Monday, August 3, 2009

PlayStation 3 80GB

PlayStation 3 80GB

PlayStation 3 80GB From Sony

Product Description

Includes PlayStation 3 80GB system, Dualshock 3 wireless controller, free PlayStation Network membership, internet ready Wi-Fi, and 80GB of hard disk storage for all your games, music, videos, and photos. Every PS3 comes with a built-in Blu-ray player to give you the best high-definition viewing experience and pristine picture quality. Plus, the PS3 can play your entire catalog of CDs and DVDs.

Product Details

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #39 in Video Games
  • Brand: Sony
  • Model: 711719801504
  • Released on: 2008-08-20
  • ESRB Rating: Everyone
  • Platform: PLAYSTATION 3
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 7.00" h x 17.25" w x 13.75" l, 15.00 pounds


  • Includes PlayStation 3 80 GB system, Dualshock 3 wireless controller, and free PlayStation Network membership
  • Internet ready Wi-Fi
  • 80 GB of hard disk storage for all your games, music, videos, and photos
  • Built-in Blu-ray player to give you the best high-definition viewing experience and pristine picture quality
  • Play your entire catalog of CDs and DVDs

Customer Reviews

Great Configuration, Great Console5
A lot of people have written about the pros and cons of the PS3 vs. XBOX 360 vs. Wii. I'm not bothering with that, and assume you can find that information at elsewhere. I'm also assuming you can read all about why the PS3 would or would not fit your needs.

Instead, I'd like this review to explain what exactly this configuration is (there's a lot of confusion about that,) and why I think it hits the sweet spot. Basically, there are currently 2 versions of the PS3 on the market now. Ignoring the size of the drive for a second (because you can always swap the drive anyway, and it has no real bearing on the rest of the specs) think of them as Version A (currently available - or not as the case may be - in the PlayStation 3 80 GB Metal Gear Solid 4 Pack) and Version B (this one.)

The first thing that you need to understand is that there are three relevant differences between these two versions besides the included bundle and the price (the MGS one is $499 from amazon, more from third parties.)

Difference #1: Version A (MGS pack) is backward compatible with PS2 games while this one is NOT (they are both backward compatible with PS1 games however.)

Difference #2: Version A has 4 USB ports as well as memory card slots, while this version has only 2 USB ports and NO memory card slots.

Difference #3: AND THIS FOR ME IS BIG: Version A has the older and larger 90nm Cell processor, while this one has the smaller (and some say more reliable) 65nm Cell processor. Power consumption on this unit is lower as well, dropping from 200 Watts to 135 watts. The end result is a machine that runs cooler and, according to all reports as well as my personal experience, much quieter. An extremely relevant factor if you watch movies with it.

For those that have been looking for a while, this is basically the 40GB machine that was offered recently, with a larger hard drive and an upgraded controller - they replaced the basic sixaxis controller with the Dualshock 3 controller (which means it has rumble.)

Now Version A is packaged with Metal Gear Solid. It has an 80GB drive like this one, and the same controller. The big differences are listed above. Until this configuration was released, the larger hard drive and Dualshock controller were 2 of the 4 reasons many people felt the MGS pack was worth the additional $100. Those two factors are now eliminated. The remaining differences are the backward compatibility with PS2 games and the MGS game itself, which can of course be bought separately.

So to sum it up, if you NEED PS2 compatibility, you might want to grab the MGS pack if you can get one - that or keep your old PS2. For new buyers though, and for all of the people that are going to just play PS3 games, as well as avid movie watchers, this particular configuration is fantastic. You get the big drive, the good controller, PLUS the cooler running chip, a quieter machine and a system that uses about 33% less power.

And ok - just to satisfy the basic requirements of a review, I'll list some other nice stuff: It includes a Blu-ray DVD player (one of those runs almost as much as, or more than, this entire box), the online play is FREE, wireless connectivity is built in (you don't have to buy an additional piece as with some others), reliability has been quite good (much better than some others), there are some great PS3-only titles, and you can stream media to it from your PC. There's more, but there are plenty of people outlining it.

As always, do your research and see what's best for you. Maybe the 360-only titles are must haves for you, or maybe your family fits a Wii. We have a Wii and I love it. But I also love my PS3, and in my opinion this configuration is the one to get (this month anyway.)

How to make it near-complete4
Necessary disclosure: I do not own this model. I have what used to be a 60GB model, recently upgraded to 320GB - the gold standard.

As compared to the 60GB model:
+ less expensive (I paid $599 for my 60GB PS3)
+ 33% more storage
+ needs less power
+ dual shock controller (rumble)
- no memory card interfaces
- 2 USB ports vs. 4 USB ports on the 60GB
- no PS2 compatibility

This model comes with an 80GB drive. This is nice because, most would agree, 80GB is more than 60GB. If you feel that the extra 20GB is a big deal, maybe you should think again. I upgraded my 60GB to 320GB because I was about to run out of space, with only 10GB or so left. One month or so later, I'm using more than 80GB already - just downloaded the Ratchet and Clank minigame from PSN and it alone needs about 3GB. My advice is to buy this model and upgrade it yourself. It's (relatively) easy and you can find a lot of advice if you Google for it.

If you are on the upgrade path, $80 would buy you a 320GB drive. I used the Western Digital WD3200BEVT 320 GB Scorpio Sata 5400 Rpm 8MB 2.5 inch myself but that was back in June/July and I paid about $150 then; you could get much larger drives for less now. 500GB drives are available for less than $100 and you should try to get one of those if you are planning to store lots of videos. One that I tested would be the Western Digital 500GB Scorpio Blue SATAII 5400RPM 2.5IN 8MB Bulk/OEM Hard Drive WD5000BEVT which replaced my laptop's 60GB little drive and I helped a friend upgrade his own PS3 with. The nice thing about upgrading your disk is that you are also going to be left with a perfectly good 80GB or $160GB drive which you can place into a cheap enclosure, and the StarTech AT2510U2 InfoSafe 2.5-Inch USB/SATA Hard Drive Enclosure worked for me. I am using the free leftover drive as a backup device for family photos.

Upgrading the disk is (relatively) easy and you can find a lot of advice on the Net. Search for "PlayStation 3 Hard Drive Upgrade (HOWTO)" for videos that should help you decide if you are comfortable with upgrading. If upgrading is the first thing you do (before installing games or uploading personal files), everything becomes very easy because you need not worry about backups or restores. I upgraded my box in a couple of hours WITH the backup/restore steps.

The lack of memory card interfaces is annoying but you can get around it. Copy your stuff to a USB drive or flash drive and... problem solved. You can then upload your things through the USB. It's somewhat inconvenient but it's no big deal.

My old (10 months) 60GB model has 4 USB slots and I am using all of them. One for the PS3 Eye (camera), a second has a wireless keyboard dongle, the third is where the racing wheel plugs in and the last one I use to charge controllers. Can you live with 2 slots? I suppose you can but there's going to be some plugging/unplugging if you begin adding peripherals. I suppose you could get one of those USB ports multiplexers. They're ugly but... it's doable.

