One step down from the flagship HF-G30 is the Legria HF-G25 (also known as the Vixia HF-G20 in the USA), launched at the US Consumer Electronics Show in early 2013.

Featuring a native 1920 x 1080 Full HD sensor, a 10x optical zoom lens, 32GB of built-in memory as well as dual SDXC/SDHC memory slots, microphone & headphone sockets and a variety of manual controls, the G25 is a capable piece of kit which can work for almost any situation.

Canon HF-G25
Canon HF-G25

But despite its novelty, there are in fact only two differences from the prior model, the G10: a claimed 20% improvement in low-light capabilties and an improved lens hood design with an integrated flip-down lens protector.

Canon HF-G25 lens hood
Canon HF-G25 lens hood

Compared to many modern point-and-shoot camcorders, it’s quite chunky in the hands (though anyone who recalls the older generation of bulky DV tape cams might laugh at such a description!) but this gives it a solidity and weight which is quite reassuring. A manual lens ring with a decent feel to it crowns the front of the device, and a small but accessible thumbwheel on the back provides additional manual functionality, configurable from a handful of options.

Canon HF-G25 control dial
Canon HF-G25 control dial

You can watch our editor’s first look at the camcorder here:

In use, the auto mode proves to be perfectly capable, with generally swift and accurate autofocus and decent exposure. The danger of auto is more apparent in lower light situations of course, where image quality will degrade and the camcorder will attempt to compensate by adding in bucketloads of electronic gain which adds noise, and, perhaps, a slower shutter speed which can lead to a blurring effect.

Better then, to switch the camera to manual using a slide switch on the back of the unit. In this mode it can still operate almost fully autonomously but you have the choice of taking over control should you so wish, for essentials such as iris, shutter and gain, as well as white balance, audio recording levels and focus.

Focus is achieved easily using the lens ring, with the camera providing both “focus assist” (which zooms part of the image on the screen so you can better see what you’re focusing on) and peaking (which surrounds items in focus with a red line, thus anything so marked can be taken as being in focus).

Unfortunately, the focus assist doesn’t operate during recording so if you need to recheck your focus or you change subject, you either have to guess or stop recording while you reset. Sadly, the peaking is either on all the time or off, it cannot be set to come on only when adjusting focus such as in tandem with the focus assist. It makes you wonder whether any camera operators actually had input into the design or whether the engineers were left to their own devices…

Exposure can be easily controlled via the control dial on the back, with electronic ND (neutral density) filters automatically coming into effect above F4, to stop down the light entering the camcorder and keep the iris at its sweet spot. Tools to assist include zebra lines switchable from 70% to 100% and a waveform monitor. Irritatingly again, those tools don’t appear on screen automatically as you adjust the exposure; you have to go into touchscreen menus to switch them on, which is frustratingly slow and infurirating. It surely wouldn’t take much of a software update to have the option for all these very useful focus and exposure tools to appear at the point of adjustment (just like the focus assist already does)?

Using the menus also highlights this camera’s other main flaw, it’s resistive touchscreen which is hopelessly awkward in its response, requiring a firm thumb or finger push to operate rather than the slick touch we have all become used to on contemporary mobile phones (the new G30 has a capacitive OLED screen which is far superior – at a price)

The video recording fomat is AVCHD up to 24Mbps or as low as 5Mbps which provides something like 12 hours recording time on the inbuilt memory. Although a 25p mode is included for that “film look”, it’s saved as an interlaced file so your editing software will need to understand what it’s looking at. No 50p mode is available, just the television-standard 50i. For creating DVDs and viewing on TV it’s perfectly fine then, and in fact, by the time a video has gone through an edit, output render, encode by YouTube, and display on who knows what kind of screen at the viewer’s end, de-interlaced 1080 50i looks perfectly fine to us too, so we wouldn’t worry too much about 50p unless you’re keen on doing lots of slow-motion filming for which it can be helpful.

Stereo audio is provided by two built-in microphones just behind the lens. Inside they’re OK but outside they need a fluffy wind jammer despite a menu setting to reduce the effects of wind noise. An external mic can be plugged in via the 3.5mm jack socket but take note that this socket does NOT provide so-called “plug in power” so only self-powered microphones will work. Also, the automatic mic settings are terrible and should immediately be switched off as a decent sound can be recorded if you muck about with the menus, as shown in this video:

Stabilisation on the camcorder is decent, with three levels of capability (standard, dynamic and powered) each of which is targeted at a different type of use. And the 10x optical zoom provides reasonable reach. Beware the menu option for 40x and 200x digital zooms though which do truly terrible things to the image and were a waste of Canon’s time to include, as demonstrated below:

One other irritation of the camcorder is its proprietary shoe design which Canon labels “Mini Advanced Shoe”. It is advanced in the sense that certain Canon accessories such as the DM-100 shotgun microphone plug directly into it so you don’t need to have a dangling wire going to the mic input but it’s not advanced in the sense that it’s a non-standard size so if you want to mount any other accessories to the top of the camcorder, you’ll need an adapter. Fortunately, these are relatively cheap.

