Canon Vixia HF G10 Camcorder Review
Like the majority of HD camcorders these days, the HF G10 records video using AVCHD compression. The camcorder cannot record standard definition video, but it does have an HD-SD down-conversion feature that can be used to create standard definition videos out of your HD clips (while preserving the original content). In the table below, you can see the five quality settings available on the HF G10, two of which allow for Full HD 1920 x 1080 recording. The other three record 1440 x 1080 HD video that is stretched into a 1920 x 1080 image during playback. Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of various high definition compression types.
The HF G10 comes loaded with 32GB of internal flash memory along with its dual memory card slots that work with SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards. 32GB of internal memory is nothing to sneeze at, but many flagship models offer double that amount. The fact that the G10 comes with two card slots does do a bit to remedy the media capacity situation, though, so we doubt capacity should be a problem for most users.
According to Canon, a single scene can be recorded for 12 hours. After 12 hours of recording, the HF G10 will automatically stop recording (for roughly three seconds) before starting a new clip. Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of various media types.
Still Features (8.45)
Canon made the focus of the HF G10 on video recording, and that means still image controls take a back seat on the camcorder. You can still capture photos, but there's only one size option (1920 x 1080) and the camcorder has no dedicated still image mode. All the traditional options are there—simultaneous video/still capture, a continuous shot mode, and a self timer—but the G10 does not have a built-in flash.
Honestly, we don't think this is a big issue, and that's what Canon is banking on as well. The company thinks that most buyers of the HF G10 will be concerned about video quality first and foremost, hence they designed the camcorder to work best at capturing video rather than photos. Anyway, if you're serious about still image photography, you should be using a dedicated digital camera or DSLR rather than a camcorder in the first place.
Even though Canon did not emphasize still image performance on the HF G10, the camcorder was still able to put up some reasonable numbers in our testing. The G10 managed a color error of 5.21 and a saturation level of 110% in our still color tests, both of which are decent numbers, yet a bit worse than the camcorder earned in our video testing.
Noise levels weren't bad on the HF G10, but they were definitely higher than what the camcorder averaged in our bright light video test. The HF G10 registered 0.95% noise in this test, which is a middle of the road score in this category.
Since the HF G10 doesn't have a large pixel count, it shouldn't surprise anyone that the camcorder didn't put up strong numbers in this test. What is surprising, however, is that the camcorder didn't fall completely flat in still sharpness. In fact, it actually put up some so-so numbers. The camcorder measured a horizontal sharpness of 946 lw/ph with 8.4% oversharpening and a vertical sharpness of 828 lw/ph with 4.4% oversharpening. These numbers are clearly worse than the competition, but that's all due to the HF G10's sensor design that puts video quality ahead of still image performance.