Video review: Canon Legria Mini X

Handheld recorders

The Mini X for video

Close up or "normal" angle of view from the Canon Legria Mini X
Close up or “normal” angle of view from the Canon Legria Mini X

The Mini X, then, takes the “selfie cam” idea developed by mobile phone users and puts it in a tailor-made package.

The recorder has a rotatable screen which can face an operator behind the camera, in the conventional way, or be turned so it sits above the lens, for video blogging, selfies or, in broadcast terms, pieces to camera. The Mini X also has WiFi remote control, via a smartphone, and can even stream video directly over an Internet connection. It’s also possible to control the Canon Camera Pan Table CT-V1 accessory with the app, making the Mini X a budget robotic camera.

A wide angle of view from the Canon Legria Mini X
A wide angle of view from the Canon Legria Mini X

A fixed focus system makes for sharp video; another simple, but useful touch is the built-in stand for putting the Mini X on a table top or other surface.

This is great for lecture and meeting recording, and does away with the need to carry a tripod, though sensibly Canon has kept a tripod mount on the recorder anyway. You can even invert the image, for example if you want to hook the recorder up to a lighting stand above the subject. This adds up to a very versatile package.

When it comes to video recording specs, the LEGRIA Mini X uses AVCHD 2.0, or MP4 to an SD card, although there is also an HDMI output.

The camera’s fixed lens is at the front of the unit, with a 150-degree field of view in AVCHD, and up to 170 degrees maximum, for still images. As on GoPro action cameras, the angle of view can be set to standard or wide. Wide captures more of the action, but introduces noticeable distortion in the form of a semi-fish eye effect (see our sample video for how this works.).

The lens itself has an aperture of f2.8 lens, and this is coupled to 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor, similar to many consumer camcorders. Canon states that focus is from 40cm to infinity, but there is no AF: focus is fixed. Of course, this also means no control over focus points, or over depth of field.

The lens is at the front of the unit, with a 150-degree field of view

These are not specifications that would excite owners of pro camcorders, but they outpace those of webcams and, of course smartphones; and it may be the latter that Canon was really targeting with the Mini X.

But the main point of this device is, perhaps, its audio capabilities.

Next: Audio recording