Has Canon reinvented the video camera? (And did it need reinventing?)
Video cameras tend to look basically the same, but this odd-looking little thing is a video camera too. It’s perhaps an attempt to reinvent the video camera. With a flip-up display that can be folded back on itself to make it easy to shoot ‘selfie’ videos, as well as the ability to pair it with your iPhone, it feels like it might be a video camera for the modern age.
There is a lot to like, too. You can switch it to a super wide-angle mode that, yes, gives a bit of a fisheye bulge to the video, but it’s a useful, fun creative option. The capacitive touchscreen is pretty big – though it’s comparatively lowres, sometimes a little sluggish, and the menu system takes a bit of getting used to.
The two companion iPhone apps – which work by connecting to the Legria mini using an ad-hoc Wi-Fi hotspot it creates – are good. One controls recording, and with the other you can browse the videos and photos on the Legria mini, and pull them across to your iPhone’s Camera Roll, so you can share them or import them into other apps. (Recording in MP4, it also, of course, works with your Mac.)
Audio and video quality are both good. Neither is stunning – indeed, later iPhones produce, on average, better video (though their audio is usually lacklustre) – but both are fine. Video can struggle indoors in low light, but give it a sunny day outside and it looks great. You can also take 12-megapixel photos. There are special effect modes, but these are really only novelties. Switching to half-speed slow-mo drops the resolution to 720p, and the resolution drops to VGA res for quarter-speed, for example.
The Legria mini has no optical zoom, or indeed any focus control (it’s fixed-focus), both of which are definitely missed. You could argue this is a fun camera and if you’re doing selfies and mucking about at the beach and the like, you have less need for zoom and focus, but that brings us to the price; it’s expensive (and arguably too soberly styled) for this kind of toy.
The ergonomics are also peculiar. It’s a little awkward to hold, which suggests all those ‘normally shaped’ cameras are on to something! But we like the Legria mini. It’s a tough sell if you own a recent iPhone, and generally you’d get better quality and more creative control with a regular video capable camera of the same price, but it’s still a great gadget. Christopher Phin
Not the best video camera for everybody – and it’s not cheap – but it’s fun and gives good results.
Easy to shoot selfie videos
Good iPhone companion apps
Quality no better than ‘good’
No optical zoom or focusing
£230 Manufacturer Canon, canon.co.uk
Resolution 12.8 megapixels
Screen 2.7-inch capacitive touch