PS2 compatibility... can't get it. Sorry. I don't play PS2 games but my kids do. In fact, they just bought some Sonic game a couple of days ago. I was surprised but... de gustibus. They're also playing Kingdom Hearts and Destroy All Humans.

This model comes with a couple of improvements over the gold standard. It burns less electricity, which is a good thing for the rain forests, keeping them cool and maybe you save a few dollars on your electric bill. And, of course you get the advanced controller.

- If you are planning to upgrade, the 80GB model is the way to go because it is selling for $100 less than the larger disk version and you can use the savings to pay for your disk upgrade
- Get yourself a USB port multiplexer if you need more than 2 ports
- Transfer your photos to flash drives to get around the missing memory card interfaces
- Or or, even better, to address both the USB and the memory card issues, get the Playstation 3 Media Hub+ for 2 extra USB ports AND a card reader
- Keep your PS2 if you have one and still wish to play PS2 games in the future.
- Enjoy your new PS3.

Why PS3 was by far the best value for us, and arguably the best choice now available5
I had sat on the sidelines of the next gen video games up until a couple of weeks ago. I had tried Wii almost as soon as it came out and was captivated by the motion sensors but the limited availability and sameness to the games as well as limited graphics was frustrating.

Xbox 360 the $50 a year subscription and more importantly it lost the Blu-ray/HD battle were big no points for me. I enjoy games, my wife does not. She does enjoy movies and the internet. When I pointed out that PS3 was a Blu-ray player (with excellent reviews) and could let us surf the internet, she was all for it.

I have an 'old' HDTV (3 years old). It has a maximum resolution of 1080i and a DVI input but no HDMI. I did some research before buying this so I bought an HDMI to DVI cable at the same time. I was worried about hooking it up and getting it to look right and also getting sound. I should not have been. It took literally a few minutes. Plugged the HDMI end into the PS3 and the DVI end into the HDTV. Received a picture (great picture) right away. It detected that 1080i was the highest resolution and I choose that.

Sound I simply choose the option to put sound out correctly and received gorgeous sound. I only use the speakers that came with the HDTV but it sounds fantastic on Blu-Ray. I can only imagine what people with surround sound systems will get.

The Blu-Ray discs are stunning. Even with 'just' 1080i. Truly beautiful. And it also up-converts very well. My favorite movies are the LOTR expanded editions. I have seen LOTR on TNT HD broadcasts. With the PS3 they look almost as good perhaps even better than the HD broadcasts. Also one of the coolest things and I have no idea if this for all Blu-Rays are just PS3 is that it remembers where you were on discs (Blu-ray and DVD discs)even if the disc was last played 8 discs ago. So say for instance you a third of the way through Fellowship. You then put a few game discs in, some other movie discs, then go back to Fellowship. It actually remembers where you left off that disc. Love it.

The internet browsing has been very cool. At first it was ok but it did not fill up the screen and the lettering was too small. But then I discovered zoom in and zoom out. And now it is really fun to browse. As an aside when I started browsing if someone was on our lap-top we would get a connection conflict and would not be able to surf on the lap-top. I called Linksys and they were able to change a bunch of settings on the router and it works just fine now, no problems on using both at the same time.

As for games I have Assassin's Creed and Oblivion now. Both look amazing. I have also downloaded demos for Mirror's Edge (stunning) and Motorstorm (fun and also amazing graphics). Even as a gamer truly I only really have time for a half dozen games every year or two or even three. A lot of these games last a long time. So in reality the 360s edge on variety is for all intents moot. I am planning to get Little Big Planet and maybe the new Spidey game when it comes down in price. That will more than hold me over to God of War and which ever other few games I will get in 2009. Having a handful of great games, to me, is more important than 50 titles coming out a year.

Bottomline is if you have an HDTV (particularly if you have a home theater set up) and no Blu-ray and enjoy gaming the PS3 is truly awesome. You get a great Blu-ray player, an 80gig hard drive, incredible gaming capabilities (just downloading the demos would be cool), internet browsing and video watching on your TV. You can also download the LIFE utility that has an incredibly cool visual globe where you can get live weather and news headlines around the world. And you can help cure diseases by linking to a Stanford project that looks at how proteins work and fold. If you allow it your processor can be added to the processing power being used for the Stanford project (when you are not gamin and such).

Sony has succeeded in making a truly great heart of your home media experience. This is so much more than Wii it isn't even close. And with Blu-ray and free Sony playstation network, it really is a much better value than any of the 360 choices you have. Right now heading into the 2008 holiday season, PS3 stands alone as clearly the best system and the best value. Not only for gamers but for the entire family.

Sony HDR-FX7 3-CMOS Sensor HDV

Sony HDR-FX7 3-CMOS Sensor HDV High-Definition Handycam Camcorder with 20x Optical Zoom From Sony

Product Description

Shoot like a pro with the HDR-FX7 High Definition Handycam(R) camcorder. Capture amazing video and still images in high definition with the first HDV 1080i 3 CMOS sensor consumer-level camcorder and player in the world. The three - 1/4" ClearVID CMOS Sensors provide stunning detail and precision, while a 20x Optical Zoom Carl Zeiss Lens maintains image clarity. Since the HDR-FX7 records video in high-definition, you can dual record still images at the same time. So no matter what the occasion, the HDR-FX7 is the perfect camcorder for the situation. A Sony developed Real Time MPEG Encode/Decode system with reduced energy consumption and compact size to fit inside a personal camcorder. This provides efficient MPEG2 compression, and recording and playback of clear HD images at the same bit rate of the DV format, so that High Definition video can be recorded on the same cassettes as are used for MiniDV recording. From the authority in lens technology, the Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens provides a high-quality 20x optical zoom which maintains image clarity and color while reducing glare and flare. Dual independent zoom and focus rings provide precise and detailed control over the amount of zoom and the overall focus of the image with just a turn of the rings. Fast, intuitive framing when zooming, and finely detailed focusing is easy with the natural "feel" of the rings. Easily adjust the amount of light entering the lens by adjusting exposure brightness in accordance with the iris and gain. The Iris control allows the volume of light to be adjusted (shutter speed and gain are adjustable). Though not small enough to carry with you to Disney, this camcorder opens up new opportunities for serious amateur and semi-professionals to record videos suitable for play on new widescreen HDTV sets. An IEEE1394 iLink port is provided for easy transfer to a PC or Macintosh for professional editing applications.

