Canon LEGRIA HF S21 review

Full HD camcorder with massive 64GB storage

Canon Legria HF S21
The Legria HF S21 is Canon's premium consumer camcorder

TechRadar Verdict


  • +

    Movie and stills quality

  • +

    HD-to-SD file conversion

  • +

    Easy YouTube upload

  • +

    Loads of connectivity

  • +

    Storage options


  • -

    Troublesome touchscreen

  • -

    Small colour viewfinder

  • -

    Considerable investment

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Sitting at the pinnacle of Canon's 2010 range of consumer camcorders, the LEGRIA HF S21 is a powerful and practical Full HD model with a 64GB flash memory, 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen and two (yes, two) SD card slots.

This is a camcorder targeted at enthusiasts and those who want premium image quality, maximum storage and almost-complete creative control.

The massive storage means the S21 can hold up to 24 hours of HD footage on the camcorder itself, and with Relay Recording you can continue recording to SDHC card; when one card is full the cam automatically continues recording to the second card.

With five recording modes (using bitrates from 24Mbps to 5Mbps) it's possible to select resolutions depending on how you want to view or share the movie – full resolution or web-friendly.

Shooting flexibility is an important area on the S21. As well as manual controls for focus, exposure and white balance – which can be controlled by a small, control dial on the left of the camcorder – there's also a range of pro-style features and a mammoth set of connections.

legria hf s21

A zebra pattern setting gives a warning when a scene is over-exposed, allowing corrections to be made, while colour bars enable editors to match the output from two camcorders – ensuring they don't look dramatically different. Best of all is a 25p mode, which provides videos with a more-cinematic look.

Canon legria hf s21

An external mic can be fitted and there's a headphone output for monitoring sound recording. You can connect it up to a TV using composite or component output, or to maintain maximum quality use the mini HDMI terminal and hook it up to an HD TV. A USB port provides computer connectivity.

Canon legria hf s21

The LEGRIA HF S21's rivals are likely to include Sony's HDR-CX350 with its 32GB flash memory, 12x optical zoom and 7.1MP stills; and Panasonic's HDC-TM700, which features 32GB storage, 12x optical zoom and 7.89MP stills.