Canon Legria HF R48 Camcorder Review

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Canon Legria HF R48 Camcorder

The Canon Legria HF R48 is a fairly compact Full HD camcorder with a ¼.85in CMOS sensor, a built-in Wi-Fi adaptor and 32GB of built-in storage for your videos and still images, in addition to an SD card slot. This is a large amount of storage, and is great if you've forgotten your SD cards. Although small, the Legria HF R48 is comfortable to hold, which is due in part to the handstrap's padding. It feels light but not cheaply made, and the touchscreen's hinge feels sturdy, giving confidence that it won't break easily if handled by younger family members.

Image Quality:

We were pleasantly surprised by the image quality of the Legria HF R48, given its price. There's a lot more detail in daylight shots than expected. It certainly won't stop you enjoying your footage. Colour
reproduction was similarly good, although overcast skies appeared to have a blue tinge. We saw minimal noise, except when we trained the HF R48 on a cloudy sky. There was still a great amount of detail in all but the darkest scenes. We could clearly see the toy train reflected in the fan blades, for example, but we couldn't make out much detail on the darker parts of the train itself. Although noise was predictably present, it wasn't too intrusive.

We also noticed a pulsating shift in focus when we activated a rotating fan LED, which caused the text on a pack of stickers to move in and out focus slightly. Again, you'd have to look closely to notice it. The HF R48 also rendered the fur of our toys better than expected. Not as well as the much more expensive Panasonic HC-X920, but slightly better than the Panasonic HC-V520. With the HC-V520, some of the fur lacks detail, looking like a rough coloured surface, while other parts look like plump clumps of rice. You can tell the surface is fur, but it doesn't look too realistic. The Canon Legria HF R48 renders the fur similarly, but has just enough detail to make the fur appear more realistic.

Features:

The Canon Legria HF R48 has a wonderfully smooth and incredibly responsive touchscreen interface that's packed with lots of sensible, well-organised options. The first level displays five icons that you
can highlight with a cursor. Each icon represents a set of menu options, but click through the icon and you're presented with a list of natural language options. Any menu items that are not relevant to
the camcorder mode you're using are greyed out, so you don't have to worry about them. It's certainly a lot better than the user interface seen on last year's Canon Legria HF R36. The R48 also has a built-in 2.4GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi adaptor that lets you control the camcorder remotely, upload videos to your smartphone or tablet and connect it to your router so that you can access it through your computer. In the latter scenario, the R48 operates as a media server, so you should be able to watch videos on your smart TV, too, as long as it supports media streaming from a server. You can either search for SSIDs or connect the R48 to a router using WPS, and the touchscreen interface makes it easy connect to your network thanks to the proper onscreen keyboard. Indeed, it's better than some much more expensive camcorders in this respect.

The Movie Uploader app (available from the App Store and Google Play) lets you upload MP4 videos stored on your R48 to your Facebook and YouTube accounts. You can also save videos to your mobile device's photo library. The app is very simple, and you only need to choose the source of the video (SD card or built-in memory) and the video you want to upload. Transfers are pretty quick, too. The "CameraAccess" app also available from the App Store and Google Play, lets you use your smartphone or tablet as a remote monitor. You can also choose to record video to your mobile device or the HF R48, and it shows the amount of recording time each can provide among other things.

Few Connections:

The HF R48 has Mini HDMI and Mini USB ports, but nothing else. This is a great shame, because many cheap camcorders have a 3.5mm headphone output at the very least. Enthusiast users who need a microphone input will need to look elsewhere. The HDMI output is certainly handy. Although you can stream video to your TV or PC using the HF R48's built-in Wi-Fi adaptor, you'll need the HDMI output if you don't have a smart TV or if, for whatever reason, you can't stream video to your TV without dropped frames or interrupted video. We really like the Canon Legria HF R48. It has a fantastic user interface that makes good use of its responsive touchscreen, great image quality and a
relatively low price. It's also currently cheaper than the Panasonic HC-V520, which is its closest rival. At two hours, the HF R38's battery life isn't too bad, either. It's a definite Best Buy.
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