Product Details

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #534 in Camera & Photo
  • Brand: Sony
  • Model: HDR-FX7
  • Released on: 2008-11-02
  • Dimensions: 8.00 pounds
  • Display size: 3.5


  • Record and play back HDV 1080i video; switchable recording in standard definition
  • ClearVid CMOS sensor; 20x optical zoom
  • Wide 3.5-inch Hybrid Touch Panel Clear Photo LCD Plus display
  • Capture 1.2-megapixel stills to Memory Stick Duo
  • Professional 62mm Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens

Editorial Reviews

Manufacturer Description
It’s all in the details. And with the HDR-FX7 Handycam camcorder, you’ll capture every last one of them in high-definition. The first consumer level HDV 1080i recorder and player in the world turns all your memories into masterpieces. With a 20x optical zoom Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T Lens and 1.2-megapixel image capture to Memory Stick Duo media, your moments will never fade away. Additionally, when you record video in high-definition, you can dual-record still images at the same time. So no matter the occasion, the HDR-FX7 is the perfect camcorder.

Sony HDR-FX7 highlights

Sony HDR-FX7 Highlights

Three 1/4-inch ClearVID CMOS sensors Three 1/4-inch ClearVID CMOS Sensors with 1,120K (effective) pixels provides stunning detail and clarity with exceptional video (up to 1080 lines of resolution in HD) and still-image performance. The Megapixel technology enhances your digital videos and digital still (1037K - 16:9 mode) photography performance.

HDV recording format From the innovators in camcorder technology, Sony’s HDR-FX7 camcorder is the world’s first HDV1080i consumer level camcorder and player to include three CMOS Sensors (as of September 7, 2006). Now you can record all your memories in true high-definition video.

Switchable HDV/DV format recording The HDR-FX7 is capable of recording and playing back both high-definition and standard-definition video recorded on standard MiniDV cassettes.

Real-time HD Codec engine A Sony-developed Real Time MPEG Encode/Decode system with reduced energy consumption and a compact size to fit inside a personal camcorder. Provides efficient MPEG2 compression, and recording and playback of clear HD images at the same Bit Rate of the DV format, so that high-definition video can be recorded on the same cassettes as are used for MiniDV recording.

Sony HDR-FX7 highlights

20x optical Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T Lens From the authority in lens technology, the Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens provides a high-quality 20x optical zoom which maintains image clarity and color while reducing glare and flare.

Digital Extender The Digital Extender mode is available throughout the entire zoom range and will digitally enhance the zoom up to 1.5x the current position.

3.5-inch wide (16:9) Hybrid Clear Photo LCD Plus display (211K pixels) Provides excellent viewing clarity with improved resolution. The 211K-pixel LCD display makes images sharp and detailed during playback or when monitoring recording. The Hybrid LCD screen provides accurate viewing in sunlight or bright light, virtually eliminating the "washout" common with traditional LCD screens.

Super SteadyShot Optical Stabilization System An advanced form of Sony’s SteadyShot Image Stabilization system that controls an even higher range of shake and vibration frequencies. This optical stabilization system achieves an even higher level of smoothness without degradation of video like some digital stabilization systems.

Manual zoom and manual focus ring Dual independent Zoom and Focus rings provide precise and detailed control over the amount of zoom and the overall focus of the image with just a turn of the rings. Fast, intuitive framing when zooming, and finely detailed focusing is easy with the natural "feel" of the rings.

Selectable exposure/iris control : Allows you to adjust the amount of light entering the lens. By adjusting Exposure Brightness the image is adjusted in accordance with the Iris and Gain (shutter speed is locked). The Iris control allows the volume of light to be adjusted (shutter speed and Gain are adjustable).

Sony HDR-FX7 highlights
Expanded focus helps confirm your manual focus
Expanded focus indicator The camera‘s LCD image is magnified, temporarily, up to 4x its original size without any loss of distortion. This allows the user more finite control while focusing the camera for greater detail and clarity.

Picture Profile Allows the user to set manual adjustments for a scene (color, sharpness, White Balance, etc) into any one of six presets, so they can be called up at just the touch of a button. Useful when shooting under the same conditions repeatedly, as options do not have to be re-set each time. Settings for various shooting conditions are offered as defaults.

Assignable buttons Six buttons on the exterior of the camcorder are user-assignable so that they can be set to the options most commonly utilized, for ease of recording.

i.LINK2 HDV/DV Interface (IEEE1394) Allows high-speed, bi-directional digital video/audio communication between two compatible devices equipped with an IEEE1394 interface, including camcorders, Digital VCRs, and PCs.

Shot transition Allows for a smooth automatic scene transition. Settings for focus, Zoom, iris, Gain, shutter, and White Balance can be set to the Assignable Buttons 1, 2 and 3, which will create a smooth transition and will take place according to the set time and transition. This function enables the focus to gradually shift from the front of the screen to a deeper part of the screen. Thus the iris enables a smooth change of depth of field.

Dual record While recording video in high-definition, you have the ability to capture a 1.2-megapixel still image directly to Memory Stick Duo Media.

Smooth Slow Record By increasing the record rate from 60 fields per second (fps) to 240 fps for 6 seconds allowing you to capture fast motion and which will play the video back in 24 seconds. This is great for analyzing a golf swing or a viewing a bird in flight.

Digital Still Memory mode with Memory Stick Duo Media Capture still images up to 1440 x 810 resolution (in 16:9 mode) directly onto Memory Stick Duo Media for easy transfer to PCs for emailing, printing or sharing with other compatible Memory Stick devices.

Battery information At the touch of a button, battery information is displayed on the LCD screen when charging and when the camcorder is turned off. The display will show how much the battery is charged, in 10-percent increments and the approximate recordable time left when using the LCD screen or in the viewfinder.

Multi-language menu Change the menu display from English to English (Simplified), Canadian French, Latin American Spanish or Brazilian Portuguese.

What's in the box

HDR-FX7 camcorder, Power adaptor/in-camera charger (AC-L15), InfoLithium rechargeable battery (NP-F570), Remote Commander remote control (RMT-831), component video cable, stereo A/V cable, lens hood, USB cable, large-size eye cup

Customer Reviews

This is an amazing piece of equipment. Get the large battery for better balance and OVER EIGHT hours of taping. Broadcast quality. You will rarely NEED to go off "auto" unless you have special needs or are in a totally controlled studio situation where you can control lighting and movement. Pricey but worth every penny. The HD is as good as Discovery HD Theater's, and the std. DV recording (due to the new chips) is better then other 3-chip cameras I have owned.

Great Camcorder5
I have had this camcorder for two months now and I could not be happier. The camera is great indoors and out, including low light conditions. The high definition quality is incredible, the best I have seen. I also like the small size and light weight, a definite improvement over the fx-1.

Great Camera5
I bought this item for a Church looking to do it's own production. We tape both services and do more produced and edited media for use in services. The camera is in use alot. If you are buying it for indoors filming, invest in a good set of lights. This camera gets grainy on high zoom in low light. I don't know any camera in this price range that does not. Other than that, I have not found any problems that will jump out and surprise you. But the quality will.

You can complain about what this camera does not offer (XLR ins, and it is menu driven), but those are advertised. Don't buy this camera if those are deal breakers for you. What it does do it does well. And the battery life with the cmos chips is worth some of the trade offs with ccd cameras. I easily shoot two and a half hours without plugging in (on the OEM battery that comes with it). That is amazing to me. I can position for best shot of the event, instead of hanging with the others by the plugs.

