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Canon LEGRIA HF S21 review

Full HD camcorder with massive 64GB storage

Our Verdict

For

  • Movie and stills quality
  • HD-to-SD file conversion
  • Easy YouTube upload
  • Loads of connectivity
  • Storage options

Against

  • Troublesome touchscreen
  • Small colour viewfinder
  • Considerable investment

Sitting at the pinnacle of Canon's 2010 range of consumer camcorders, the LEGRIA HF S21 is a powerful and practical Full HD model with a 64GB flash memory, 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen and two (yes, two) SD card slots.

This is a camcorder targeted at enthusiasts and those who want premium image quality, maximum storage and almost-complete creative control.

The massive storage means the S21 can hold up to 24 hours of HD footage on the camcorder itself, and with Relay Recording you can continue recording to SDHC card; when one card is full the cam automatically continues recording to the second card.

With five recording modes (using bitrates from 24Mbps to 5Mbps) it's possible to select resolutions depending on how you want to view or share the movie – full resolution or web-friendly.

Shooting flexibility is an important area on the S21. As well as manual controls for focus, exposure and white balance – which can be controlled by a small, control dial on the left of the camcorder – there's also a range of pro-style features and a mammoth set of connections.

legria hf s21

A zebra pattern setting gives a warning when a scene is over-exposed, allowing corrections to be made, while colour bars enable editors to match the output from two camcorders – ensuring they don't look dramatically different. Best of all is a 25p mode, which provides videos with a more-cinematic look.

Canon legria hf s21

An external mic can be fitted and there's a headphone output for monitoring sound recording. You can connect it up to a TV using composite or component output, or to maintain maximum quality use the mini HDMI terminal and hook it up to an HD TV. A USB port provides computer connectivity.

Canon legria hf s21

The LEGRIA HF S21's rivals are likely to include Sony's HDR-CX350 with its 32GB flash memory, 12x optical zoom and 7.1MP stills; and Panasonic's HDC-TM700, which features 32GB storage, 12x optical zoom and 7.89MP stills.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDigital Camcorder
Flash Memory Capacity64 GB
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
TouchscreenYes
Number of Image Sensors1
Effective Image Resolution8 Megapixel
Effective Video Resolution6 Megapixel
Product FamilyLegria HF
Recording MediaFlash Memory, Memory Card
Image StabilizationOptical
Optical Zoom10x
Digital Zoom200x
Brand NameCanon
Screen Size8.9 cm (3.5")
Video FormatsMPEG-4, AVCHD
Built-in DevicesVideo Light, Microphone, Flashlight
Viewfinder TypeElectronic
Image Sensor Size1/2.6"
Maximum Image Resolution3264 x 2456
Battery RechargeableYes
Battery IncludedYes
Audio ChannelsStereo
Maximum Battery Run Time1.67 Hour
Display Screen TypeLCD
Image Sensor TypeCMOS
Total Camcorder Resolution8.6 Megapixel
Maximum Video Lines1080
Interlaced ScanYes
Progressive ScanYes
Longest Shutter Speed1/2 Second
Shortest Shutter Speed1/2000 Second
Focal Length (35mm Equivalent)43.50 mm to 435 mm
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card
Height74 mm
Width75 mm
Depth148 mm
ColourBlack
Video SystemPAL
Sound SystemDolby Digital
Product SeriesHF
Minimum Illumination0.3 lux
Focal Length6.40 mm to 64 mm
Image FormatsJPEG
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerCanon, Inc
Product ModelHF S21
Product NameLegria HF S21 High Definition Digital Camcorder
Product LineLegria
Aperture Rangef/1.8 to 3
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part Number4375B006AA
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.canon.co.uk
Marketing Information

Canon's most advanced flash memory camcorder, the LEGRIA HF S21 puts pro-level HD shooting in your hands. Stunning Full HD imaging combines with the storage capacity of 64GB Dual Flash Memory.

Microphone TechnologyElectret Condenser
Package Contents
  • Legria HF S21 High Definition Digital Camcorder
  • BP-808 Battery
  • Wireless Controller
  • Digital Video Solution Disk
  • USB Cable
  • Software CD (PIXELA ImageMixer 3 SE, Music Transfer utility)
Display Resolution922000 Pixel
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)480 g
White Balance Modes
  • Auto
  • Daylight
  • Shade
  • Cloudy
  • Tungsten
  • Fluorescent
  • Fluorescent H