I used the Canon Vixia HF G10 over the course of a couple weeks to get to know it well enough to give anybody that is interested an honest, unbiased review. Just to give you a prelude of my thoughts on this camera, I ended up keeping it for my own personal use as it has many attributes an outdoors enthusiast needs in a compact HD video camera, and is a step up from what I was using previously.
With a price tag of just over $1,300, the Canon is on the high end of the consumer video cameras on the market today. If you spend much more than that, then you should expect to get a prosumer video camera, designed for professional grade videos, but will be much larger.
I tried two different models of mics and both of them increased the sound quality. The first one I tried was the Sennheiser MKE 400 Shotgun Microphone, which worked great but was bigger than I was expecting and required a universal adapter. The Second one i tried (and kept) is the Canon SM-V1 5.1 Channel Surround Microphone and it is everything I hoped for: small, great sound quality, needs no adapter, and plugs into the hot shoe platform without a cord needed. It is the mic in the picture to the left. While the Sennheiser may be the higher quality sound device, I prefer the compact design of the Canon SM-V1 for the outdoor activities I do with it and the mobility. Check it out here: Canon SM-V1 5.1 Channel Surround Microphone
For more information, customer reviews, or to buy, click here:
*** Check all sites as prices change often and each have different customer reviews ***
Canon Vixia HF G10 Video Camera
The most important aspect of a video camera is the video quality. This just happens to be a strong point of the Canon Vixia HF G10. Canon does not lie when they claim this camera shoots professional grade video in a consumer priced and consumer sized video camera. The images really are crystal clear, smooth, and display vibrant colors in High Definition.
Here are a few short video clip of some mule deer bucks that I videoed. For the best quality, be sure to watch it in 1080p HD to get a real understanding of the video quality of this camera. Keep in mind that some of the video quality is lost over the internet, so actual videos from your camcorder to your computer will be even clearer and of higher quality.
*** For best quality, change to 1080p and watch in full screen ***
How to Change to 1080p: start the video; where it says 360p, click and select 1080p Watch Full Screen: click on the four arrows in the bottom right corner of video screen
Although the internal audio is great, for windy conditions you may want to invest in an external mic with a wind cover (wind cover not shown in photo)
The sound system of the Canon HF G10 is very customizable for certain situations and consists of a 5.1 surround sound that captures high quality audio. I have not had enough time, nor enough situations to to test out the many features, functions, and variations that are possible with this video camera’s audio components, but what I have used seem to function very well and easily. For the most part, I just leave it to normal mode as I do not think the other functions are going to make a whole lot of difference in the outdoor scenes that I like to video.
Wind: Canon has yet to figure out how to reduce wind noise with built in microphones. Of course, an external mic with a wind sock can reduce this noise a lot, and is suggested if you want superb audio quality. In a few situations where I had strong winds, the sound from it was very noticeable. This however is a common occurrence regardless of which video camera you use without an external microphone in windy conditions.
The Canon Vixia HF G10 offer the best feel of any compact video camera due to its ideal size.
The Canon Vixia HF G10 is by no means the size of a prosumer model camera (much smaller), but is definitely larger than many of the less expensive, compact video cameras on the market today. This can be both good and bad though. First of all, most of the ultra compact cameras are too small to feel very good in the palm of the average adult’s hands. The Canon Vixia HF G10 is big enough that you know it is there, yet small enough to pack it anywhere and for anything. It weighs in at just 1.2 lbs and has dimensions of 3.0 x 3.1 x 5.9 inches.
The slightly larger size of the Canon Vixia HF G10 allows me to use it in a steadier manner, and also makes many of the functions easier to use, as well as giving you a larger LCD screen which is very nice for both recording and play back.
Ease of Use:
I pulled the Canon Vixia HF G10 Video Camera out of the box, plugged it in, and instantly began shooting a video of my children. Everything is very straight forward for basic video recording. If you are scared that a camera may be over your head, fear not of this one. Sure, there are some advanced functions that you may choose to use in the future, but for the most part, you will get out standing video out of the auto mode, or even the manual mode on auto focus.
If you are videoing in the outdoors, you will want to experiment with the manual focus to be sure you are focusing on the right object (I have yet to have this happen on auto focus with this camera, but it could). The focus ring is at the end of the lens and operates by turning the dial, much like that of a professional video camera. This is certainly a step up from the knobs common on less expensive models.
With two SD card slots, an amazing amount of video can be saved in addition to the 32 GB hard drive.
The Canon Vixia HF G10 comes equipped with a 32 GB internal hard drive. That will get you about 12 hours on the lowest quality video setting and about 3 hours on the highest. I do feel they could have included more hard drive space on a video camera of this size and one that takes such high quality video, which takes up more space. In fact, there are several cameras that are more compact, cost half as much, and have just as much or more hard drive space.
