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Canon camcorders have a long way to go. Unlike Sony for instance, the technology used in Canon's offerings (at the same price point) still needs to evolve. The quality too is seriously in need of reinvention. After having reviewed a few of Canon’s DVD-based, the FS10 only reaffirms this belief.
The FS10 is a Flash memory-based camcorder that makes a lot of sense in this day and age. The interface is incredibly simple, and so are the features. At 58 x 60 x 124 mm, it’s a bit smaller than regular camcorders, but not quite as compact as the Sanyo Xacti CG65. Of course, the FS10 comes with 8GB of internal memory, and an expandable slot that is currently selling with a 4GB SD card. The weight is about 260g, according to the company.
This device isn’t really heavy; the design compensates, especially when you hold it properly around the palm. Access to buttons with your right thumb is limited to the playback mode-dial. The zoom, situated on top behind the power on/off button, can be accessed without much stretching of the index finger. My only grouse is that the zoom reacts a little sluggishly while shooting, taking about a quarter of a second. This lag may seem small, but it's noticeable – and thus quite inconvenient.
The 2.7-inch LCD screen incorporates the swivel action, as expected, and houses the joystick (used for navigation) along with the playback, forward, and rewind keys. The screen is not a touchscreen, which is a pity. A touchscreen would have made a lot of difference. Players like Sony have cottoned on to this and offer the same.
A serious design flaw happens to be in the placement of the USB slot. To access it you will need to flip the screen out. There are other buttons there too, like the mic-in and AV-out jacks. Even the speaker is there, which doesn’t make sense at all.
The camcorder incorporates 37x optical zoom, with a capability to shoot the zoom to a good 45x. Digital zoom is kept at 2000x, which is best kept untouched. The focal length offered by the FS10 equates to 35mm, while the maximum aperture is f2.0 to f5.2.
An optical image stabilizer is greatly missed, while the electronic one offered leaves a lot of be desired. Motion blur while panning is evident. You can even notice compression marks – which sort of ruins the whole experience for me.
There aren't too many features to play around with: white balance, three color effects (Black & White, Sepia, Art & Mosaic), and the Program AE mode are the main ones. In addition, there are some digital effects such as Fade and Wipe.
Videos are shot at 720 x 576 (4:3 aspect ratio) at 25 fps. Audio encoding includes Dolby AC3 48000Hz stereo 256Kbps. The colors were a bit dull, and there was a lot of noise, even in daytime shots. There is a night mode, but I found grains splayed across the frame.
Digital stills are not really recommended, though these are pretty usable for web purposes. The maximum size you can shoot at is 1152 x 864 resolution.
The camcorder costs Rs 28,500 with a 4GB SD card and a carry-bag (available at most places). That’s a bit expensive for something that doesn’t even offer optical image stabilization. The video quality is not that good, and the interlacing exhibits motion artifacts – and these pretty much put it out of the running as far as I'm concerned.