I have been happy that I made the technology jump to this camera instead of playing it safe with a more industry standard camera. I would recomend this to anyone who is looking for an entry level production camera. It is a bargain at its price.

Canon VIXIA HF200

Canon VIXIA HF200 HD Flash Memory Camcorder with 15x Optical Zoom From Canon

Product Description

Canons new VIXIA HF200 Flash Memory camcorder packs tons of excitement and high-quality imaging power into its small, lightweight body. Capture vividly colored, realistically detailed high definition video and photos with a Genuine Canon 15x HD Video Lens, SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer, 3.89-megapixel Full HD CMOS Image Sensor, and Canons latest DIGIC DV III Image Processor. With the VIXIA HF200, youll enjoy the convenience of recording to removable SDHC memory cards.Youll also love shooting with the userfriendly layout, and the ability to switch seamlessly between shooting video and photos. The Canon VIXIA HF200 is packed with innovative new features like Pre-Record that captures the action 3 seconds before you press the record button, so you never miss a memorable moment, Video Snapshot Mode that lets you set 4-second video vignettes to music, and Genuine Canon Face Detection that perfectly focuses and exposes selected faces--even if theyre looking down or to the side. All this in one compact camcorder! Canon USA 1-year limited warranty included.

Product Details

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #20 in Camera & Photo
  • Color: Black
  • Brand: Canon
  • Model: 3536B001AA
  • Original language: English
  • Dimensions: 4.90" h x 2.80" w x 2.70" l, 1.00 pounds
  • Display size: 2.7


  • Record crisp HD video directly to a removable SDHC memory card
  • Genuine Canon 15x HD video lens; SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer
  • 1920 x 1080 Full HD recording; 24p Cinema Mode, 30p Progressive Mode
  • Dual Shot for capturing both video and photos with ease
  • HDMI terminal for easy, one-cable connectivity to your HDTV

Editorial Reviews

From the Manufacturer

Canon has a well-known and highly-regarded reputation for optical excellence, advanced image processing, superb performance and technological innovation, built on our legendary photographic and broadcast television lenses. Based on that experience, we bring the latest in high definition camcorders. The Canon VIXIA HF200 Flash Memory camcorder is one such example.

The VIXIA HF200 delivers brilliant video and still photos through a Canon exclusive 3.89-megapixel CMOS image sensor and the latest version of our advanced image processor, DIGIC DV III. It is ultra lightweight - our smallest and lightest HD camcorder, and brings the ease and convenience of Flash Memory. This technology, the same used in advanced laptop computers, MP3 players, PDAs and cell phones, allows the VIXIA HF200 to record up to 6 hours of crisp, high definition video (LP Mode) to a removable SDHC card. You have extended available recording space and more flexibility in file transfer and playback.

Canon VIXIA HF200 camcorder highlights

What's more, the VIXIA HF200 allows you to record at up to 24Mbps, the highest bitrate in AVCHD format, for the highest quality image. The VIXIA HF200's Canon Exclusive features - such as the Genuine Canon 15x HD video lens, Genuine Canon Face Detection capability, SuperRange Optical Image Stabilization and a host of new control and creative options - makes our Flash Memory camcorder unmistakably Canon.

Canon VIXIA HF200 Camcorder

Record HD Video Directly to Removable SDHC Memory Card

Capture outstanding high definition video directly to a removable SDHC Memory Card with the VIXIA HF200. It's easy and convenient - you can then remove the card and place it into your computer or HDTV's card reader slot for immediate viewing. You can also use higher capacity memory cards to further increase the video storage of your VIXIA HF200. It's a fast and simple way to share your memories.

The advantages of Flash Memory go beyond the added recording time. You'll also appreciate the quick response time, because it doesn't have to wait for moving parts. Press the record button and your VIXIA HF200 starts recording video faster than you've ever seen before. In addition, when you review your footage, it will come up more quickly as well.

Another plus is the VIXIA HF200's low power consumption rate, allowing your battery to last longer. It's just what you need so you don't miss that pivotal play on the field or the moment when they say "I do."

While we certainly hope you keep your VIXIA HF200 securely in your hand while shooting, if it happens to slip, or you accidentally knock it against something, you'll be happy to know that Flash Memory makes your camcorder more shock resistant than other recording storage systems. It also minimizes the chance of data loss due to damage to your recording media or the moving parts found in other camcorders.
* 1920 x 1080 movie recording requires a Class 4 or higher memory card. For other recording formats, a Class 2 or higher card is recommended. Also, movie recording requires cards with 128MB of memory or more. Cards made by Toshiba, SanDisk or Matsushita are recommended. No particular restrictions apply for still images.

Ultra-Sleek, Compact and Lightweight Design

Making the technology and features of the VIXIA HF200 even more impressive is its compact size and lightweight design. Measuring only 2.8" wide, 2.4" high and 4.9" deep, and weighing in at only 12.0 ounces, it combines considerable video storage capacity on removable SDHC Memory Cards and advanced features in a small, convenient to carry body. You will find more places than ever to use your VIXIA HF200 because it's so easy to have with you more of the time.

Canon VIXIA HF200 camcorder highlights

Genuine Canon 15x HD Video Lens

For over 70 years Canon has been producing exceptional photographic lenses that are synonymous with unsurpassed optical performance. Because of Genuine Canon Optics, every Canon broadcast lens, 35mm film camera, digital camera and camcorder assures brilliant optical quality - and the VIXIA HF200 is no exception.

The VIXIA HF200 comes with an outstanding High Definition video lens - a Genuine Canon 15x HD Video Lens. It's the lens you need to record long shots of your child on the soccer field, wide shots of beautiful landscapes, and everything in-between. And because it comes with four zoom speeds, three pre-set and one variable, you always get smooth, steady, professional-looking zoom shots.

Super Spectra Coating technology results in images with minimal flare and ghosting. Plus, the new lens' aspheric design reduces aberration and increases resolution, ensuring crisp, sharp video - enhancing the HD image quality. Additionally, a gradation neutral density (ND) system gives you better exposures in bright shooting situations.

Canon Exclusive: 3.89-megapixel Full HD CMOS Image Sensor

The VIXIA HF200 captures 1920 x 1080 High Definition video through its Canon designed and manufactured 3.89-megapixel HD CMOS image sensor, similar to the CMOS image sensors in Canon's EOS Series Digital SLR cameras.

The VIXIA HF200's sophisticated CMOS image sensor provides high color resolution and advanced color reproduction for brilliant results. It is also unique in featuring Canon's proprietary noise reduction technologies for crisp, sharp images. Low noise technology also means that even in dimly lit scenes, the signal from each pixel is as pure as possible, with minimal noise or other aberrations. It's the ideal sensor for HD.