That being said, even if the hard drive had two or three times as much space as it does, I would still not use it. The Canon HF G10 has two SD card slots, which enables you to add an almost unlimited amount of storage to your video camera. I bought two 128 GB SD Cards which enables me to capture 24 hours of the highest quality (MXP) video. It is much easier dealing with the SD cards than the hard drive as all I have to do is take out the card and put it in to my computer, instead of dealing with cords and wasting battery power of the camera.
Low Light Video Recording:
Click on this picture to see how Canon Vixia Video Cameras capture the most light possible.
One of the main selling points that Canon has over its competition is its low light rating, know as Lux. The Canon Vixia HF G10 has a lux rating of 1.5, which is much better than most. The way they obtain these results is by using larger pixels, not more. Canon Vixia Video Cameras record video in 2.07 mega pixels, which is exactly 1920 X 1080p, which is the same as professional grade video cameras. I am not going to go over the details in the review, but here is a video that explains it all real well: Canon Vixia CMOS Pro Video
What did I find when shooting in low light conditions? I found the low light abilities to be great in the Canon Vixia HF G10. In fact, the video camera was able to produce more light than was actually there. When I played the video back, it appeared to be lighter than what my eyes were seeing. Therefor, I would say the low light recording is excellent for this camera, which is a big deal regardless of whether you plan to be shooting video indoors and outdoors.
This video camera offers a lot of manual controls, but most are accessed through the touch screen. This makes it difficult to adjust many of the functions while recording like you can with bigger professional grade video cameras. This is an easy trade off for the size comparison between the Canon Vixia HF G10 and other professional grade equipment; it just isn’t big enough to have these buttons and knobs on the outside. Still, these functions such as exposure, aperture, shutter speed, white balance, gain and zoom speed can be adjusted manually.
If you are like most people and just want high quality video with out the worries of manual adjustment, then just set it to auto and you will not be disappointed. One thing to keep in mind though is that on auto mode, you can only zoom in using the optical zoom. With it set to manual mode, you may use optical and digital zoom, allowing you to zoom in much closer. Even on Manual mode without changing any of the manual functions, the video has turned out stunningly, in fact the video above is filmed in this manner.
The Canon Vixia HF G10 is equipped with a 10X optical zoom. Videos that are zoomed in offer near the same quality as no zoom. Unfortunately, they are not breaking any records with the 10X optical zoom and I would prefer 20X which is available on some video cameras which cost less. There is a 200X digital zoom, but using the digital zoom will decrease the video quality showing more distortion the more you zoom in. Therefor it is important to not zoom in to that point.
The zoom button is located in a convenient spot and is easy and smooth to use. Also, as stated in the manual functions above, the zoom speed is adjustable and can be set for several different speeds, making for a smoother video.
Wide Angle Lens:
One of the main selling points of the Canon Vixia HF G10 Video Camera is the wide angel lens. I have been amazed at what ends up in the screen even though I might think it is well out of view.
Showing the Canon Vixia HF G10 with the BP-827B Battery protruding out the back allowing well over 300 minutes of record time.
The Canon Vixia HF G10 comes with a rechargeable, intelligent (displays time left), lithium-ion Battery (BP-808B). Brand new and fully charged, I can get about 100 minutes out of a battery. I have also purchased some generic off brand batteries that are bigger in size, very inexpensive, and offer up to 330 minutes of record time (that is what it says on the LCD screen, it may last more or less time).
The battery the video camera comes with is the BP-808B. I have bought both a BP-819B and a BP-827B generic batteries and both work well and communicate with the camera. The 827 is large and sticks out the back a ways whereas the 819 fits much better but does not have quite the charge life. They are also much less expensive than the Canon Batteries although they do have less favorable reviews. Of the generics that I have tried, Wasabi makes the best and has the best reviews. You can check them all out here : Canon Batteries
The Canon Vixia HF G10 comes with video editing software. At first I was not sure about it, but after messing with it on a few videos, I have found it to work well and easy, with no loss of video quality. One thing you need to remember is that YouTube does not offer support for .mts files, which is the format that most HD video cameras record in, so you may have to convert you files to .avi, .wmv, or some other format. The easiest way I have found is use Windows Movie Maker and then publish it straight to YouTube from there. I figure, as so many video cameras have began to record in .mts format that YouTube will begin to offer support sooner than later.
A large LCD screen allows for great play back and easy navigation
The 3.5 LCD Screen on the Canon Vixia HF G10 is bigger than most, allowing you to get enjoy the play back right on the video camera itself. The touch screen is very ease to use and doe not take long to get use to. You have to push firmly, but once use to it, I was able to scroll through all the menus and play back videos with ease. It is definitely better than buttons.
My overall rating after giving the Canon Vixia HF G10 a thorough testing is 4.75 stars out of 5. The only things I would change is a 20X optical zoom and the ability to use the digital zoom on auto mode. Other than that I am very happy with this video camera. It is the perfect size, can hold a ton of video with the 2 SD card slots, and record stunning High Definition video. As I mentioned at the beginning of this review is the fact that I got this camera to review it, but I will keep it as it is a significant step up from what I have been using in the past.
For more information, customer reviews, or to buy, click here: