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Canon's Vixia Camcorder
Canon has been exciting the market lately with one of its newest releases: the Canon Vixia HFS10 (sells for around $1,000 online). For the higher-end consumer, this model is promising a lot of improved and new features. The question, however, is this Canon worth the over $1,000 price tag? It just might be.
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Lens and PixelsRating
When a consumer walks up to the camcorder, they are drawn to the size of the lens barrel. It is very large. While the barrel makes the lens look enormous, the lens is, while still bigger than most models in this price range, fairly normal in size. The focal range is pretty impressive for a compact camcorder: 6.4 to 64 mm. The aperature is a little low, however: 1.8 to 3.0. Even with the bigger barrel, the camcorder feels good in your hand. It feels stable, and it's light at 15.9 ounces. Its dimensions are 2.8 inches wide by 2.7 inches high by 5.4 inches deep.
The pixel count is also quite impressive. At 8.5 megapixels, it makes the 3.3 megapixels of only a year ago seem tiny. Canon has also expanded the size of its CMOS sensor. It is now 1/2.6, which is much larger than the standard 1/3.2 on most camcorders. You can also take still pictures at 6 megapixels while filming or up to 8 megapixels when not filming.
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The LCD screen is quite impressive at 2.7 inches and 211,000 pixel resolution. It comes with the standard four buttons on it: display on and off, battery release switch and the SD/SDHC card slot. But, there's also a new feature here: the Video Snapshot feature, which allows you to see highlights of your footage.
Canon has also introduced a few features with the release of the HFS10. They are the dial and Custom Button. These buttons allow you to control Exposure, Focus, Assist Function Mic Level and AGC Limiter. This should make a consumer's life much easier.
This model comes with a built-in microphone that sits near the top of the barrel while the two mini microphone jacks sit below this mic on either side of the lens barrel. You can add an external microphone specifically made for Canon here. The battery cavity has the ability to hold expanded battery packs as they become available.
Battery life is pretty impressive. When recording in LP, you can take over 12 hours of video on one charge. While that drops down to around 3 hours on the 1920 x 1080 Full HD Recording setting, that's still not bad considering how much memory that setting draws.
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Canon has improved its design on this model. Oftentimes, Canon sacrifices design when trying to pile on as many features as possible. But, this model isn't too bad. The HFS10 comes with a nicely padded hand strap for long hours of recording. It's very thick and hugs the hand perfectly.
The only issue with the hand strap has to do with what's underneath it. Canon has placed the access to the component-out, USB and HDMI under the strap. The only good thing is that you won't need these while you're out in the field. You only need them when you go to download and edit your footage.
The only thing that was a really big disappointment was the zoom toggle button. Canon has been having issues with the zoom toggle for years, and here the problems persist. It feels inferior to most toggle buttons, but it was at least responsive to touch.
The camcorder also comes with some standard white balance settings:
- Flourescent/Flourescent H
While these aren't anything to write home about, they'll do the job. It's definitely a plus to have a manual white balance setting since the auto settings usually don't do the job in difficult lighting.
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Bang for the BuckRating
The Canon Vixia HF S10 is causing a lot of excitement. It's shaping up to be one of the best camcorders on the market, especially for consumers looking for more professional-looking videos. It's got a nice body, and it's well worth the money. If you want a few extra features, you can go for the Vixia HF G10. It's a few hundred dollars more, but you probably won't notice a huge difference between it and the HF S10.
Amateurs and advanced videographers will love the usability and features of this camcorder. Enjoy!