The VIXIA HF200 uses an RGB Primary Color Filter with Bayer Placement Pattern that separates light into red, green and blue color components. This results in vibrant images with deep, rich, accurate color and natural-looking tones similar to what you'd obtain from 3CCD camcorders. In addition, the Bayer Placement Pattern delivers sharp, high definition images with true-to-life color reproduction. As an added benefit, the CMOS sensor provides outstanding image capture in low light conditions.

Canon Exclusive: DIGIC DV III Image Processor

DIGIC DV III is Canon's most advanced HD image processor ever, helping to deliver enhanced image quality, true color production for both video and photos, and a sophisticated noise reduction system for exceptional low-light performance. It is also the high-speed engine which powers a variety of new Canon technologies including Genuine Canon Face Detection and a new Advanced Auto Exposure system.

Plus, the Canon DIGIC DV III Image Processor allows continuous shooting of digital photos with the VIXIA HF200. You can also enjoy faster processing of your images to your memory card (1.4x normal card; 2.5x Hi Speed card). In addition, it helps lower power consumption for longer battery life.

1920 x 1080 Full HD Recording
Canon VIXIA HF200 camcorder highlights

The Canon VIXIA HF200 not only captures images in Full HD, but records and outputs at 1920 x 1080* as well, so you get Full HD from lens to screen. Your memories are preserved in stunning clarity, and ready for playback on your HDTV. With the advanced codec in the VIXIA HF200, you can also record at the highest AVCHD bitrate of 24Mbps.**
*A Class 4 or higher SDHC memory card is required. For other recording formats, a Class 2 or higher card is recommended. Also, movie recording requires cards with 128MB of memory or more. Cards made by Toshiba, SanDisk or Matsushita are recommended. No particular restrictions apply for still images.
**DVD media containing AVCHD footage should only be used in AVCHD compatible players otherwise the DVD player may fail to eject the media and may erase its contents without warning.

24Mbps Recording

The 24Mbps recording capability of the VIXIA HF200 gives you the highest quality AVCHD video possible. You'll see enhanced detail, finer gradations of tones and improved reproduction of moving subjects. Video shot by the VIXIA HF200 of fast-moving sporting events, multi-color butterflies on a variegated leaf or the shading of a brilliant sunset will be remarkable.

Canon Exclusive: SuperRange Optical Image Stabilization

The high-resolution images of High Definition video demand a steady hand. It's easier to get those clear, steady images with the VIXIA HF200, thanks to Canon's innovative SuperRange Optical Image Stabilization. It combines gyro- and image-sensors to give image stabilization through a wider range of camera motions. Some image stabilization systems correct one type of camera motion or vibration better than another. But Canon's SuperRange OIS corrects for a wide range of camcorder motion: the fast vibration you'd experience while recording from a moving car; the medium-speed motion of hand-held recording; and the slower motion of body sway. No matter what you're recording and how you're recording it, the VIXIA HF200's stabilization design corrects camcorder shake instantly. SuperRange OIS also delivers steady images when shooting at long focal lengths.
Canon VIXIA HF200 camcorder highlights
SuperRange OIS in action.

In addition, optical stabilization keeps your shot steady without a loss in image quality - something that can't be said for electronic image stabilization. And image stabilization isn't just for video; you can even use it for taking sharper, clearer digital photographs with your VIXIA HF200. Thanks to Canon's expertise, it's easy to eliminate one of the telltale signs of amateur video and photography.

Canon Exclusive: Instant AF (Auto Focus)

Another critical objective when shooting in High Definition is achieving a very sharp focus. The VIXIA HF200 camcorder features Canon's revolutionary Instant AF focusing system which offers a dramatic improvement in auto focus speed and accuracy (compared to traditional auto focus systems). The Instant AF feature uses an external sensor, in combination with Canon's auto focus system, to help significantly decrease the time it takes to find focus, even in low light conditions. This system achieves focus instantaneously, reducing focus "hunting." The benefits of Instant AF are especially seen in high brightness and night shooting situations. With Instant AF, it's possible to capture fast, accurate focusing, even when following a moving subject.

And because a properly focused subject is more critical than ever with HD, the VIXIA HF200 also features Focus Assist. This helps in capturing your subject in razor-sharp focus. It works by providing a 2x magnification of your subject (when you start recording, this assistance is automatically cancelled). This is a feature normally found in professional broadcast-quality cameras.

Canon Exclusive: Genuine Canon Face Detection
Canon VIXIA HF200 camcorder highlights

The same high quality Face Detection technology used in Canon digital cameras is now available in Canon High Definition camcorders. Up to 35 faces can be detected automatically, and 9 detection frames can be displayed at one time. Genuine Canon Face Detection ensures razor-sharp focus and natural, accurate exposure of the chosen subjects.

The system is in fact so intelligent that it will recognize faces that are turned downwards or sideways. In addition, a specific face may be selected as the main subject for continuous tracking. This feature can be used to search for clips featuring that specific subject's face. In search and playback, use of the Face Index will display frames with the chosen face as a thumbnail in each shot in which it appears. The selected face can be linked as a timeline to further identify footage containing that subject.

Advanced Auto Exposure System

The VIXIA HF200 has an Advanced AE System designed to provide the most accurate exposure settings in a wide variety of lighting conditions. This enhanced Auto Exposure, together with Genuine Canon Face Detection and DIGIC DV III, captures an expanded dynamic range, optimizing brightness to avoid overexposure, while still preserving precious shadow detail.

24p Cinema Mode

24p Cinema Mode enables all aspiring moviemakers to achieve a professional "film-look." You can change the camcorder's frame capture rate to 24p (recorded at 60i), which provides the appearance of the same frame rate as movie film. In addition, you can use the VIXIA HF200's CINEMA setting, which changes the color and tonal characteristics, evoking the look and feel of a movie shown in a theater. For added flexibility, these settings can be used together or independently.
Canon VIXIA HF200 camcorder highlights
Normal mode vs. Cinema mode

30p Progressive Mode

You would otherwise have to look to professional video cameras in order to have this sophisticated tool at your command. In addition to the standard interlaced video frame rate of 60i, you may choose to set the VIXIA HF200 to capture video in 30p (30 progressive frames, recorded to 60i), which is particularly useful for footage to be used on the Internet. In addition, this setting gives enhanced quality to still images captured after recording. It's also excellent for action shots and sports.
Canon VIXIA HF200 camcorder highlights
60i vs. 30p

Canon Exclusive: 2.7-inch Multi-Angle Vivid Widescreen LCD

The 2.7-inch Multi-Angle Vivid Widescreen LCD on the VIXIA HF200 lets you see more of what your camcorder is recording. Using a hard coat Anti-Reflection surface and improved color reproduction, the scene in the viewfinder is a more accurate indication of what you're capturing in the camcorder. An added benefit of this Canon Exclusive is the wider range of viewing angle possible with this LCD screen. With less glare and deeper contrasts, groups of people can gather around it and see the image displayed more clearly than ever before.