Canon HF-G25 mini shoe
Canon HF-G25 mini shoe with adapter to make it actually useful

In summary
The Canon Legria HF-G25 is capable of excellent images and has decent manual controls. It is not without flaws however and in terms of pure technology it is left behind by the likes of Panasonic’s x920 which boasts better image stabilisation, WiFi for remote control and live streaming, and 50p recording. Whilst the HF-G30 addresses those technology issues, it does so at a substantial price premium to the G25. If WiFi and 50p are not vital to you however, and you have a liking for Canon gear, then the G25 is a fine purchase.

You can buy the HF-G25 via this link: which is our Amazon UK affiliate; in other words we’ll get a few quid commission and will be forever in your debt (no, not literally). Should you prefer to flash the cash, the HF-G30 is available here:

You can watch our entire, 13 video sequence about the G25, on YouTube here:

82 thought on “Review: Canon Legria HF G25 (Vixia HF G20)”
  1. Really disappointed with my new Legria. The software does not work properly on both my computers and it is impossible to download video clips. I have spent hours trying to change them to avi. I will be using my old Hitachi for the family wedding. It is so much easier to use and takes great video and stills. Don’ waste your money on it!

  2. Thanks for the message. I think your comment is a little harsh though. It’s a terrific camcorder with great pictures and your problem seems to be with the software. Don’t give up! I have not used any of the Canon-supplied software myself; I use Sony Vegas to edit and it brings in the files with no problems and converts them to any format. Most of the major editing software packages are available in “consumer” forms if price is an issue eg Premiere Elements, Vegas Movie Studio. There are also lots of free file format converters around which could help you out. Best of luck.

    1. Stunning camera, it worked fantastic from day 1. Unfortunately there is no training from Canon on this video camera which is very disappointing. I have only used it on AUTO since the day I bought it and it has never disappointed me with results, but only works good in proper daylight. I am looking at your videos to give me a guideline on how to use the other features, as I know nothing about photography but I will find out. I am using Corel Video Studio ProX5 and (Pinnacle Studio 15 (boring )) and also Adobe Photoshop Elements which is ok, but I want to get Sony Vegas. I have never used the Canon software either. I stick the camera cable in my computer and download all my movies through explorer.

    2. Thank you very much for your valuable and interesting review. Like Pam,I too have had problems with the Video Browser (Pixela) software supplied with my Canon Legria HF G25. It freezes up a few moments after launching and I unable to transfer video files to my pc,via the usb these camcorders utilise;and I have it for a couple of weeks now! As far as I can make out from the Pixela manual my OS is compatible (Windows Vista,Service Pack 2) and a re-install didn’t help. Canon told me they did not have the details of the software and Pixela don’t provide an email or uk telephone number. You say you use Sony Vegas to edit and bring in files;but I downloaded the manual for the latest version from the Sony website,and it says it needs a firewire! As far as I can make out the only way the Sony software can import via a usb is via an old Dvd type camcorder…and you have to uninstall the dvd driver supplied,first! Furthermore,according to the Sony Vegas website,their software does not support usb for importing video. I would have liked to have tried out the free trial download of the latest version,which is apparently,no longer referred to as Vega,but unfortunately it is not compatible with Vista!

      Best wishes!

      1. No, you have misunderstood the Sony information. It only uses Firewire to import old style DV or HDV video from those types of camorder. Modern AVCHD or similar camcorders plug into the PC via USB (or just take the memory card out and put it into the PC) and Vegas imports the files quite happily using its Device Explorer window. I use it all the time! Vegas can also import the old DVD discs but it’s not limited to just those types. It imports almost anything. Not sure where you read about it not supporting USB on their website. The latest version of Vegas is still called Vegas (Vegas Pro 13). It requires Windows 7 or later.

  3. I got this camera on the strength of your review clips, coming from a stills photography background I have a good understanding of manual controls and find this camera to be easy to use and record very good results.
    All of your findings in my opinion have been intuitive and bang on the money – thank you.

