The Canon HV10 is a powerful digital camcorder that's capable of shooting impressive high definition video and taking excellent still images. The Canon HV10 HD Camcorder compact, lightweight and loaded with customisation options that give you plenty of control over your movie.

However, the Canon HV10 HD Camcorder is far from perfect. Aspiring filmmakers may find that the HV10's brilliant image quality doesn't compensate for its flaws: an irritating design, a short battery life and a lack of a microphone or headphone jack.

Design and usability

The first problem that you're likely to notice is that the Canon HV10 HD Camcorder's microphone is located on the back of the camcorder, right above its viewfinder. This is an unconventional location for a microphone, and in our tests the audio we recorded sounded as though it was recorded at quite a distance. The placement of this microphone might be useful for recording voiceovers while shooting documentary-style films, but then again, voiceovers are typically recorded in post-production.

In addition to the audio problem, the Canon HV10 HD Camcorder is missing a key feature found on most camcorders in its price range: a microphone jack. This is a questionable omission: if you're willing to pay upwards of £600 for a camcorder, you'll want to use an external microphone to record high-quality audio. Furthermore, the Canon HV10 HD Camcorder lacks a headphone jack, depriving you of the ability to monitor your audio.

The Canon HV10 HD Camcorder's awkward design makes it uncomfortable to grip and difficult to use. The zoom tab is located near the camera lens; this forces you to use your middle or ring finger to press it. The three buttons on the back of the camera - for changing focus, exposure or function settings - are very small and hard to press.

On the plus side, the Canon HV10 HD Camcorder offers a convenient two-directional tab for navigating through its menu. This tab is located near the record button, so it's easy to press it with your thumb, which helps to minimise camera shake. Using this tab, you can choose from a number of controls to adjust your image, such as white-balance adjustment, image effects, aperture settings, and scene modes.