Product Type: Canon digital camcorders
Newest Review: ... inevitable. Since it has been widely accepted that Sony gives much less grains than Canon HG21 does and Sony's image quality is far ... more
Member Name: roktimdutta
Advantages: Read the review
Disadvantages: Price, price, light, grains
The Canon HG21 is a high-class, high-definition camcorder. A number of top-end features make it one of the most flexible consumer camcorders going in the market. It does 'n' number of things and most of them without an error. Some times it makes you wonder can it make a mistake? It is so very flexible that it open to the risk of potential outlay on accessories. Its huge hard drive feels as it never going to exhaust.
The HG21 gives enough space to bend your fingers in the ridge on the right hand side. The controls are so intelligently placed, the mode dial and the record button are under the right thumb with the stills capture button and the zoom rocker buttons placed right under the first finger. In fact most of the controls are placed on the 69 mm (2.7 in) screen bezel. On the back is located a small plastic cover which has got HDMI lined up. There is one more cover housing the connections for Headphone, component out and microphone input. The USB connection and memory card hatch sits snuggly in the screen uncovered making it look robust. It's viewfinder does not angle upwards allowing only eye-level shoot and it slides horizontally too. You can reach the swiveling cover for an accessory shoe as you slide out the viewfinder.
It's got a battery compartment can accommodate a large battery pack so that there is no problem while shooting for longer period of time.
The HG 21 records full HD video at 1920x1080p and has enough options for shooting at lower resolution right down to 640x480p for the web. In fact it's got an optical image stabilizer (OIS) largely helping the video sharp and crisp. It's 120 GB HDD holds upto 11 hours of high definition video which equals to 45 hours in long play mode. The video and the stills may be transferred on to or recorded on SD and SDHC memory cards. Which naturally gives excellent back up facility. Transferring the shoots to the computer necessitates your camera to be connected to the mains which ensures against batter failure or battery die out in the midst of a transfer but becomes a limiting factor when you are on the move.
This camcorder can be laid on to fully automatic easy mode and depending on your mood you can use any of the numerous manual controls. There as many as 13 programmed exposer modes, shutter and aperture priority. HG 21 includes 25p Cinema Mode leaving the choice to you for frame rate options of 60p and 30p. The video gives you plenty of fine detail with wonderful natural color. The noise problem is minimal with excellent low-light performance.
But while commenting on its performance a comparison with Sony HDR-SR 12 becomes inevitable. Since it has been widely accepted that Sony gives much less grains than Canon HG21 does and Sony's image quality is far better than Canon HG21. The reason probably is the difference mpix between the two. I think it's worthwhile to mention here that although the HDD holds 11 hours footage but the battery won't for sure. The onboard mic has left lot to be desired and has only two channels not getting the best of five channel surround. The lamp falls below expectations and not enough powerful. So add ons are required for real quality performance on all levels.
Now all said and explained it boils down to the basics, the price at £850 to quote the list plus the possible expenditure on SDHC card, external microphones and for the dim light, is a big deal for many. Excellent stuff but damn expensive. To me Canon HG 20 is a better option with a 60 GB HDD. Think and decide for yourself.
This review was first published at ciao.co.uk under the same user name.
Summary: At this price, it's a collectors choice, but an excellent camcorder
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