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The HF G25 is a well rounded camcorder well suited to the documentary and short film maker
And still they keep coming. Today we received a new Canon HF G25 for testing, and true to recent form for most of the latest camcorder releases, the features and functions / $ are truly staggering.
Let's start at the front and work our way backwards; the lens is a 4.25mm ~ 42.5mm Canon lens with a maximum aperture from f1.8 to f2.8 sending data to a 1/3 HD CMOS sensor.
The equivalent 35mm specs are 30.4 to 304mm zoom (10x) with a minimum focussing distance of 20mm.
If you want to shoot stills it is only a small 2.07 megapixels - clearly not its prime function. You can however shoot stills while shooting video. A wide attachment is an optional extra.
Recording as would be expected is to AVCHD - pretty standard these days - and storage is to either the inbuilt 32GB RAM or there are a pair of SD cards slots under the 3.5" / 922,000 dot touchscreen LCD. And joy of joys there is also a viewfinder. Image quality functions include brightness, contrast and colour depth.
Now the REALLY good stuff (unless you are a lens / image processor nerd that is).
This camera is designed to be fully automatic or as manual as you like. Things such as Auto Gain can be adjusted as can focus preset and a manual focus assist. Zebra patterning is there as are white balance presets for daylight, shade, cloudy, tungsten and by colour temperature. One thing I would have liked to see is a histogram, but sadly no go there.
Added to this are 38 scene settings, and a whole bunch of Program AE options plus the standard digital effects (that should never be used of course!)
Audio is 2 channel Dolby AC3-(5.1 with surround sound optional) and levels can be manually set. The standard microphone is a 'zoom' mic, and there is a port for plugging in an external mic. There is no top mounted hot shoe however so you would either need to use such a mic via handheld, or with an external bracket. A headphone jack is also available.
Other ports include USB, component, HDMI, AV and more joy of joys, a LANC port letting you attach a remote control.
Physically, the HF G25 is larger than the current crop of consumer camcorders (95 x 82 x 210mm (with lens hood) and 565g if you are interested) and the front is dominated by the large focus ring. As just mentioned, there is a broad lens hood supplied that has a separate built-in lens cap. Controls under the LCD are quite minimal mainly as the camera is mostly touch screen controlled.
On the right hand side under a small flap are the USB, mini HDMI and remote (LANC) ports. Also under the LCD are a button for the display options on/off and a manual replay button. And that's it apart from the top mounted left/right rocker zoom switch.
The viewfinder can extend (needed when using a heavy duty battery) but does not tilt. The standard battery will record for a smidgin short of an estimated 2 hours, so the serious user would want an HD one I am guessing.
The HF G25 is a well rounded camcorder well suited to the doco / short film maker. It has all the functionality you'd need, and a few extras such as zebras and LANC are bonuses. I would like to have seen a tiltable viewfinder, histogram and integrated Wi-Fi would have been nice, but for $1299, you can't have everything.
- Features, zebra patterning, LANC port
- Viewfinder doesn't tilt, low megapixel for stills
- Performance 9/10
- Documentation 8/10
- Features 8/10
- Setup 8 /10
- Value for Money 8/10
- Help Functions. 9/10
David is the owner and publisher of Australian Videocamera. He has a background in media dating back to 1979 when he first got involved with photojournalism in motorsport, and went from there into technology via a 5 year stint with Tandy Computers.
Moving back to WA, David wrote scripts for Computer Television for video training for the just released Windows and Office 95 among others, and was then lured to Sydney to create web sites for the newly commercial Internet in 1995, building hundreds of sites under contract to OzEmail including Coates Hire, Hertz Queensland, John Williamson, the NSW Board of Studies and many, many more.
David can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org