The Canon HF100E is a well equipped AVCHD camcorder, although we are disappointed by the lack of an electronic viewfinder or a manual focus ring.
This is made up for by the Canon HF100E's array of Program AE modes including Sports and Portrait, and by several digital effects options that enable you to adjust the colour depth, sharpening and skintones.
The Canon HF100E is admirably easy to use, too, with all the functions you need within easy reach. The zoom lever, still photo button and video record button are all placed exactly where you'd expect.
The Canon HF100E nestles nicely in your palm and you're unlikely to suffer from hand cramp with extended shooting. Canon's build quality is excellent and in this sense our only quibble is over the placement of the USB, mini HDMI and other sockets.
The HF100E is occasionally let down by not be able to properly focus on the subject, but in our tests this was usually fixed using the manual focusing options offered within the onscreen menus.
When it comes to picture quality, the Canon HF100E excels. Our mixture of outdoor and indoor footage served up lashings of detail and very natural colours. The Cinema mode is particularly pleasing.
It's very easy to transfer the footage from camcorder to video editor. Sound quality is more of a mixed bag as the Canon HF100E has neither a zoom microphone for close-ups or Dolby Digital 5.1.
Despite this, the £599 Canon HF10E is our top choice of HD camcorder.
We can't argue with the Canon HF100E's build quality or the resulting images and we like the bright LCD that makes it easier to see what you are shooting in bright outdoor conditions. The cinema mode and digital effects impress us too. We wish Canon hadn't gone for a proprietary accessory shoe, though, and we missed having a focus ring and electronic viewfinder.