Monday, August 3, 2009

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.

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