low light conditions to a certain point. During my test scenes of around 17 lux, this camcorder gave me best results that I have ever seen for this class. Just bit darker dim light of level of living room and it is noisy typical mess with the automatic gain control that is enabled. Quality of audio too is good. Stereo sensitive mics give good separation and warm nice tone without any tininess of models of lower end.
On drawback of this sensor and main reason for similar model having different sensor – HF S30 is low res might not suit some of the folks who are looking for large and still pics. G10 delivers very sharp still which are short of getting too digital in terms of look but they look pretty good onscreen and when printed. However, I won’t recommend you to print bigger than four and half by eight inches.
In terms of performance, the Canon Vixia HF G10 is quite good. It does expose and meter very well and that too consistently. Image stabilization was solid and Dynamic setting worked well to around 75 per cent of way through focal range. Powered IS too is very steady at max telephoto. It does focus quick but you get to just how and when it happens. There are three options – Normal, Medium, and Instant. You also get to customize zoom speed which is quite common and the softness which is how fast the zoom starts and stops. Autofocus worked very well but it isn’t any better as compared to what we have seen in the previous models. All the camcorders can lock inappropriately on background instead of subject and this one is no different.
But this camcorder comes with a manual system of focus for compensating. Front ring does feel quite responsive and there are different options of peaking and magnification which include waveform edge monitor display; it makes thing easy for focussing properly. Also, you get to override temporarily AF along with manual and this makes it very easy for produce uniform, slow effect of slide in to focus.
LCD is saturated and bright but viewing it in bright sunlight is difficult. There is EVF which is really nice and relatively big.
Feature set of the Canon Vixia HF G10 has plenty of tools for the tweaky videographers and for people who yearn for more of handholding. For example, you get to focus preset for quick resume focus (this is good but I would have liked zoom preset too) it can display optional wave form monitor in mode of manual exposure; get a lot of audio tools which includes mixing the external and internal levels, the directionality (zoom, wide, normal, and mono), equalizer (boost LF, boost MF, low cut, boost LF+HF), 1KHz reference, attenuator, and comes with mode of Live Video to key on green or blue. 3D shooters who yearn for pairing up some G10s on rig will really appreciate scan reverse capability of recording which gives right/left/up/down inversion of image. But there isn’t any lens shifting or any way to calibrate images.
Canon Vixia HF G10 comes with neutral built in density filter and I considered this as an important feature for the models that are more advanced. But implementation could have been better. To start with, it is available just with manual and aperture priority mode. Also, instead of choosing setting manually, when you enable it, things kick in automatically after you have changed aperture. For instance, while you change aperture, you get to scroll through a lot of settings for the F4 like F4 ND 1/2, F4 ND 1/8, F4 ND ¼, and the F4 ND 1/8. After this, you get to the F4.8. Just like somebody who wants to use ND filter for getting slower speeds of shutter and not just the wider apertures, it ticked me really. You are better off nearly with ND add-on filter. Also, I’d wish that manufacturers of camcorder will display current speed of shutter when in the mode of aperture priority. But it isn’t just about Canon.
To shoot 24p, there is totally different mode of Cinema (apart from manual and auto) which includes filters of Cinema Look which adjusts the depth of colour (saturation), brightness, softening, and contrast. It is little annoying that in the Manual mode, they are known as Image Effects.
For people who yearn for guided shoots, there is Story Creator of Canon which might float the boat. You just need to choose one theme known as Travel or Party and this camcorder will give you list of the options of scene like “Taking Off!” and “Planning for Trip”. They are well organized in the camcorder and you get to rate the individual scenes in playback filtering. Also, you get generic and themeless story if you simply wish to use it to organize shoots. Files are located inside normal directory tree of AVCHD. But organization is for the playback that is camcorder based only.
After reviewing the Canon Vixia HF G10, i realized that there is a lot to love about it here but your reaction for design might be just matter of the taste. Overall speaking, this camcorder is constructed very well and it is very easy to grip too. Zoom switch and manual focus ring are quite responsive for my tastes. I really liked integration of Canon of the dual slots of SDXC in to the line of products. For interface of touchscreen, this manufacturer has succeeded very well but it is only till you get inside system of menu. Shooting menus have big and navigable buttons are which is easily selected. The options don’t rely on sliders much and you get to click on the arrows for adjusting settings. Screen is big enough and things work pretty well too. However, I didn’t really like the scrolling through menus. You aren’t just limited to the scroll bar that is placed awkwardly; you can select the items of screen but you will find that doing either isn’t really easy.
Instead of big dial of control on front of this camcorder like on S30 and also previous models, this G10 comes with small custom key and on the back, there is one dial. It is placed awkwardly to shoot through either EVF or LCD and it is too small and also pretty difficult for feeling. Holding down this button will let you select amongst shutter/aperture priority, AGC, manual, and the settings of exposure which you get to adjust using dial. However, instead of making 2 different options for the priority modes, you first need to set the one that you like the best through LCD.
LCD bezel has two buttons that are assignable but they are limited for some reassignments that are limited to use like back light correction, Video Snapshot, Face Detect AF, AF/MF, WB Priority (it is swap between the preset and current) and the Powered IS.
Battery life is not really long and Powered IS drains the battery juice faster. I would recommend you to go for battery of better capacity.
The camera comes for a price which is around $1,029. So, you have to really save that much of amount if you are interested to buy this camera.
To conclude, I would say that Canon Vixia HF G10 is really good prosumer camcorder having good quality of video and feature set too is flexible. However, it is a bit expensive and some people might think that the features are more than what people mostly need. I would recommend you to try it once before buying to make sure that you are comfortable with operation and design of this device.