Canon Legria HFS10

The awkwardly named Legria HFS10 is the star of Canon's range of high-def flash memory camcorders. It features a larger 8.6-megapixel CMOS sensor, 10x zoom, 32GB of storage, optical image stabilisation and a plethora of inputs and outputs.

Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
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Derek Fung
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Lori Grunin
Derek Fung
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With so many camera companies turning out flash memory-based camcorders simply because flash technology allows for much smaller models, it's such a relief to see a flash camcorder gain more prosumer features. To that end the Canon Legria HFS10, revealed at the company's camcorder deluge at CES, features a larger and faster — f1.6 if you're curious — lens capable of 10x optical zoom. This is coupled to a relatively large 9.77mm (1/2.6-inch) 8-megapixel CMOS sensor and 32GB of built-in flash memory.

Along with the higher technical specifications, not to mention the very welcome electronic viewfinder — angled upwards no less — the HFS10 also gains SMPTE colour bars, the ability to manually boost gain up to 18dB, fixed 70 and 100 IRE zebra stripes, and a user-assignable button.

It also takes advantage of capabilities introduced with the Digic DV III processor, like improved face detection which Canon claims can identify faces at oblique angles, as well as preselected faces. There's also enhanced autoexposure with the company's Auto Lighting Optimiser, and better noise reduction.

Finally, Legria HFS10 also has Video Snapshots (quick four-second video clips that can be used to create a highlights reel), quick charges (10 minutes per half hour of battery life), an electronic lens cover and video light, three-second pre-record, and the ability to capture photos while shooting video.

Thanks to its larger lens and electronic viewfinder the HFS10 will be larger than most other flash-based camcorders. That said, it's still quite a bit smaller than the hard-disk based Sony Handycam HDR-SR12 and Canon HG21.

We're looking forward to getting our hands on HFS10, but it's going to be a long wait until mid-March when it goes on sale in Australia. Pricing has yet to be confirmed.