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Canon LEGRIA HF S21 camcorder review

By on September 7, 2010
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Top notch image quality but at a steep learning curve

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The Verdict:
The LEGRIA HF S21 is not for the lighthearted

Canon calls it’s LEGRIA HF S21 its most advanced flash memory camcorder that puts pro-level HD shooting in your hands. Launched in June 2010, the camcorder is designed for serious amateur video enthusiasts especially with that hefty price tag of over $1,200.

The LEGRIA HF S21 is capable of recording AVCHD format progressive 1080p video at a maximum data rate of 24Mbps on a 64GB flash drive that can be supported by SDHC cards in its two slots. It also comes with 2 SDHC card slots that can each hold a 32GB card making the total capacity to a whopping 128GB.

The camcorder features a CMOS sensor capable of capturing 8 Megapixel still images, a high quality lens capable of an optical zoom of 10x, a 3.5inch LCD touch screen, dolby stereo sound, pop up flash, a DIGC III processor, manual controls and so much more. The pay-off for this top of the line specification sheet is that unlike the norm, the LEGRIA HF S21 is bulkier than its predecessor and its competition.

The LEGRIA HF S21 has a set of manual controls in terms of white balance, focus and exposure. It allows you to adjust focus view a small dial next to the lens or the touch screen interface where you can also control the white balance, shutter speed(between 1/2000th to ½ sec) and aperture. These set of controls give the user more space to be creative with their videos or images keeping avid video enthusiasts happy. You also have the Zebra pattern function that warns you when a scene is overexposed.

On top of the camcorder, you’ll find the hot shoe in the form of a mini Advanced Accessory Shoe enabling you to add a more powerful video light in situations when the inbuilt LED video light seems inadequate. Also the 58mm lens thread is compatible to various professional filters.

Sound is recorded via a two-channel dolby digital microphones while an additional (and optional) microphone can be used to create a 5.1 channel surround sound. The inability to record 5.1 channel surround sound straight out of the box from a top of line camcorder is a little disappointing to say the least especially when compared to competitors. There is a headphone output for monitoring the sound recording.

You can connect the LEGRIA HF S21 to a TV using composite or component output, or for maximum quality you can use the mini HDMI terminal to connect it to a HD TV. A USB port provides computer connectivity. The LEGRIA HF S21 allows you to convert AVCHD (MPEG4) files to smaller standard definition (SD) MPEG2 files enabling easy sharing for web.

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