High-end camcorders from manufacturers such as Canon, Sony, and Panasonic are beginning to make their way into the system, even though the shoulder mount camcorder is still the standard for many people, particularly in the ENG (Electronic News Gathering) sector.
In the beginning, they are used as supplementary camera units or as backup cameras; nonetheless, they are swift – if reluctantly in certain circles – becoming recognized as worthy substitutes in a variety of settings.
One of these is the Canon Legria HF G40, a camera that we at FVVR Central have been able to get our hands on for some time now.
When compared to other cameras made from the same mold, this one is physically huge and weighs a total of 900g when the lens hood and battery are all included. (By way of reference, our tried-and-true Panasonic VXF995 4K weighs only a little more than 450g.)
That is not the same as saying it is too hefty to wear comfortably. It is not the case that all of the weight smoothly goes into the heel of the palm, cushioning the major mass of the object when held in hand.
It is quite refreshing to find a camcorder where the zoom rocker control is in exactly the right spot, as opposed to many models that cause the fingertips to stretch and strain to reach it, thus frequently causing errors on zooms.
The controls that are operated by the fingers of the right hand all fall perfectly into place, and it is indeed refreshing to find a camcorder where the controls are all perfectly in place.
The “Auto,” “Manual,” and “Cinema” settings may be selected using the straightforward slide switch located just above the zoom control.
The record on/off button, the function button, and a tiny joystick for navigating the menu are all located on the device’s back, directly under where the thumb naturally falls.
Another slider switch for Camera/Off/Media can be found on the left-hand side of the G40, and it is located on the main body where it is always accessible (that is, it is not located behind the 3.5-inch spinning LED Touchscreen).
Under the LED above the screen are many buttons and controls, including an assignable function button, a review recording button, a display button, and a battery info button. The SD card slots may be configured for simultaneous or relayed recording, depending on the user’s preferences. You can customize the functions of five accessible buttons, which, once you become familiar with the GH4, maybe a very useful feature.
It is important to note that the SD card lid must be secured before recording can begin; failing to do so causes the G40 to become irritable.
There are two buttons on the bezel of the LED: one allows you to choose between manual and autofocus, and the other allows you to turn to pre-record on and off. Both a knurled turning knob that is also assignable and a combined full-size focus and zoom ring can be found on the front left of the main body of the camera.
Last but not least, there is an AV port, a headphone port, a stereo small connector for an external mic, a micro HDMI port, a USB port, and an internal video light.
On-board charging capabilities are available for the G40’s battery. Because there is no way to attach a battery to the charger, if you are the sort of person who loves to have a battery that is both being used and charged at the same time, then you will need to acquire an external charger in addition to a battery. This is an optional accessory. There are many of options available from third-party manufacturers, and Canon, of course, sells these as replacement components as well.
Now, seasoned users of camcorders, particularly higher-end models, will look at all of these as obvious choices, of course. These buttons and switches have been utilized one thousand times across various camcorder make and models by our team. If, on the other hand, you have worked hard and saved a lot of money to get your gleaming new G40 and are upgrading from a simple machine that was fully automatic, then some of these gizmos and gadgets may appear to be a bit overwhelming to you.
Fear not you say! You suggest that I should read the instructions. Except you cannot do so because the HF G40 does not come packaged with one.
Canon VIXIA HF G40 Sensor
This lens is a tried-and-true Canon 3.67–73.4mm 20x zoom lens with an aperture of f1.8 at the wide end and f2.8 at the telephoto end. This causes an image to be sent to a 1/2.84-inch HD CMOS Pro Sensor, which has a resolution of 3.09 megapixels (2208 x 1398 pixels).
Canon claims that the G40’s night mode may reduce the required light to 0.1 LUX; however, their minimum LUX rating is 1. There is a Limit Adjustment for Auto Gain Control available. Apparently.
