Apr 08, 2014 Nick Rego
In today’s world it seems that anyone armed with a camera or a smartphone can become a mini-celebrity. Thanks to the popularity of sites like YouTube, millions of videos are uploaded every day from users, covering everything from their kids to their pets to bands performing in someone’s garage. Which is what makes Canon’s Legria mini so perfect – it’s aimed at a demographic that loves to take photos and videos, often of themselves. It’s compact enough to carry around but has enough features to keep any self-obsessed video junkie happy.
The Legria mini is actually quite a nifty piece of kit. Weighing just 160g and measuring 76 x 22 x 96mm, it’s easy to carry around with you and prop up for a quick shoot. It features a 2.7” touchscreen which lets you view what you’re recording as well as playback and changing the various options. The screen can be flipped around if you’re recording yourself, or used normally to record something that’s facing you.
In the front of the device is the lens, capable of capturing footage in 1920 x 1080 resolution. The handy on/off switch at the side automatically covers the lens when the device is off, so you won’t have to worry about the lens being damaged when you carry the device around. The lens is a wide-angle one, with an approximate 160-degree field of view. Flanking the lens are two microphones, that capture high-fidelity audio and can be tweaked to change the capture quality and the recording scene.
Around the side of the device you’ve got a mini-HDMI and power port, and on the opposite side you have a USB port and a slot for a microSD card. You’ll need to use a fairly high-speed microSD card with this device to ensure that your recorded videos are captured smoothly. Lastly there’s a sturdy kickstand at the bottom to help you prop up the device for recording purposes. Overall the build quality is quite good and the hinges holding up the screen feel quite firm, so you won’t have to be too worried if you keep turning the screen around.
The Legria mini supports a number of recording modes to ensure that both video and audio are being captured properly. You can optimize the audio to record for speech, music, outdoor scenes, or even with noise suppression. With video you can shoot in intervals, slow or fast motion, and even in snapshots. There is also a digital zoom mode for close-up shots, but I found that this adds excessive noise to the overall recording.
One of the standout features of the Legria mini is the ability to control it via a smartphone or tablet. The device is able to broadcast a Wi-Fi signal, which you can connect to with an app and use to trigger recording or to stream media from the Legria mini to your device. The only downside is that you can’t use the Legria mini as a remote viewing camera or access the Internet when you’re connected to it.
When it comes down to actual video recording quality, the Legria mini is able to hold its own. In daylight or in brightly lit rooms, the quality is superb, and because of the fixed focus you can ensure that pretty much your entire scene will be sharp and clear. In low-light conditions the quality does drop just a little bit, but overall the low-light recording mode was equally as impressive. The only observation of course is the fisheye effect that’s applied to your videos because of the wide-angle lens. For most videos with action or multiple subjects in it this seems fine, but if you want to take a ‘selfie’ video, the slight distortion can look a bit odd.
Anyone who runs a YouTube channel might not like the curved effect that shows up in the video. There’s also no way to change the aperture or shutter speed apart from choosing one of the in-built presets to indicate what kind of scene you’re recording. It would have been also great if the Legria mini included a 3.5mm microphone jack to allow for an external mike to be used, but hopefully we’ll see that in the next version of the device.
The Legria mini is a portable and compact video recorder that shoots with some excellent video quality, certainly much better than what would be captured using a tablet or smartphone. It would have been nicer if it included an optical zoom and more freedom with the lens settings, but apart from that it’s a decent product that does what it was designed to do. If you’re a fan of recording videos of yourself for whatever reason or you’re the bold intrepid explorer shooting home-videos of the great outdoors, then this might be just the ticket for you. Just be aware that the fisheye effect might not appeal to all your viewers.
+ Excellent image and video quality
+ Numerous shooting modes
+ Lightweight and portable
- Fisheye effect isn't always suitable
- No lens tweaks
A former IT & Marketing Manager turned full time Editor, Nick enjoys playing videogames during work hours and tinkering with the latest gadgets.
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