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Canon VIXIA HF R21 Worth Every Dime

written by: Vincent Frogameni•edited by: Shawn S. Lealos•updated: 6/29/2011
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The Canon VIXIA HF R21 is one of the best HD compact camcorders to hit the market. Find out what this camera is packing for a punch as we review the features, design, and picture quality.

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    There are a ton of compact camcorders on the market at the moment, but it is hard to find one that is actually worth the money. The Canon VIXIA HF R21 is one of the few compact camcorders, which does not sacrifice its quality to be the smallest camera on available. Canon has always been a trusted source when it comes to selling superior recording equipment, and this camera follows Canon’s tradition. The VIXIA HF R21 is replacing the original R11, but still does not stand out as an innovative compact camera.

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    Design

    Rating Average

    The R21 looks almost identical to its predecessor the R11. There is no reason that Canon should have changed the design of theCanon VIXIA HF R21  R21 because their original design was perfect. The camera is lightweight and has an excellent grip so that you do not lose your hold on the camera during filming. Out of the M-Series model’s, the VIXIA HF R21 is easily the lightest camera that I have held. Making the camera lightweight was a great decision by Canon since this camera is focused more towards people whom are traveling.

    Having a decent sized display is crucial to users trying to view their film right after they have recorded it. Luckily for users that love compact camcorders will be happy when they get their hands on the R21, because the camcorder comes equip with a 3-inch LCD screen. A lot of the buttons that may have been originally found on Canon cameras are no longer existent. The company is trying to convert all of its users over to using touch-screen displays. In this case it works really well and keeps the design nice and clean with no buttons.

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    Features

    Rating Average

    Canon’s first decision was to make the size of the screen bigger by putting a 3-inch LCD on the camera. When they decided to add this new screen, the team decided it would be smart to improve the quality of the camcorder. The Full HD CMOS Image Sensor helps the camera record HD almost flawlessly. Pictures and video can be shot in 1920 x 1080 by using a 3.2 megapixel sensor. After a user is done shooting video and taking pictures they can then view them on any HDTV by using an HDMI cable. The pictures and video can be viewed in 1080p from a camcorder, and the VIXIA HF R21 is one of the few cameras that accomplish that task to this date.

    Unlike Canon’s earlier M-Series cameras, the R21 has an advanced zoom features coming in at 28x optical zoom. When the camera is viewed all the way out it usually makes the film or photo seem as if it is being a little shaky. There is however a Dynamic IS system which makes all of the shaking and trembles almost nonexistent. The R21 comes has an option to add up to a 32GB flash memory card, which is more than enough if you are just using the camera for small videos and photos. If you plan on shooting a video that may be more than 4 hours long then you will need a few flash memory cards to store your info.

    There is an Advanced Snap-Shot feature which allows users to take a photo and have it shown to them accompanied with music. This makes all of your pictures into film clips so that you can view them in a slideshow type display. Face detection technology is also a great addition to any camera. Having this detection technology may be a buying point for some because they use the camera for traveling and taking family photos.

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    Video/Photo Quality

    Rating Average

    Video and photo quality are the main two features always being looked into when a photography buff is shopping for a new camera/camcorder. Luckily, in the VIXIA HF R21’s case, the picture and video quality are extremely impressive. This camcorder is able to record photos and video in 1080p, and be viewed on 1080p HDTV’s. Autofocus allows users to never have a bad shot, or even worry about focusing the camera before using it, which leads to a quality outcome. The fastest that this camera can shoot a video is at 30 frames per second. This is not the greatest FPS that I have ever seen, but it is far from the worst, but video still comes in crystal clear and crisp even with a normal FPS rate of 30.

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    Final Verdict

    Rating Average

    My final verdict is to buy this camera if you are a fan of compact camcorders. The VIXIA HF R21 is an excellent choice made by a company whom does not release anything but the best product at all times. Although the price tag is steep coming in at $499 I would personally say it is worth every penny. I have used this camera at an event earlier this year and would have to say I love the feel of the R21, but it is the same feel that I fell in love with, originally, the R11. Give this camera a look it will not be a waste of your time.

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    References

    Sources:

    Tested the camera at an event.

    User Manual

    Pictures:

    Picture #1 by Dennis Vu