Canon LEGRIA HF S21 review

Full HD camcorder with massive 64GB storage

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Canon legria hf s21

Bigger and bulkier than your average camcorder, the S21 isn't interested in fitting inside jacket pockets.

This is a camcorder that wants to be seen, and seen sitting atop a tripod is often the best place for it. It has a durable build quality and responsive control buttons, as well as a 10x optical zoom that's relatively smooth and easy to control.

The increased dimensions are partly down to that 3.5-inch touchscreen LCD, which offers a sharp and clear way of reviewing recently shot footage. The colour viewfinder – a rapidly vanishing feature – is a neat addition, too, though it could have done with being bigger.

Canon legria hf s21

The touchscreen LCD is a little disappointing, though, especially when it is needed to access and make selections from the menu. The problem is it's often unresponsive to the touch of a finger, leaving you looking like a tech-numpty as you repeatedly prod the screen.

It's wiser, and quicker, to use some form of stylus pen or pencil to scroll through what is often an intelligently laid out menu system.

There's no disappointment when it comes to image quality, however. You're simply going to drool over the sharpness, clarity and colour reproduction the S21 delivers. A close-up of a leaf reveals exceptional fine detail, and even when rapidly changing the subject and setting, the S21's autofocus and autoexposure systems react and adapt quickly to any changes.

Canon legria hf s21

Low-light doesn't deter the S21 and it produces watchable movies even in less-than optimum conditions. The camcorder's auto systems do noticeably boost the image brightness in low light, but without any major detriment to the overall picture.

The S21 is bundled with Pixela ImageMixer 3 SE software and in conjunction with a nifty HD-to-SD file conversion feature on the camcorder it's possible to share movies through websites such as YouTube.

Canon legria hf s21

Insert an SDHC into the cam and select the clip(s) you want to convert from Full HD to SD – these are then stored on the SD card. Open the software – you'll have the chance to enter YouTube log-in details – and use it to upload and share these clips. It's simple, intuitive and addictively easy.

Stills can be reeled off (using a four-mode flash: auto, on, off, red-eye reduction) at super fine, fine and normal settings, and the 8.59MP CMOS sensor delivers sumptuous colours and absorbing detail. As with movie clips, it's a straightforward process to create playlists and albums from favourite stills and videos.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDigital Camcorder
Flash Memory Capacity64 GB
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Number of Image Sensors1
Effective Image Resolution8 Megapixel
Effective Video Resolution6 Megapixel
Product FamilyLegria HF
Recording MediaFlash Memory, Memory Card
Image StabilizationOptical
Optical Zoom10x
Digital Zoom200x
Brand NameCanon
Screen Size8.9 cm (3.5")
Video FormatsMPEG-4, AVCHD
Built-in DevicesVideo Light, Microphone, Flashlight
Viewfinder TypeElectronic
Display Screen TypeLCD
Image Sensor TypeCMOS
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card
Height74 mm
Width75 mm
Depth148 mm
Product SeriesHF
ManufacturerCanon, Inc
Product ModelHF S21
Product NameLegria HF S21 High Definition Digital Camcorder
Product LineLegria
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part Number4375B006AA
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Canon's most advanced flash memory camcorder, the LEGRIA HF S21 puts pro-level HD shooting in your hands. Stunning Full HD imaging combines with the storage capacity of 64GB Dual Flash Memory.

Package Contents
  • Legria HF S21 High Definition Digital Camcorder
  • BP-808 Battery
  • Wireless Controller
  • Digital Video Solution Disk
  • USB Cable
  • Software CD (PIXELA ImageMixer 3 SE, Music Transfer utility)
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)480 g