Owners of the HF10, who are thinking about upgrading to the 11 model may want to keep their powder dry as the HG11 only represents the next step in the HF line and not an improvement that would warrant ponying up another $800-1000 for what amounts to a "dot" upgrade. If, however, users are new to the flash based camcorder market, the HF11 sports a solid collection of features and options that would make any videophile want to take it for a spin.
Over its older brother, the HF11 has bumped up its internal memory storage capacity to 32GB. It also comes shipped with an 8GB flash card to play with. That's a total of 40GB of recording capacity, which is a nice feature if one is out for the day and doesn't have spare memory cards in their pocket. Additionally, recording quality has improved to 24MBps, giving it about 3 hours of recording time on board, and up to about 12 ½ hours at its lowest resolution setting of 5MBPs. Having an additional 12MBps recording capability would be nice, but it's doubtful that existing HF10 owners will even see the difference unless they own a 120Hz HDTV, and even then the differences would only be marginal.
Lens wise, the HF11 has the same lens as its older brother, even the aperture is the same. So there's nothing to get excited about there if you already own the HF10. But still, considering that most lenses in the flash video class are 2x shorter, the HF11 sports an advantage in focal length. Additionally, the focus capability of the HF11 is rock solid, being able to lock onto its subject and keep focus even in low light situations thanks to the image stabilization that not only keeps focus, but prevents a jumpy image even all the way out to the extreme range of its focal length.
Manual controls are nice for those looking to grow beyond the point and shoot mentality of capturing the moment, and the HF11 puts forward options such as both Aperture and Shutter-priority modes. But don't be thinking you'll be making your latest Hollywood blockbuster with it any time soon. But for the viral crowd, these options will give budding directors plenty to play with.
There is some complaint that in high contrast situations, video may suffer from some fringing, but that's only in extreme lighting conditions where one would have to deal with hard core backlighting as the HF11 struggles to keep the subject properly lit while juggling against the strong light streaming into the lens. Its doubtful that any other camera could compete as effectively, and the HF10 would have the same issues. But still, the issue is one to be aware of no matter what camera one is using in a similar situation.
Even though Canon provides for a BP-809 890mAh battery, its lifespan is rather paltry with just under an hour of continuous shooting. One can get frugal but switching the camera on and off or even using manual controls in order to stretch out recording time another half hour, but that still means spares are a must so that one doesn't have to tether the camera to a nearby power socket in order to keep recording a birthday party or having to take an early lunch at an amusement park in order to charge up the battery pack for the afternoon.
Video Quality is about the same as the HF10 as it sports the same 3.3 MB CMOS chip, with the exception that it's MBPS has been bumped up to 24mbps as stated previously. Granted, it can write more information faster onto the memory card, but one has to question as to whether it improves the image in basic lighting conditions or merely fills up storage space quicker to the average eye. Still image quality will be nominal for the snapshot crowd looking for a convergent option so as to not carry around both a still camera and a camcorder, but if one seeks to blow up images beyond 4x6, the effective resolution of 2.76 megapixels will degrade faster than a falling rock—even noticeable in 5x7 enlargements. So make certain that those Kodak moments are recorded in good light to give the still camera the best conditions to record a keeper.
All in all, the HF11 still delivers as fine quality HD video as its older brother the HF10. And if one is looking for their first flash video camera, the HF11 is a great way to pop into the market without having to deal with poor quality video images or having to carry multiple SD cards for an afternoon at the park. But if one is looking to upgrade from the HF10, the HF11 amounts to too little improvement for the price tag.