Mini Advanced Accessory Shoe Terminal

Another pro-level feature of the VIXIA HF200 is the Mini Advanced Accessory Shoe on the camcorder. At about half the size of Canon's Advanced Accessory shoe, this feature allows you to attach available Canon optional accessories, such as the VL-5 accessory video light or DM-100 directional stereo microphone. Using the proper accessories can greatly enhance the production values of the video you shoot.

Video Snapshot Mode

The Video Snapshot Mode of the VIXIA HF200 will let you shoot short movie clips in the same way you've shot snapshots with your still camera. Simply capture a series of 4-second video clips, blend in one of 10 supplied music tracks, or your favorite background music, and create an entertaining movie that will hold everyone's attention. It's the perfect way to document your vacation or a family milestone.
Canon VIXIA HF200 camcorder highlights
Video Snapshot mode

Superb Shooting Control

Dual Shot Dual ShotCapture video and photos without switching modes, which saves you time and helps you avoid the chance of a missed shot.

Variable Zoom Speed Control Another sure sign of amateur video is the unsteady zoom shot. But with the VIXIA HF200's zoom control, you simply select one of the four zoom speeds (three pre-set, one variable) for smooth, steady, professional-looking zooms.

Level and Grid Markers With the Level Marker feature, it's easy to keep your camera level for more professional-looking video. Line up any horizontal lines in your shot - such as the horizon - to the marker and you can be sure your camcorder is level.

The VIXIA HF200's Grid Marker feature lets you compose your shot accurately, according to the grid on your LCD screen. You can even choose from two different colors for the grid. This ensures that you see the grid, no matter what the background color of your shot is.

Quick Start Never miss a quickly unfolding shot again. When the VIXIA HF200 is in Camera Mode and the LCD panel is closed, it is placed in standby mode. When the action starts, open the LCD panel and you'll begin recording in less than one second. You'll also help extend your battery life as compared to leaving the camcorder in regular recording mode.

Pre-record The Pre-record feature places your VIXIA HF200 in a stand-by "pre-roll" mode. When you press the shooting button while in Pre-record, the VIXIA HF20 automatically records 3 seconds of the action which occurred prior to your pressing of the button. With Pre-record, it will be easier than ever to capture the moment when the bat hits the ball at the start of that home run.
Canon VIXIA HF200 camcorder highlights
Pre-record mode

Low Light Performance Some of the most magical shots are taken at the end of the day or long after the sun has set. You won't miss any of them, thanks to the VIXIA HF200's mini video light. The light lets you shoot subjects in color, in low light, up to 4.9 feet away. So, whether it's a shot of a sleeping baby, or a group of friends on a candle-lit terrace at night, the VIXIA HF200 captures all the moments you want to record.

Manual Audio Level Control To make your videos sound as good as they look, the VIXIA HF200 offers a built-in audio meter and manual audio level adjustment. You'll be able to tell at a glance if the sound you're hearing is being recorded the way you want it and a simple control allows you to change the audio level if it's not.

Improved Menu User Interface For greater ease of use, the VIXIA HF200 features a revised control button with cross movement action. It's an intuitive design enabling you to push up, down, left or right to choose the menu option you wish.

Canon HF200 camcorder highlights

DVD Burner Compatible You can also easily burn DVDs of the video shot with your VIXIA HF200 as it is compatible with Canon's DW-100 DVD Burner. A one-cable connection is all it takes to send the files across and with the click of a few buttons your videos will be burned to an AVCHD disc for play in a compatible DVD player.

Intelligent Lithium-ion Battery

The Intelligent Lithium-ion battery which powers the VIXIA HF200 is a major advance. It not only more accurately tracks remaining battery life, it also gives a display in minutes remaining. It will allow you to better plan your shooting, so you won't be caught out with a battery that suddenly goes from "half" to "empty." Thanks to the long recording time capability of the VIXIA HF200, you'll be able to take full advantage of it and not miss any of the action you want to capture.

Built-in 3.3-megapixel Digital Camera

The VIXIA HF200 is not only a superb camcorder, but also a terrific 3.3-megapixel digital camera delivering high quality still photos. With many advanced photo features, rivaling other state-of-the-art digital cameras, and recording to an SDHC memory card, you get the best in both video and photos. An example? The VIXIA HF200 boasts Simultaneous Photo Shooting, allowing you to capture crisp 3.0-megapixel photos and video at the same time.

The same Canon exclusive CMOS image sensor that ensures sharp, vivid HD video also gives you brilliant digital photographs. Like the CMOS image sensors in Canon's EOS Series digital SLR cameras, the VIXIA HF200's image sensor results in outstanding digital photographs. It gives a resolution of 3.1 megapixels for sharp, crisp still images.

Canon DIGIC DV III Image Processor Canon's exclusive DIGIC DV III Image Processor features improved continuous shooting of digital photographs with the VIXIA HF200. You can also enjoy faster processing of your images to your memory card (1.4x normal card; 2.5x Hi Speed card).

Focus Features Auto Intelligent Auto Focus (AiAF) ensures sharp images and gives creative flexibility. Even when your subject isn't in the center of the frame, the VIXIA HF200's 9-point AiAF will automatically select from 9 metering frames on the screen to help bring images into sharp focus.

Auto Exposure Modes Like any good digital still camera, the VIXIA HF200 lets you choose from a range of exposure modes. Auto mode automatically sets the exposure, letting you concentrate on your subject. AV (aperture priority) mode lets you control depth of field by letting you choose the aperture. TV (shutter priority) mode lets you select the shutter speed for sharp, action shots. In P (program) mode, the camcorder adjusts camera settings automatically.

Program AE Mode Your life happens everywhere, so the VIXIA HF200 gives you settings that automatically result in the best exposure settings for different conditions and different subjects.

Portrait mode ensures shallow depth of field for a pleasing background in your shots of friends and family. Sports mode stops the action with faster shutter speeds. Night mode is designed to give you great shots after the sun goes down. Snow and Beach modes compensate for bright surroundings and give you the proper exposure on your subject. Sunset mode results in vibrant, well-exposed colors for one of the toughest subjects to capture properly. Use Spotlight mode when your child is on stage and in the spotlight - literally - and you want to make sure the exposure is right for them. And, Fireworks mode records brilliant images of another tough subject - the holiday fireworks display.

Simultaneous Photo Recording With the VIXIA HF200, you can record HD video and capture a 2-megapixel photo to a memory card - simultaneously. Simply press the photo button and you've got an e-mail ready digital photo to share with friends and family.

Histogram Display For the advanced digital photographer, the VIXIA HF200 comes with a Histogram Display - a feature found in Canon's line of digital SLR cameras. The display allows you to see the brightness information of your still images, so you can adjust your exposures as you shoot.

Level and Grid Markers With the Level Marker feature, it's easy to keep your camera level for more professional looking photographs. Line up any horizontal lines in your shot - such as the horizon - to the marker and you can be sure your camcorder is level.

