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The Canon Vixia/Legria HFR16 is currently sitting in Argos for £199.99. I bought mine with the intention of filming a few shorts, making the smallest of amateur films and basically using it as a stepping stone to get into all things digital and film-like.
I was in luck. My intention is to get that film-look everybody seems to crave. The professionals shoot in 24p, which is 24 progressive frames per second.
The HFR16 shoots in 25p, which is close enough to look awesome. You can shoot in 1080p. and in the right light, the picture is stunning. I've zoomed in on the smallest of things and it copes very well.
This IS a good camera..... however there are a few caveats.
I was looking at the HFR100 previously, had i done my research more thoroughly i would have known that the HFR16 doesn't include an external mic socket. so you are stuck with the camera's inbuilt mic. If you intend to shoot interviews with this, or amateur productions you're going to be limited in terms of audio quality. you'll pick up wind, echo from corridors and other ambient noise. not cool.
On the Plus side. for the same money, and if you don't need the external mic... This comes with 8gb internal memory. which is a real godsend should you be limited on SD card space.
The interface is VERY easy to use, and anybody with a basic grasp of camera terms can quickly adjust things to their personal tastes.
The camera itself is light, it looks premium, in shiny black with little chrome bits and shiny silver buttons. The only other gripe, which is similar with a lot of canon models is if you're mounted on a tripod you need to unscrew the camera to access the battery and SD card. Not so handy, but not the end of the world.
I have purchased an extra battery for my camera, the battery life is good, but it pays to have a charged spare on hand. These can be snatched on Amazon for as little as £5.99 and work as well as the canon replacements, which are more then 10 times as expensive.
I'd advise getting a case as well. It pains me to think of my camera getting scuffed, or even dirty.
A lot of people criticise the low light recording quality, and while i'm of similar opinion, this isn't a professional camcorder. If you buy it and find that out. research more. I went in knowing this, and i adjust my filming to suit it. When i want to film low light i'll buy a better camcorder. or mount adequate lights to compensate.
Overall for £200 you're getting a very capable, smart looking camcorder, which is more than adequate for shooting holiday videos (did i mention it takes stills as well?)
You'll be hard pushed to get something as good for the money, but if you buy one shop around. Currys and the like sell the lower models for upwards of £300. go in with caution and you'll come out smiling :)
When I decided to buy a new camcorder earlier this year I wanted to go all out and get something special. I had a series of family parties and other events lined up, and was keen to create a visual record for future entertainment.
The Legria HF R16 comes in at around £325, but as well as delivering superb image quality and being enormously versatile, the package is also very generous. In addition to the camcorder, you also receive the following:
· CA-590E Compact Power Adapter
· AC Cable E
· BP-2L5 Battery Pack
· Terminal Cover
· Stereo Video Cable and Interface Cable set
· Component Cable CTC-100/S
· PIXELA Application Disc 1 v3.0
· PIXELA Application Disc 2 v3.0
· DVSD v34.0 / Instruction Manual / Music Data Disc
· Quick Guide (E)
· Quick Guide (F/G/I/R)
· Guarantee (EUR, A6)
· Guarantee (RU)
· PIXELA Installation Guide
Aesthetically this camera is very sleek. Lightweight, and with a fold-out viewing screen that folds securely away during transit, the Legria HF R16 is also equipped with a 20x optical zoom lens and, my personal favourite, Smart Auto facility. If, like me, you struggle with the myriad of options when you first begin using this model Smart Auto will select the most suitable settings for your environment. It will choose the most suitable lighting option and will also bring your subjects into focus so that you create strong, crisp images.
What really drew me to this camera was its capacity to record in HD. There exists an enormous array of options that allows you to produce stunning clips that leap out at you with their stunning spectrum of colours and razor-sharp clarity. As mentioned previously, I particularly wanted the camera to make records of gatherings, and this model has been perfect for just this situation. With an enhanced Dynamic Optical Image Stabiliser you can create films that have such a smooth, professional feel they appear effortless. The Dynamic IS feature will stabilise the image if you wish to record images while on the move. I have used this feature while filming from a train, and when I played back footage of the rugged panoramas I was thrilled at the steady progression.
You can put together montages of memorable events by using video snapshot mode. During recording or playback you can select short clips, then compile them as a playlist. You can choose clips of 2, 4 and/or 8 seconds in length, so you are not restricted in what you can include in your video tableau. The package comes with a CD that contains a selection of emotive tracks, and you can select the most appropriate one to set to your montage.
If you are attending a lengthy event or wish to record a series of films, the 8GB internal memory and SDHC card recording facility allows you to save around three hours of footage. There are additional cards available, and if you are worried about missing out on recording something due to your card reaching maximum capacity, you can opt for Relay Recording mode, where the camcorder will automatically change to the next free storage device when your current one becomes full.
I have had hours of fun experimenting with this camera, and although when I purchased it I believed I would not have cause to delve into the multitude of features it offered, I found I could not help myself. Even after owning the Legria HF R16 for more than six months, I am still discovering new features and styles to investigate and perfect. I feel that the snap screen is a little on the flimsy side, and although it has never sustained any damage I am constantly vigilant so that I can ensure this remains the case. This mild discrepancy aside, this is a fantastically versatile camcorder that delivers all you could expect, and much, much more.