    I have no experience with audio although I have adjusted the levels as you posted and picked up a Lav mic and a half decent shotgun. I for one would be very interested to see an Audio workshop for techniques and applications recording audio on location as I will be documenting a round the world trip by motorcycle.

    I record onto SD card and use a card reader to transfer to the laptop, the comments of Pam are unfounded and as you say harsh.

    1. Hi Paul; very pleased to hear you found the review helpful. I’ll bear in mind your suggestion of an audio workshop, sounds like a good idea.

      Your trip sounds amazing! Good luck.

  4. Great series of reviews, thank you very much. Not taken the plunge yet, but does it record using h.264, and is it a 4.2.0 colour space? Is there any way to record a “flat” image (eg like the 550D picture styles)? Looking forward to your next installments – very well done.


  5. Yes, the recording format is AVCHD, the codec for which is H.264 and it is in 4:2:0.

    The amount of image adjustment that can be done is pretty minor really; you can adjust colour depth, brightness, contrast and sharpness but only by a fraction.

    I think the idea is that most people buying a consumer camcorder are unlikely to do much in the way of colour grading so they’re designed with a certain degree of saturation etc from the outset.

  6. Really first class review of the Canon G25. It’s the first time I have seen one of your reviews. You certainly covered just about everything that a prospective buyer could want to know. I was pleased to note your views on the comparison to the Pan HC-X920 which is of course somewhat cheaper. (Interestingly my main camera is the Sony Z5). Thanks a lot.

    1. Thank you for your kind compliment, it’s much appreciated. I use a Z5 almost every day; great camera albeit getting a little old now.

  7. Hi, Ive just purchased this camcorder, However I’m finding it nigh on impossible to use an external XLR mic with it, Im using an XLR to 3.5mm cable plugged into a shure sm57 mic, is it best to get an XLR adaptor and if so which type, or will it simply be easier to upgrade to the XA 10 with XLR inputs built in .
    Thanks, Jay

    1. Hello Jay,

      It is certainly possible to use an XLR mic without an adapter (though it is also not preferable). Can you be more specific about what the problem is – you say it’s “nigh on impossible” but what actually happens? Do you get any sound at all?


  8. Hi. Does this model or any other Legria HF G series shoot in 4:3 mode? Does not matter if it is SD or HD. And can it be plugged to a multi-camera mixer for live broadcast?


  9. Thanks admin for the info.

    I need a switchable (4×3 and 16×9) hd prosumer camcorder. Any suggestions?

    Thanks & regards

  10. I just bought this Camcorder in Dallas, it is a wonderful buy, but now I have a problem with setting it up to record video to SD Card. It remains on the default internal memory no matter what I do. It does not have the option to set video to SD Card, (Only Photos) Is it because of the type of SD card I put? (Micro SDHC 32gb Sandisk Ultra, with a Sandisk SD adapter.) If it is that: what is the best type of SD card to use with the camcorder?

    1. Hi. It occurs to me that you might have the camcorder in playback mode rather than record mode (there’s a switch on the inside panel that toggles this)? If so, there’s a note in the manual that says “Only Rec Media for Photos is available from the date index screen or gallery” so perhaps that’s what you’re looking at. Make sure the camcorder is in Filming mode not playback.

      Also, ensure that it’s set to Manual (not Auto) else you won’t get the Function menu to select the card options.

    1. This camera will make videos so by that definition it will “do the job in filming” yes. Without more information about how you wish to use the camera and what kind of films you want to make, I can’t give you any more specific answer!

      1. Hi , I bought this camera last year with the purpose of making short films, but then I changed my mind for not getting a DSLR, because of the look, do you guys think this camera was designed for making films, or just home videos?
        Should I stick with my camera? Or get a DSLR?

        1. Really, ANY camera “can” be used to make a film, from a mobile phone to an Arri Alexa. It’s all about the storytelling, direction and artistic flair that make a film a good one, not what camera it was shot on. Having said that there are certain effects you can do with a DSLR (shallow depth of field, good low-light shots) that you can’t do with a camcorder, and there are things you can do with a camcorder (better stabilisation for handheld shots, deep depth of field for when you want lots of things in focus) than you can’t with a DSLR. I wouldn’t worry too much about whether you have the right camera – just start shooting and concentrate your efforts on the shots, the story and the edit. Good luck,

          1. Hi. Thanks a lot for the advice. You’re right I’m worrying too much, I should concentrate more on my story. and my movie in general, I think I’ll stick to my camera and do the best I can with it. Thank you.