Canon VIXIA HF G40 Exposure
As was mentioned, there is the option to use either the automatic or the manual focus, the Face Detection Auto Focus, the Face Only Auto Focus, and the Instant Auto Focus. Additionally, there is the option to use the manual focus assist with peaking and magnification controls to help with all aspects of focusing.
Fast motion recording up to 1200x in various stages as well as several “Cinema Lock” elements such as sepia, old movie, vivid, and dream…) are some of the built-in creative possibilities that are available to users of the device. These options include “Fireworks, Sport, Beach, and Sunset” modes, among others. The minimum shutter speed is 1/6 of a second, while the maximum is 1/2000 of a second.
Canon VIXIA HF G40 In Use
I went for a walk in the neighboring Karri forest to put the Canon HF G40 through its paces. It was a clear and beautiful winter’s day, despite a minor smoke cloud due to recent and ongoing burn-offs by the Forestry Department. I also took several pictures while walking around the garden to get a better idea of how the camera behaved while capturing various colors in various lighting environments.
You are the best judge of how the outcomes ended out based on this raw footage that was captured in HD mode without using any filters.
Sample Footage Captured with the Canon Legria HF G40 and Uploaded to Vimeo by Auscam Online
I used a combination of the flip-out LCD (not my first personal choice ever), which was thankfully reasonably clear even in the bright light, and the viewfinder (always my preference), which can pull out and tilt. The LCD was clear even in the bright light, and I was thankful for that.
Canon VIXIA HF G40 Specs
|Sensor||1-Chip 1/2.84″ CMOS|
|Sensor Resolution||3.09 MP|
|Effective Pixels||2.91 MP (16:9 Video)|
|Focal Length||3.67 to 73.4mm|
|35mm-Equivalent Focal Length||26.8 to 576mm at 16:9 Standard IS/IS Off|
28.8 to 576mm at 16:9 Dynamic IS
|Maximum Aperture||f/1.8 – f/2.8|
|Filter Size||58 mm|
|Recording Media||2 x SD/SDHC/SDXC|
|Video Format||1920 x 1080p at 23.98/29.97/59.94 fps (AVCHD)|
1920 x 1080i (AVCHD)
1920 x 1080p at 23.98/29.97/59.94 fps (MP4)
1280 x 720p at 23.98/29.97 fps (MP4)
640 x 360p at 23.98/29.97 fps (MP4)
|Still Image Support||JPEG|
2.91 MP (2136 x 1362)
|Audio Format||Dolby Digital 2ch|
Dolby Digital AC3
|Screen Resolution||1,230,000 Dots|
|Lux||1.2 (1/30 sec with auto slow shutter on)|
.1 (Shutter speed 1/2 sec)
|White Balance Modes||Auto|
|Accessory Shoe||1 x Cold|
1 x Mini Advanced Shoe
|Tripod Mount||1/4″ – 20|
|Inputs||1 x LANC Terminal 2.5 mm|
1 x 1/8″ / 3.5 mm Stereo Mic
|Outputs||1 x Mini-HDMI (Type C)|
1 x USB 2.0
1 x 1/8″ / 3.5 mm Stereo
|Battery||Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery Pack|
|Charging Method||AC Adapter|
|Operating Temperature||23 to 113°F / -5 to 45°C|
32 to 104°F / 0 to 40°C
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||4.3 x 3.3 x 7.2″ / 10.9 x 8.4 x 18.3 cm not including lens hood|
|Weight||1.68 lb / 765 g including grip belt|
|Package Weight||4.21 lb|
Canon VIXIA HF G40 Conclusion
This is a top-of-the-line camcorder that justifies the cost. The HF G40 would easily swing into position as a second string or backup camera. I feel it would be equally at home as a primary ENG camera in situations where space could be at a premium or discretion might be required.
The G40 offers all the essential traits in terms of functionality, picture quality, convenience, and most significantly, ergonomics, except XLR audio connectors and SDI output; for those, you will need to purchase the Canon XA35, which costs AUD$3399 or a better model.