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Canon HF-G10 Camcorder compared to HF-S21

Canon just released the new HF-G10 camcorder. Typically new Canon models are very similar to last year models but this is a new model that goes more into direction of prosumer with more manual controls and lower pixel density imager to get better low-light performance.

Compared to last year HF-S20/HF-S21/HF-S200:


  • Much better low-light performance
  • Wide-angle integrated lens starting at 30mm compared to 43mm which really required a wide-angle lens for most purposes to get same wide view. Also dynamic steadyshot doesn’t work with lens attached so not needing the wide-angle lens also improves that
  • More manual controls including new full manual mode with waveform monitor and finer manual settings for sharpness/brightness/contrast/saturation: 5 levels instead of 3
  • Slightly less noisy image in daylight due to lower pixel count although there’s some moire and less sharpness. According to Slashcam G10 has higher luminance resolution but lower color resolution
  • Lighter and more compact if you’d be using HF-S series with wide-angle lens
  • Increased electronic viewfinder resolution (260K versus 123K pixels)
  • New Cinemode filters with custom settings: color depth, softening filter, Key brightness or contrast
  • New audio options: normal/wide/zoom
  • New soft zoom option to gradually stop the zoom
  • Battery last longer at least on paper: 215min compared to 165 min for BP-819 battery
  • Lens ring to adjust focus
  • Misc: assignable 2 buttons (W/B option), ND filter, medium AF mode, remote controller zoom, …
  • Couple of more smaller changes…


  • $1500 MSRP which is $200 more than HF-S21 but with 16GB less memory. Although cheaper if you’d probably spend the additional $260 to add Canon wide-angle lens for HF-S21
  • No low cost entry model without integrated memory or without viewfinder
  • No integrated automatic lens cover (best to buy protective UV filter)
  • In daylight picture looks slightly less contrasty and sharp but little less noisy so trade-off. Picture might be matched closer with adjusting custom picture effects
  • Less zoom (about 0.7x) and 1.7x digital (tele-converter) zoom will give less good picture due to less pixels
  • No mini-video light
  • Lower resolution still images: 2MP instead of 6MP (although in general you’re better off anyway with good compact for still images)
  • Couple of more minor changes…

Manuals (reload to get it correcty loaded:

See here framegrab comparisons from slashcam.de at 1200 lux and in low-light:

HF-S21 versus HF-G10 in low-light

Slashcam comparison: HF-S21 versus HF-G10 in low-light

Slashcam comparison 1200 lux HF-S21 left, HF-G10 right


3 responses

  1. Pingback: Canon HD Flash Camcorders FAQ: HF10 / HF100 / HF11 / HF-S series

  2. Joseph

    Canon HF-S21 has more brightness in the image.
    HF-G10 has low brightness and colors are darker.
    Canon HF-S21 sensor is larger 1/2, 6 and captures more details in the picture so that the picture is more clear. In low light the image is better Canon HF-S21.
    Canon HF S21 has 64GB internal memory and register 6 hours XMF way. And last but not least HF-S21 series was framed to professional cameras from HF-G10 falling consumer.

    September 18, 2012 at 6:25 am

    • The main difference for sensor is megapixels (which is same sensor as used in Canon’s entry level professional camcorders).
      Lower megapixels means lower noise especially in low-light. In my tests I can confirm that and you do see it in slashcam’s low-light picture as well. I think the studio comparison they had it on auto so can’t conclude anything about lens brightness.
      The sensor is slightly smaller but at same time pixel density is lower. Downside is loss off more resolution in digital zoom but in my opinion it has a slightly ‘cleaner’ looking picture. Perhaps also less geared towards consumer so also more neutral and slightly darker picture.

      Another difference is that focal length starts at 28mm so you don’t need to use attached lens which slightly degrades quality with 2 lenses. That said IQ differences are not huge and certainly you can’t go wrong with the HF-S21/30. They do have better digital zoom as well.

      September 18, 2012 at 8:06 am

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