Canon Legria HF R48 review
Seemingly aimed at family users as much as anyone else thanks to its child friendly features, the R48 moves with the times by featuring Wi-Fi and dual recording
Unashamedly pitched as a step up for those shooting with smartphones or compact cameras and looking for something with a broader focal range, Canon’s 3.2 megapixel 1/4.85-inch CMOS sensor incorporating Legria HF R48 is another entry-level camcorder. Even if a manufacturer’s suggested price north of £400 might indicate otherwise. Still, like its near physical doppelganger in the JVC, the R48 doesn’t stray far from a conventional palm-sized cylindrical design with hand strap and flip-out 3-inch, 230k-dot resolution touch screen. It too comes with Wi-Fi connectivity plus here the ability to remotely control the camcorder using its live stream feature via any iOS device.
In terms of video footage, there’s the choice of shooting in Full HD AVCHD or less compressed and therefore slightly more widely accessible MPEG4 format – or, unusually, both simultaneously thanks to a new Digic DV4 processor. The other headline feature is an image stabilised 32x optical zoom for pulling the faraway closer. Toggle the top plate zoom lever and the lens action is again commednably smooth, steady and silent, though the Canon did appear slightly slower to find focus if switching subjects mid recording than its JVC equivalent. More positively, for recording, 32GB of internal storage capacity has been provided allowing for 17 hours and 30 minutes of recording in MPEG4 mode (albeit ‘just’ 30 minutes max continuously), expandable via optional SD media card in all its varieties. Cards are inserted into a slot tucked safely behind the screen. If you want stills using the 38.5mm lens which offers a bright f/1.8 maximum aperture, these are of the lowly non interpolated 2 megapixel variety.
Factor in a family friendly mode for filming children that features a sports mode-style pre-recording function, five mode audio recording that differentiates between the likes of music and speech, and the Legria would seem to have most bases covered. Slightly irritatingly, the lens cover here is controlled manually, via a side switch so it doesn’t just automatically flip open when the camera is activated as on its rivals. This meant that although flipping the screen outwards powers up the camera, we were not instantly ready to go because we’d forgotten to first expose the lens. The battery pack, here good for a lifespan of one hour and 45 minutes once again slots into an exposed position on the backplate, the overall build the usual minimalist plastic and metal mix.