Canon VIXIA HF S200 Full HD Flash Memory Camcorder & Pro Manual Control Review

Canon-VIXIA-HF-S200-Full-HD-Flash-Memory-Camcorder-and-Pro-Manual-Control-Review

Video hobbyists and pros looking for a portable full HD video camera will find what they are looking for in the Canon VIXIA HF S200 Full HD Flash Memory Camcorder.  It comes with Pro Manual Control and is the cheapest of Canon’s line of consumer flash memory HD camcorders.

Product Features

  • Compact size
  • 1920 x 1080p full HD recording
  • Records HD video to SDHC memory cards
  • Comes with additional SDHC slot (or a total of 2 slots)
  • Large 3.5-inch high resolution screen
  • Captures 8 megapixel still images
  • Microphone terminal with manual audio level control
  • Features Dual Shot Capture: allows capture of videos and photos without switching modes
  • Optical image stabilization
  • 10x optical zoom
  • Large 1/2.6-inch CMOS imager
  • Records in 24p and 30p

The Canon VIXIA HF S200 records in flash memory, using SDHC memory cards.  It has one of the largest imagers, measuring 1/2.6 inch, and the largest lens in the consumer camcorder line.  This improves the low light capabilities of the camcorder.  In addition, the video camera shoots in full 1080p.  The large 3.5-inch LCD screen provides a higher resolution than the previous model, making the display clearer and sharper.  A new feature for the HF S200 is Touch & Track.  This feature keeps focus and exposure on any subject, tracking it wherever it moves.

Design

The Canon VIXIA HF S200 is larger than other models of the HF S-series.  It measures 3.0”x2.9”x5.8” and weighs about 18 ounces.  Because of its size and weight it not comfortable to hold or use.  The 10x optical zoom lens is not any better than the one on the older S100 model and pales in comparison to other models featuring 15x zoom.  On the plus side, the lens is now equipped with an automatic cover that can help protect the lens when the device is switched off.

A control dial below the lens is used for setting manual adjustment controls.  Built-in speakers allow the VIXIA HF S200 to record in stereo mode.  Video recording is simple to do.  Simply press the Start/Stop button on the back.  The camcorder’s electronic viewfinder extends outwards so you can view the action.

The large 3.5-inch LCD display now features touchscreen capabilities to help you navigate through the user interface.  Opening the LCD panel exposes the terminals and the slots for the SD and SDHC cards.  The 3.5” LCD display has a resolution of 922,000 pixels and is easy to view even under direct sunlight.  It helps if you adjust the viewing angle.

To take pictures, simply press the photo shutter button on top of the video camera.  Zoom settings can be adjusted using the camcorder’s zoom toggle above the shutter button.  The HF S200 is also equipped with a panel with a pop-up flash and built-in video light.

Main Features

  • The touchscreen interface on the LCD screen is one of the main features of the Canon VIXIA HF S200.
  • The camera has a zoom type lens that can zoom up to 200x digitally and 10x optically.  The focus can be adjusted manually or automatically.
  • The Canon VIXIA HF S200 features the Dynamic SuperRange Optical Image Stabilization. This stabilization technology is used for wide-angle focal lengths to eliminate unwanted shaking.
  • Smart Auto uses Canon’s DIGIC DV III Image Processor to detect and analyze faces, color, distance, brightness, and movement to automatically select the best settings for the scene.
  • Face Detection allows up to 35 faces to be tracked automatically to ensure sharp focus and accurate exposure.  Even faces that are turned sideways or downward can be recognized.
  • The Canon VIXIA HF S200 uses Flash Memory to record high definition video.  Two SD memory card slots are available.  Using Relay Recording, the HF S200 automatically switches to the next available SD memory card when the first card becomes full.  Video can also be copied from one card to the other.
  • The HF S200 functions as an 8.0 megapixel camera.  Photos can be taken while recording videos, using the camcorder’s Dual Shot Technology.

Pros

  • Captures good video even under low light
  • Takes pictures while recording videos
  • Dual SD/SDHC card slots
  • Good set of manual features
  • Equipped with Image stabilization
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Poorly designed touchscreen menu
  • Touchscreen is not very responsive
  • Manual control interface could be better
  • Needs wider angle lens and bigger sensor

What Customers Say

Although it is the most affordable of Canon’s line of flash memory video cameras, the VIXIA HF S200 does not come cheap with its price tag of about $650.  However, many customers are more than happy with this camcorder, awarding it an average of 4-1/2 stars.  There are many positive comments from customers about the quality of the videos, improved sound, sharp images, and vibrant colors.  The two memory card slots allow more video recording time.  The HF S200 is also loaded with amazing features.

The biggest drawback, according to many customers, is the poor touchscreen interface.  Some customers also look for a wider-angle lens and bigger sensor to further improve recording quality in low-light conditions.

Despite these minor drawbacks, the Canon VIXIA HF S200 camcorder is the perfect choice if you want to record high quality HD video without spending too much money.  The HF S200’s many features including web sharing make this device one of the best consumer HD camcorders around.

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