  11. Hi, like your earlier correspondent I am also having trouble trying to record video on to an SD card (Sandisk Extreme 32gb). I have initialised the card as per the instructions ok but I cannot access the menu in order to select the card for videoing on. When. I open the record screen and press the FUNC button I get 6 boxes – AUDIO, ZOOM, Story Creator, IS, Decoration and Video Snapshot. From reading the manual. I should be able to access the menu after pressing FUNC but this doesn’t happen. Any suggestions please ?
    Thanks for the video tutorials, they persuaded me to buy the HF G25 – very helpful!

    1. Hi Peter, and apologies for the delayed reply. Hmm, I wonder, do you have the camcorder in Auto mode? You cannot access the setup menus (for card configuration) in Auto (in the UK manual this is on Page 29). You must set it to Manual, configure the card, then set it back to Auto (if indeed you wish to shoot in Auto mode). Hope this helps.

  12. Thanks for the thorough analysis of the Legria, it was a big influencer when I was deciding what to buy earlier this year.
    I’m having a problem though with moving the video clips I’ve taken across to SD cards I put in the camera – the clips are on the onboard memory and there are options for moving them to either SD card in the edit menu, but those options are greyed out. I’m not sure why? The manual does not seem to cover it correctly.
    Sometimes I’d rather just transport footage across via SD rather than carry extra wires with me – and today in fact I need to send the footage and don’t have any wires on me, so this is a bit frustrating. I realise I could have set it to record to SD in the beginning but didn’t, and given there seems to be a menu option for just moving it that shouldn’t be such an issue. Any ideas?

    1. Hi Alexandra. I’ve got a handful of suggestions to try:

      1) Did you initialise the SD card within the camcorder? If not, it may not see the card correctly which is why it may not give you the copying option.
      2) The SD card must be in Slot B, not Slot A for the copy to work.
      3) Is the SD card write-protected? (the little tab on the end of the card slid across to prevent writing?)
      4) Are you in Playback mode on the camcorder?

      Let me know if this helps!
      Good luck.

      1. Thanks so much for the swift reply, sorry has taken me a while to get back to you. Noted re Slot B (though I did try both), and points 3 and 4 are things I checked, so your first thought may well be the problem. A little frustrating but makes sense – have ordered a new SD card to be a dedicated Legria one (easier than finding new space for the contents of my others!) and will let you know how I get on!

    1. In short, no. South Africa uses the PAL standard and US television is NTSC so the output of a South African camcorder for playback on a telly would not be understood by a US TV.

      However, many television sets these days are built to decode multiple TV standards (eg here in the UK you can get PAL TVs which nonetheless will replay an NTSC DVD for example).

      So it could be that, depending on the exact TV set you plugged the camcorder into, it *might* work. But it would not be guaranteed.

    1. Have you read the query and reply to Alexandra (further up the comments, dated August 12) – those suggestions may be of help.

  13. Hi, I love this camcorder for day time shoots and any well lit hall or other venue. However when I need to use in low light, let’s say disco, family party etc.. I was picking up some really grainy imagery on manual mode and was wondering if someone could post a list of settings I should use.

    I tried cinema standard mode and seems to be a lot better with blacks, no major blue flecks but certainly not as clear and defined an image.

    I use led camera mounted lights when I have too, which obviously works well but don’t want to blind people all night.

    Any thoughts or suggestions will be well received.

    Lists of settings would be great to flick between day and night shoots.

  14. Hi, I am looking to purchase a camcorder to make corporate videos mainly to be uploaded to YouTube. I am looking for something with premium sound quality and after reading reviews think the Legria might be suitable for the job. What do you think? Do you have any suggestions?

    1. Hello. Without more information about exactly what you want to shoot, in what environments, what your skill level is and your budget, I can’t give you much help. I recommend watching our video about choosing a camcorder, at and considering the issues it raises.

      Having said that, the Legria HFG25 does have a 3.5mm microphone input and headphone socket plus manual audio level controls so in that respect it IS better than many other consumer camcorders in that you can plug in an external mic rather than using the (always useless) built-in mics.

      But you say you want “premium” sound quality in which case you really want professional “balanced” audio inputs rather than the unbalanced ones found on consumer-grade camcorders.

      The difference is that unbalanced audio can pick up electrical noises and interference from the microphone cable whilst unbalanced, on the whole, filters this out. Please watch our explanatory video at

      So given that you’ve specifically requested “premium” sound quality, you either need to be looking higher-end than the Legria (perhaps the Canon XA10 or the newer XA20, or Panasonic’s AG-AC90), or buying one of the XLR adapters mentioned in the video to plug into the Legria.