The VIXIA HF200's Grid Marker feature lets you compose your shot accurately, according to the grid on your LCD screen. You can even choose from two different colors for the grid. This ensures that you see the grid, no matter what the background color of your shot is. Still Capture from Flash Memory

The versatile VIXIA HF200 even lets you capture a still image from an already recorded movie. While playing the movie in your camcorder, simply press the photo button to capture a 1920 x 1080 still frame onto an SDHC card or to Built-in Memory. Additionally, the VIXIA HF200 allows you to capture 30 photos from one second of video. Now, better photos filled with action and expressions are easy to grab, print, post and share.

Built-in Flash Your VIXIA HF200's built-in flash lets you capture superb photos indoors and in low light conditions. The VIXIA HF200 also features red eye reduction.

Share Your Photos Your VIXIA HF200 comes with features that make it simple to share your still photos.

Print/Share Print/Share turns your VIXIA HF200 into a photo lab in the palm of your hand. Simply connect your camcorder directly to select Canon printers or any PictBridge-compatible printer with the supplied USB cable. Then, with a simple touch of the Print/Share button, print directly from your VIXIA HF200 without going through a computer.

Print/Share also makes it easy to transfer your still images to your computer. Simply connect your VIXIA HF200 and your computer, press the Print/Share button and your photos are downloaded to your computer.

DVD Burner Compatible You can also easily burn DVDs of your still photos taken with your VIXIA HF200 as it is compatible with Canon's DW-100 DVD Burner*. A one-cable connection is all it takes to send the files across and, with the click of a few buttons, your photos are ready to share with all.
* Discs recorded in 24Mbps cannot be played back using the DW-100.

HDMI Terminal

With the VIXIA HF200, sharing your High Definition video on your HD television is easier than ever. Only a single cable connects your camcorder to your TV for the highest quality playback (video and audio). The newest HDMI version 1.3 adds support for x.v. Color, an expanded color space which closely matches the range of the human eye. This enables richer, more accurate color to be displayed on today's latest HDTVs. Additionally, the VIXIA HF200 supports CEC (Consumer Electronics Control), which allows multiple HDMI devices connected to your HDTV to be controlled by a single remote control for simple operation.

Microphone Terminal with Manual Audio Level Control

The VIXIA HF200 allows you to enhance the quality of your audio by using the optional accessory Canon DM-100 Directional Stereo Microphone (which attaches to the Mini Advanced Accessory Shoe) to capture better sound and headphones to monitor the audio as you hear it. You can also attach an external microphone through the 3.5mm microphone terminal. Manual control of audio levels also lets you set the exact balance you need for the situation. Your videos will sound as good as they look.

Includes Pixela ImageMixer 3SE Video Editing Software

The Canon VIXIA HF200 High Definition Camcorder is bundled with a powerful software suite, Pixela ImageMixer 3SE*. You can easily perform a variety of functions, including AVCHD Editing in which you can trim, reorder, and combine scenes, as well as add music, titles, and transitions. This software also allows you to play your AVCHD movies on your computer and will also let you share copies of your movie with friends and family through Flash Memory to hard drive copying. Transfer and store your movie onto your computer's hard drive with the software and easily convert your High Definition video to Standard Definition video as well.
Canon VIXIA HF200 camcorder highlights

This software will also assist you in converting video to the optimum resolution for transmission over the Internet.

With the Pixela ImageMixer 3SE Disc, you can burn your edited video onto either full size AVCHD DVDs, which play in AVCHD compatible Blu-ray disc players for the full home theater experience, or onto Standard Definition DVDs. And to complement the VIXIA HF200's Video Snapshot feature, a music CD containing royalty free soundtracks is also provided.
* The bundled application is compatible with Windows XP and Windows Vista.

Additional Features

  • The Built-in Electronic Lens Cover means you never have to go looking for your lens cover again. Turn your camcorder on and the lens cover automatically opens. Turn it off, and the cover closes.
  • USB 2.0 Hi-Speed Terminal for ultra-fast transfer of movies and photos.
  • Compatible Optional Accessories available including the Wide Converter WD-H37II, Tele Converter TL-H37, Video Flash Light VFL-2 and High Capacity Battery Pack BP-827.
  • Wireless Remote Control lets you operate your VIXIA HF200 from a distance, so you don't have to be left out of the picture.
  • 1 Year Parts and Labor Limited Warranty provides protection long after other manufacturers' warranties expire.
What's in the Box
    Canon VIXIA HF200 camcorder highlights

    • VIXIA HF200 Camcorder
    • Battery Pack BP-809
    • Compact Power Adapter CA-570
    • Wireless Controller WL-D88
    • Component Cable CTC-100/S
    • Stereo Video Cable STV-250N
    • USB Interface Cable IFC-400PCU
    • Wrist Strap
    • Digital Video Solution Disk
    • Pixela ImageMixer 3SE Video Editing Software
    • Music CD

Customer Reviews

Have it, luv it5
The video quality is superb, as is ease of use. Here are a few hints and things I noticed. The battery out of the box will not power-on the camera and needs some minutes of charge to even show 0%. You can operate the camera from the charger but the battery is not being charged, says the manual.

There are two 1920x1080 picture quality modes: MXP at 24 mbps and FXP at 17 mbps -- and three at 1440x1080: XP+, SP and LP, at 12, 7 and 5 mbs, respectively. I believe it defaults to LP out of the box, which is 1440x1080 at 7 mbps. I suggest you select FXP to get true 1920x1080 resolution. Upping to 24 mbps might be a good idea only if you are going to do a lot of post editing -- I can't see an improvement over FXP. Recording times with a 16GB card are 1:25, 2:05, 2:50, 4:45 and 6:05, respectively.

When the camera is OFF, pressing the DISP button (on the camera body) will show battery capacity in minutes and percent. Pressing DISP when ON turns the LCD to max brightness. IOW, you can set the LCD brightness for normal indoor use with the menu and instantly set it bright for outdoor use. Handy.

The CINE mode seems to digitally soften the image; there may some color change but I didn't notice it from the shots I took in a park. The PF30 and PF24 rates show a jerkiness when panning as you would expect from a lower frame rate. I think these rates are simulated because all recording is done at 60i. For example when I played back PF24 stepping one frame at a time I saw the same image for 3 steps, then the next. (The "3 steps" varies with both PF24 and PF30.) OTOH, PF24 is useful in low light situations as it permits the HF200 slow the shutter speed down to 1/6 sec.

Previous Canon users will find the menu system easy and familiar, similar even to their still cameras. The joystick is "big" and has a positive, definite feedback feel to it. Menu navigation seems easier and clearer than earlier Canons I've used. There is even a Large Font choice. Good!

The Power On button is deep in a groove that makes it unlikely to accidentally turn on. But with your right hand in the nice grip you have to use the left to press it On - my fingers don't reach. No loss, you need the other hand to open the LCD panel anyway. The zoom lever on top is a middle finger control. The adjacent Photo button is for a trained index finger. Record, at the back, is thumb operated. You can also use an LCD panel button to Record.

