Canon Legria HF21 Full HD camcorder
A midrange flash memory-based camcorder with good image quality and features
- Impressive high-def video quality, solid array of modes and features, 64GB inbuilt memory
- Video performance struggles in low light, no 'Easy' button for novices
The Canon Legria HF21 is a solid workhorse of a camcorder that ticks most of the right boxes. On the other hand, it doesn't do much to distinguish itself from similarly priced rivals.
Price$ 1,699.00 (AUD)
The Canon Legria HF21 is a Full HD flash memory–based camcorder aimed primarily at casual users. With an RRP of $1699, the Legria HF21 is significantly cheaper than Canon’s high-end efforts yet still hovers above the entry-level mark. Its video performance is acceptable for the asking price, with an impressive array of manual modes and consumer-friendly features. In short, it’s a good, solid camcorder that does the basics well.
As its name implies, the Canon Legria HF21 is a minor refresh of the Canon Legria HF20. In fact, both cameras are so similar to each other that we probably could have copied and pasted our HF20 review and gone down the pub for the afternoon. Sigh. You see how dedicated we are? [Oi! Stop moaning and get back to work — Ed.]
The Canon Legria HF21 records high-definition video in the AVCHD flash memory format. It sports the same 1/4in CMOS sensor, 15x optical zoom lens and gross 3890k pixel count as its HF20 predecessor, along with most of the same modes and features. Canon has made some minor tweaks to the camera’s low light performance and doubled the onboard memory to 64GB. (Naturally, this makes the HF21 a bit heavier to handle, but not to any detrimental degree.)
With dimensions of 70x62x124mm, the Canon Legria HF21 isn’t the smallest flash memory camcorder on the market. Nevertheless, it should still squeeze into a handbag or jacket pocket without too much hassle. The HF21’s glossy black finish is synonymous with the Canon Legria brand — which is to say, it’s stylish but kind of characterless. Mind you, with the exception of Sanyo’s pistol-grip Xacti range, the same thing could be said about every camcorder on the market.
For menu selections, Canon has stuck with a traditional joystick interface. If you’re a member of the hip, happenin’ iPod brigade, the lack of a touch screen is sure to rub you the wrong way. That said, the directional joystick is well positioned and remained responsive throughout testing; it also cuts down on ugly fingerprints on the LCD.
The HF21’s menu boasts a respectable range of options, including adjustable shutter speed, exposure and aperture, a range of white balance presets, 11 scene modes (including Underwater, Low Light and Fireworks) and manual focusing. Other noteworthy features include an x.v.Color mode (for ultra-vibrant colours), a focus assist tool, a Soft Skin mode for flattering flesh tones, individual colour sliders and the obligatory face detection. Rather sportingly, Canon has also included microphone and headphone jacks on the Legria HF21, which many of its costlier rivals lack.
A unique feature offered by the Canon Legria range is Video Snapshot mode. This is a beginner-friendly tool that records video in four-second bursts. The clips can then be automatically merged into a montage via inbuilt editing software, resulting in a slick highlights reel. While it obviously won’t suit every occasion, Video Snapshot is a great way to get fast, punchy results with minimal effort. Mind you, we think most casual users would have preferred an Easy button, which is sadly absent.
Like most consumer-level camcorders, the Canon Legria HF21 is best used in sunny, outdoor environments. We previewed our test footage on a Pioneer KURO PDP-C509A307112 plasma TV and were fairly satisfied with the results. While it fails to meet the lofty standards set by Canon’s Legria HFS11, its output remains sharp, with plenty of detail and colour in well-lit subjects.
As expected, the HF21’s undersized sensor struggled in low light, with an ugly amount of grain creeping into the picture. It should prove satisfactory for occasional night use (especially when the focus assist lamp and Night Mode are activated), but frequent nocturnal shooters may want to look elsewhere.
The Canon Legria HF21 can store up to 24 hours of video on its 64GB memory drive (or around 12 hours at the highest quality). This can be bolstered by an additional 48 hours courtesy of an inbuilt SD memory card slot; though you’ll need to purchase the SDHC media separately.
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide
Join the newsletter!
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Watch
Ballistix Sport AT
Apple iMac Pro
Samsung QLED 8K TV
Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A9 Speaker
Toys for Boys
Little Bits DROID Inventor Kit
Osmo Coding Awbie Game
ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac
Oregon Pro WMR500 Weather Station
ESET Internet Security
Tivoli PAL BT
Nix Pro Colour Sensor
ESET Smart Security Premium
Naztech Xtra Drive Mini + 256GB microSD Card
SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3
TimeFlip Magnet Simple Time Tracking Device
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker
Ikea RIGGAD work lamp with wireless charging
Office 365 Business Premium isn’t one-size fits all but if you’re the right sized business for it to make sense, there’s a good amount of value to be found in the package’s comprehensive software offering.
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R17 Pro review: Oppo's thriftiest flagship yet drives a hard bargain
- 2 Google Home Hub review: A different kind of smart TV
- 3 Nokia 7.1 review: A modest and modern mid-tier option
- 4 Tenda Nova MW6 review: A gateway drug for mesh Wi-Fi
- 5 Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Expensive, but probably the best phone you can buy right now
Latest News Articles
- Arlo announces 4K HDR wire-free security camera system
- Navman introduces the MiVUE dash cam
- Uniden adds Artificial Intelligence functionality to Wired surveillance range
- Logitech announces Logitech Rally
- Swann launches new wireless camera with Alexa integration
PCW Evaluation Team
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
- PC World 2018 Editor's Choice Awards
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?