  15. Hi,
    Does the Canon Legria HF G25 record in MP4, as I need to do this to process videos on my tablet and review them. Or is there no setting with this camera and only the R-Series has this option?

    1. It records AVCHD (as .mts files I seem to recall). If you want an .mp4 file format, you’d need the HF-G30

  16. Great job on this review and videos.

    What’s your take on the remote mic system for the HF G20? Canon sells a set up for this camera but not sure if it is any good???

    I record classical concerts and will be making high quality CDs and DVDs for sale. Does the remote mic record well? I need to minimize distortion at varying dynamic levels during operatic singing and still capture clear subtle notes during sections of soft phasing.

    Also, .mp4 files can be made from the .mts files by using free converter software available online.

    Thanks again for all your help.

    1. Of course, any file can be converted into any other format using appropriate software. There is a risk that, depending on the conversion, it will require a recompression phase in which case there is a quality loss although mere file re-wrapping does not incur this hit.

      Regarding the mic, unfortunately we’ve never tested it but would suggest that it’s almost certainly not sufficiently capable for your application which really requires “proper” mics ie pro-spec, balanced audio high quality mics, ideally wired not wireless to avoid compression and noise in the transmission process.

  17. Thanks for the feedback on this. Sounds like I need to spend the big ($) denero and/or hire professionals to take over. I was hoping for an economical solution with the G20 and external mics. What mics specifically do you recommend that will produce a clean/ natural sound that will give me something of quality to work with in editing? As a first year start-up, we are working with a small budget and I also see a huge learning curve ahead. Any other advice or videos you know of that address this topic?

    1. It’s a massive topic. All thoughts of video aside (which, to be done properly, probably involves more than one camera and not consumer-grade camcorders either), merely recording classical audio is a stupendous undertaking. In part it depends on the venue, in part on the size of the ensemble, in part on the instruments / vocals etc etc.

      It is perfectly possible to record orchestras using a single stereo mic positioned from the perspective of an audience member; equally you can choose to dangle several mics of different types over different sections. Truly not something for a novice, especially if you’re intending to sell the result as anything other than an amateur production. Sorry!

      That said, you could simply try the Rode Stereo Videomic X which has a great sound and will plug into your Canon. You can’t move the camcorder then during the performance as that would effect the mic pick up. And you don’t want the mic to be placed away from the camcorder as the Canon has only unbalanced audio so you must keep the cables very, very short.

      Like I said – minefield…

  18. Great review its a great camcorder easy to use with great results.

    One questions, i’ve been trying to find a Lanc Controller for the HF G25 but the ones I have found for Canon / Sony say they are not compatible any ideas?

    1. Hmmm, well we sold our HF-G25 a long time ago but do still have an XA20 in house (which is essentially an HF-G30 with an audio handle on it) and that works with a Manfrotto 521 that we have. It *should* (touch wood) be the same on the G25, I’d have thought.

  19. Thanks for your reviews, I have bought the G25 for recording live music events in a small venue. I will be close up and we have good LED lighting.
    I have spent some time studying all your excellent videos and have learned a lot. Some test shooting of an outdoor gig highlighted the audio issue so it was great to find your audio level adjustment video. Luckily the audio I record will only be used for sync purposes as the band audio is recorded on the audio desk and the mixed, but I still don’t want it clipping and compressed.
    We have 5 cameras video to mix from, but I am sure this camera will start a chain of upgrades.
    I intend to use manual exposure with auto focus and facial tracking and think this will work well. Shutter at 1/50.
    Thanks again for the masterclass. Chris

    1. Sounds like you’ve got it all sorted there – nice setup. My only concern would be that in a venue of varying dark / lightness such as a music space, relying on the face recognition and indeed the auto-focus at all may not work as it can get confused and “hunt” for focus if the lighting isn’t ideal.

      If you’re locking off some of the cameras at fixed points then you’d be better setting focus manually before you begin (and since the cameras are locked off, it won’t change during the show). For a handheld camera going up close, if you set focus manually and then keep the zoom *fully* wide (must be full wide) then your depth of field will be pretty much infinite ie everything will stay in focus regardless of where you are.

  20. Thanks for the reply and advice. Tonight is the first proper test for me with this camera, I am in at the sound check to set up so I have time to see how auto focus manages under our lighting. I can also have a play with the support act.
    Sasha McVeigh is playing at The Little Rabbit Barn Essex UK (Not a plug, it’s sold out)

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