The Quick Start feature means you can close the LCD to save power (runs at 1/3 normal) and be ready to shoot in about 1 sec after opening it. Note, if you close the LCD panel while recording it will continue to record -- so slamming it shut does not stop the shot.

The still photo features are quite amazing. The resolution is 3 megapixels, but a very good 3mp! You can shoot continuously at 3 or 5 frames/sec. And you can shoot at the same fast frame rates with flash! The flash is actually a high-power white LED, not a xenon tube. There is a separate warm-white LED for video that works OK to 5-6 feet.

There are the usual auto white balance, auto exposure, instant focus features and so on that you can read about above. There's face detection for proper focus. They all work very well. I like the Vivid color setting for most all shooting - video and photo. It is a slight pump in saturation that helps if you mainly view using your laptop LCD. Instant AutoFocus is aptly named. There is a fairly large IAF sensor next to the lens for this purpose. The 15x zoom, a first for me, is fully useful all the way out. Impressive.

Battery life (BP-809) takes a definite second place to 16GB storage. I just checked and it indicates 100%, 94 minutes. But you can of course buy larger batteries. (I use the smaller BP-808 battery from my FS100 SD video cam as a backup.) With the Quick Start feature (can be turned off) power is used between shots and this will generally use more juice that actual recording. Figure 3 to 5 times battery vs video: one hour of video needs 3+ hours of battery cap. Unless you buy a charger you must charge in the camera. Only one sample so far, but it seemed to take a little more than an hour to charge from 0%.

The supplied Pixela software is minimal. You can combine up to 99 shots into an M3TS file. It can be played on video players like Popcorn Hour and the WD HD TV player. (I have both and strongly recommend the $99 WD over the $230 PCH. The PCH can connect to Internet servers, its main claim to fame.) These players can also play the MTS format directly copied from the SD card but there is a 1-2 sec delay between each shot. Pixela lets you pick and chose shots, trim a given shot, and add titles and audio. I don't know how to get past the 99 shot limit with Pixela -- I made about 170 shots in the park yesterday.

All in all, I luves it.

Nice little beast but poor software5
Great camcorder, but get a bigger battery such as the BP-827, the default one makes a nice backup.

The software provided sucks, and you have to figure out by yourself which program does what: The main interface can upload videos, but not play or edit them, as it does for photos. It also creates a clutter of Start menu shortcuts in Windows that you don't need since these programs are called by the main program, ZoomBrowser. About the Pixela video editing software provided, well, let's just say that it's better forgotten...

Only 15 music tracks in wave format are provided to use as soundtrack.
There is also a Canon online photo storage offer that you probably don't need if you already have a blog or email provider.

The good thing is that the AVCHD format of this camcorder is supported by Windows Media Player 11 (at least on my Vista Ultimate machine). Not sure if it's native to Windows or if it came with other software I installed. The MTS file extension was not supported, though, you need to add it: Open a MTS file from Windows Explorer, choose "Select an installed program", select Windows Media Player and the checkbox to remember it.

Transferring the videos using the software provided is very cumbersome (cantbearsome really): You need both the USB and power cables, and clicking your way through a few screens on the camcorder before the transfer can start. I could start the photo transfer from either the camcorder or the computer, but only from the computer for videos.

My suggestion: Don't install any of the software, it's easier to just copy the files from a card reader to your hard disk using Windows Explorer. You can get a multi 23-in-1 card reader for about $20, finally get rid of this useless floppy drive, and add a front USB port to your PC!

The camcorder in this offer does not ship with any card, you need to buy one separately. 16GB is good enough for medium quality. If you need higher quality or continuous shooting, you should probably get two cards, like a 32GB card for long capacity and a smaller one as a backup while uploading the videos from the first card. Transcend SDHC Class 6 cards are from a good brand at decent prices.

One more thing: This camcorder is VERY small and light, and its true HD resolution means that it is hard to shoot without making jumpy videos, you need to hold it with 2 hands or more. The built-in stabilizer can only help so far, and will not save you from the butterfly effect: A wing beat on the other side of the planet WILL shake your video. On the other hand, nobody can see the difference if you shot your video drunk or sober, so enjoy the beer. I found a tripod helpful (when shooting from a static location is OK), any should do because the camcorder is so light.

If you need a bag, the Lowepro Edit 110 is just the right size and fits the camcorder with the largest battery, an extra battery, the power adapter, the remote and as many SDHC cards as you need. The camcorder manual also fits in, but it's a pity it's so thick, as it includes 3 languages (English, French, Spanish). There are 23 languages on the camcorder's menus. Cables won't fit. BTW, the camcorder ships without a HDMI cable, you need to get your own if you have a AVCHD-compatible TV and you want to playback on TV directly from the camcorder. Not necessary if your TV has a card reader or is connected to your computer.

Lastly, check your computer rig, you may need an extra large disk (1-2 TB) to store these videos, and more than one if you need to keep the original AVCHD videos for post-production: DVD backups just won't do for this kind of files. If you don't need to keep the AVCHD files, burning DVDs is the best way to archive your movies. Just remember that even in HD, DVDs are highly compressed (meaning losing a lot of the quality of your original AVCHD files.) $13 will get you a very basic USB IDE/SATA external adapter, a cheap way to use obsolete hard disks to archive your videos.

So close...4
This camera has a lot going for it. It's really small and easily fits in a jacket pocket. It has an incredible number of controls and adjustments if you're the type that wants to tinker with the settings. While it has shutter priority and aperture priority modes, unfortunately there's no full manual mode. This isn't so bad for an inexpensive consumer camcorder. I was worried for a minute that this camera didn't have any form of manual focus. It is there in the menus, but it would be much better if it had a dedicated dial.

For the folks looking for info on the different frame rate modes and not finding much information, I have good news. I was able to get true 24 frame footage from this camera. It's confusing as the specs say 24 frames recorded at 60i. The footage I recorded in 24p mode imported into iMovie at 29.97. But I was able to take that footage into After Effects and when I told it to guess the 3:2 pulldown pattern, it successfully interpreted the footage at 23.976 fps (essentially 24) and there were no interlace issues, just 24 whole frames a second. I'm assuming other software can handle this conversion too, maybe even iMovie?

The image quality is really fantastic, especially for footage shot outdoors. I would be thrilled with this camera if it weren't for one issue. Areas with fine detail (like trees and greenery) tend to strobe or pulse, especially in a wide shot. It usually looks fine when I zoom in closer. It can be very distracting. It shows up on all 3 frame rate modes. It seems a little less pronounced with the low sharpening mode turned on, but of course this makes the image clarity softer. In some shots it's not apparent at all, but in others it practically ruins the shot for my taste. (I'm very picky!) It's not too bad when the camcorder is on a tripod, but handheld shots tend to have this strobing problem. Is anyone else noticing this issue and have you found a solution? I might just be expecting too much.

Also, people like to complain about the low light ability of this camera, but I find it perfectly acceptable. Yeah, it's not amazing, but for the price of this camera, I think it's pretty good.