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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Canon HR10 review:

Canon HR10

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MSRP: $1,259.99
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The Good Nice video and decent photo quality; manual exposure controls; 24p support; full-size HDMI connector.

The Bad DVD initialization and finalizing operations are slow; relatively short battery life; can't charge while camcorder is powered on.

The Bottom Line Though the Canon HR10 is a decent camcorder, there are better choices for the same money because format performance and compatibility issues make it hard to recommend a DVD-based AVCHD model.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

CNET Editors' Rating

7.2 Overall
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Performance 6.0
  • Image quality 8.0

The DVD-recordable child in Canon's nursery of consumer HD camcorders, the HR10 has the distinction of being my least favorite of the lot. Because it records to DVDs in the AVCHD format, it lacks the speed and compatibility of the less-expensive HV20, the recording capacity of the hard-disk-based HG10, and the compactness of the tape-based HV10. It's not that it's a bad product--it's pretty typical for its class--it just can't rise above the obstacles posed by its genes.

On the imaging side, it specs out well. It inherits the 1/2.7-inch, 3-megapixel CMOS sensor and Digic DV II processor from its siblings and uses the same 10x zoom lens as the HV10. But because it records to 3-inch DVD media, specifically DVD-R/W and DVD-R dual-layer discs, the design is necessarily a bit clunky. Like all DVD camcorders, though, the drive housing does provide an extra lip to wrap your fingers around for a decent grip. That's important, because the HR10's body feels quite slippery. My fingers fall naturally over the zoom switch and Program/Auto mode switches, and the start/stop record button lies under my thumb, but the photo shutter for snapping stills is a bit far back and somewhat low on the curve of the drive, making it awkward to reach with my forefinger.

The on/off/mode switch, still/video switch, and joystick lie beneath the eye-level viewfinder. Pushing in the joystick button brings up controls for the video light, exposure compensation, manual focus, and flash. Because of the relative positions of the viewfinder and the joystick, however, my cheek frequently obstructs joystick access; if your eyes sit further away from your cheekbones than mine, you probably won't have that issue.

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