I am just back from a 3 weeks trip in the high Himalayas.
Besides my cameras I had with me a newly released Canon HF10:
- Full HD,
- Flash based (a must requirement for altitudes above 10.000 feet) with 16GB built in (2 hours in max quality H.264) and a SD port for additional memory (I had a 16GB x6 Transcent card in),
- Image stabilization,
- Less than 1000 US$,
- 450 gr with battery
I am very happy about this little guy:
- Very nice image quality,
- OK ergonomics even if the joystick is a little bit too small and the exposure compensation should be easier to access. Besides for the joystick, the main functions are basically usable with light gloves (Mammut windstoppers),
- Compact and light,
- Infinite DoF (probably obvious),
- Screen remains reasonnably readable in bright day light with Cat 4 polarized Glacier sunglasses (tried up to 16.000 feet). It is however a bit hard to estimate the correct exposure for high contrast scenes.
The downsides being:
- No live histogram,
- No AF control (or very difficult to use),
- The wide angle is not really wide enough,
- Some strange behaviours with exposure after dialing in some exposure compensation (could be user error),
- The IS works OK, but hand held shooting is a challenge beyond the first 1/3 rd of the zoom range. Images are usable, but it is real hard to keep a stable framing line,
- Noisy in low light levels (wasn't a real problem for me for landscape).
All in all, this is clearly a consumer tool and the degree of control is very limited compared to the single frame pro cameras I used to working with, but the achievable image quality is simply amazing. Frankly speaking, I could see no difference between some of the scenes and those I shot with a 7000 US$ Canon pro line full HD camera a few months back.