Canon HG10 40 GB Camcorder - Silver Reviews

Canon HG10 40 GB Camcorder - Silver

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Mixed feelings about this camcorder

Jan 20, 2010 (Updated Jun 9, 2010)
Review by  
Rated a Helpful Review

Pros:Great image quality, sharp colors.

Cons:Image stabilization, avchd files make editing complex

The Bottom Line:

Handling of the camera is easy, but avchd files make editing more complex.  Not ideal for home and family use. 


The video quality on this camcorder really is great, especially with good natural lighting.  I don't know if it's something particular to Canon that the colors are really vivid.  Video taken indoors comes out dark and yellowish, but the quality is still probably sharper than the average camera.  (My previous camcorder was an old Sony digital 8, so that's what I have to compare.)  

I purchased this camera because I liked the idea of being able to just drag and drop video files from the camera to the computer, rather than dealing with the time consuming process of capturing it from a video tape.  My old digital 8 camera had broken down, and the hard drive cameras were the new thing.  I also liked the idea of widescreen and high definition, although it's a bit advanced for us right now.  We still have the cheapest, most basic box TV, and we probably won't upgrade our TV until we absolutely have to.  Even with a basic old box tv, though, the picture quality is noticable better than the old digital 8 video. 

What I didn't anticipate was that avchd files are time consuming in their own way.  It's difficult to edit an avchd file because playback is slow and choppy.   So for easier and more precise editing, avchd files need to be rendered into a different type of movie file before you can do any serious editing.  And on my computer that takes more time.  So by the end of it, that 4 minute video I took of the kids jumping in mud puddles is on two different video files, taking up more hard drive space than I think it should. 

The Ulead program that came with the Canon HG10 crashed a lot on my old computer.  I tried a free trial of Sony Vegas, which worked great for me and did recogize my Canon avchd.  But later when I purchased a bundled Vegas and Architect, Sony Vegas did not recognize avchd files from Canon camcorders.  (Still don't  understand why the first trial version did.)  I cannot remember what I did to work around that initially.  But last year I put all video editing on hold for more than a year after having computer problems --two hard drives in a row died on me.  So recently I reloaded some of my video editing/dvd making software on a new computer and tried to get back to the home movies I had put on hold for over a year.  (I could not find the Ulead program that came with the camera, though.)  So I had to downloaded a free trial of some other video editing software just to convert the avchd files. 

So I have mixed feelings about this camera because the quality is nice.  But essentially I'm just a mom who wants to capture video of my children as they grow up, and I want to preserve those memories on a dvd with as little fuss as possible.  If I were in the market for a camcorder now, video that tranfers to the computer with a common universally recognized video file and edits easily would be a top priority over image quality.  The added step of decoding or re-rendering the file makes it complicated enough that, frequently, when I want to just take a two minute video of the kids I use the video feature on my photo camera rather than use this camcorder. 

June 2010:  Just yesterday I downloaded the update for Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 10.0.  The new Vegas 10 finally does it.  It plays back avchd files without any problem, and makes avchd editable.  No more having to convert avchd to avi to edit it!!!  Hurray!!!!


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