Hands On Review: Canon G10 Camcorder

Last month, my hands fondled and caressed the newly announced Canon G10 prosumer camcorder. While I wasn’t allowed to take pictures, handling the non-working prototype model proved to be an interesting experience coupled with the presentation from Canon. Because of this, I wasn’t able to gauge the image quality of the camcorder but I was able to take away quite a bit from the experience.

The Name?

The G10? Really? Wasn’t that a point-and-shoot that was praised by reviewers everywhere and then Canon realized that they put too many pixels on the sensor? Yes, yes it was. The proper name is the Canon HF G10.

The G10 is a brand new line of flagship camcorders for Canon’s consumer end of the market, which is why they target it towards prosumers and enthusiasts. But that name is a bit troublesome: first off it kills Search Engine Optimization for us bloggers. There is something on the horizon though and I actually believe that it may spell the death of the G-series of point-and-shoots.

What may replace them? Well, the camera I speculated about a little while back.

Tech Specs

– 2MP sensor for better high ISOs and improved dynamic range results. (1/3″ sized sensor)

– F/1.8 lens at the widest end of the zoom range (8 blade aperture)

– 3.5mm stereo microphone

– 10x Optical zoom

– 24MB recording

– 32GB internal flash memory

– Full manual focus ring

– 1080p HD at 24p and 30p

– 3.5 inch LCD with 922k dots (touch screen)

– Dual SD card slot

– Digic DVIII processor

– Multiple microphone places

– Return of the electronic viewfinder to the flash based camcorders

– Shoots 2MP still images in JPEG, but not RAW.

– $1,499.99

– New in-camera editing features. Unfortunately, when you edit the movie clips in-camera, some of the edits may not be exported off-camera and appear on your computer (from my understanding that is). One of these is a cinema-look filter

Ergonomics

During my short hands-on review time, I was very pleased with the ergonomics of this camcorder. When you hold it, you know that you’re holding a small camcorder that means business (or as I used to say in my punk rock days: kind of a big deal.) This is the camcorder I wanted years ago back in college during my cinematography courses.

The outside shell feels like it was inspired by the Canon 7D and 60D DSLRs. This is evident in the textures and how amazingly solid the body feels. I’d even go as far as saying that this camcorder would probably be able to handle more abuse than a Rebel. For more on this you can read about our comparison of those two DSLRs. You can tell that this is a small camcorder that was meant to do professional work. Rightfully so, as many professional television shows and even movies used smaller camcorders for B-roll and for other reasons.

For the traveler, college student, or person that does occasional paid work, this is the camcorder to get. It is still a small and manageable size and will not be a hindrance to anyone that is going for a higher-end camcorder in this segment of the market. If you want a smaller camcorder, Canon has refreshed its smaller HD and SD camcorders for your convenience.

While using the EVF, I believe that settings cannot be manipulated unless the touch screen is open. Once again though, the camcorder was a non-working prototype.

Handling

There are so many things in camcorder that I miss now that I shoot with HDSLRs. For example, headphone jacks are something that I mourn the death of in DSLR cinematography because audio is so important. Easier handhold-ability for longer shooting periods is another as well as easier manipulation of settings while shooting (such as aperture and exposure levels.) To be fair, the ability to use different lenses is great and even some of the best budget lenses are wonderful.

But there are other characteristics that stand out: like dials for fine tuning certain settings, flip-out LCD screens (the 60D has this), faster access to the settings that really matter vs having to go through menu and menu, etc.

Something else that I miss is power zooming: and the zoom button seems to be placed very well and very comfortably here on the G10. It reminds me so much of the days using the Canon HV20 and recording to Mini-DV tapes.

After thinking about it more: if Canon were to take the G series of cameras and turn them into camcorders, this would be it. However, I would’ve expected a higher bit rate for recording or at least the ability to shoot RAW. I’d pay the price for it too and I’m positive many professionals would as well.

Any questions about the camera that I didn’t cover? Let me know in the comments and I’d be happy to answer them.

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.