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Canon HV20

alaTest has collected and analyzed 661 reviews from magazines and websites. Reviews about the color and usability are generally positive. The portability and image quality also get good feedback, but there are some critical comments about the features and viewfinder.

value for money, image quality, portability, usability, color

build quality, viewfinder, features

We analyzed user and expert ratings, product age and more factors. Compared to other Camcorders the Canon HV20 is awarded an overall alaScore™ of 87/100 = Very good quality.

See all Canon Camcorders

Review analysis

(Based on 661 reviews)

Expert Reviews  

User Reviews  

Showing 244 review(s)

Expert Reviews User Reviews
Showing 1 - 10 of 244 Show Reviews: in English | in other languages (80)

Expert review by:

Canon HV20 HDV Camcorder


If you don't mind dealing with miniDV tape, the Canon HV20 is a fine choice. However, we prefer having nonlinear random access to shots, rather than rolling through an anachronistic tape to find a shot. We also don't care for the cheap, plastic feel of...

buttah-smooth video, crisp and vivid in bright light

Cheap-feeling plastic, stuck with miniDV tapes

We especially like the way Canon includes features normally reserved for pros, such as a 24p frame rate that can be combined with the camera’s CineLook setting in order to almost mimic film’s slower frame rate and slightly diffuse look. But the star of...

Expert review by:

Canon HV20


The consumer HD camcorder to beat.

Amazing image. Works with external mics. Smallish form-factor. Footage works with all video editors. Great value for price ; Tape will soon be obsolete

Tape will soon be obsolete

Ready to take the dive into HD video? You won't go wrong with the HV20.

Expert review by:

Canon HV20


The stylish Canon HV20 gives you the ultimate in HD video and digital photo quality with advanced features for the knowledgeable and demanding videographer. Among the Canon Exclusive features on the HV20 are Canon's own Full HD CMOS sensor and advanced...


Expert review by:

High Definition Labor of Love


When it comes to HD cameras, call us hopeless romantics. We'd love to find a shooter capable of taking beautiful footage but without the bulk of a professional

Super clear, super clean, super colorful 1080i video quality. Tapes eject quickly and cleanly. 10x zoom and rapid auto focus. Compact size and light weight (1.3 pounds!) make transporting the cam second nature. Top mounted mic cancels out ambient noise...

Holy design flaw! The electronic lens cover sputtered and failed to open right out of the box; we had to prop it open with our fingers. Poor menu configuration – especially with playback functions. Image stabilization has its limits: 10x zoom requires...

Expert review by:

HV20 Mini DV HD DVD Camcorder


This high-definition camcorder is a bit heavy and bulky, but it's a good performer with lots of features.

Many features, including accessory shoe, Very good battery life

Some tiny controls, A bit bulky and heavy

Since the HDV format demands less computing power than the AVCHD format does, I would steer clear of AVCHD models unless I had an extremely powerful PC. And the HV20 one of the better HDV models on the market, at a pretty good price to boot


Expert review by:

Canon HV20


The Canon HV20 is the company's second HDV model, following on the heels of the HV10. Note: the HR10, the company's first AVCHD camcorder using mini DVDs, will be introduced in August for $1,199 USD.

Excellent HDV video ; OIS ; nice form factor

Bulky tape-based format; editing software is not included

It seems Canon took the complaints about the HV10 to heart and solved most of them.

Expert review by:

Canon HV20


When Canon first showed us the HV10 , we were surprised that the company chose a vertical form for its first compact HD camcorder. In our review, we found that the vertical design brought with it some irksome ergonomic issues. Canon's follow-up, the...

The Canon HV20 high-definition camcorder has excellent video quality, nice features, HDMI output, and an accessory shoe.

Can't change white balance while shooting; night mode doesn't help poor low-light performance.

Canon's HV20 camcorder is a great choice for HD-happy amateurs, but its low-light performance could have been better.

Expert review by:

Canon Vixia HV20


In conclusion, the Canon Vixia HV20 provides HD quality in a user friendly package. With a 10x zoom and an included HDMI port this camcorder is great for the casual user or the aspiring videographer of the family. Unless you have an aversion to using...

HDMI port24p Cinema Mode10x zoomSuper Range Optical Image StabilizationStill photos can be taken from video images

If you are looking to upgrade your clunky, old fashioned tape camcorder to

Expert review by:

Canon HV20 HDV Camcorder Review


We had high hopes for the Canon HV20, just as we did for the Sony HDR-HC7, and at first glance they look like they are cut from the same cloth. These camcorders are nearly identical in size and shape, they both produce a beautiful image, and bring a...

The Canon HV20 is that rare camcorder that bursts onto the scene, and sets a new standard in its niche. This is not a perfect camcorder by any means, but it has an intelligently assembled set of features that make it a viable tool for professionals, as...

Expert review by:

The HV20: Great for Amateurs, Not so Great for Professionals


The Canon HV20 replaces the HV10 and improves on many of the issues that the HV10 had. But, the Canon HV20 comes with its own problems. While these problems may prevent a professional from buying this camcorder, an amateur should be very pleased with...

Product Specifications

The name Canon has always meant photographic and broadcast television cameras with optical excellence, advanced image processing, superb performance, and the latest in technological advancements. Canon's High Definition video camcorders are no exception. The stylish Canon HV20 gives you the ultimate in HD video and digital photo quality with advanced features for the knowledgeable and demanding videographer. Its 10x optical zoom lens, 2.96 Megapixel CMOS image sensor and Canon's advanced DIGIC DV II image processor ensures meticulous detail and superior color reproduction. 24p Cinema Mode brings "film-look" options to the HV20 owner - as never before in this class. And, with its HD and Standard Definition recording modes, you can make the move to HD without making your SD equipment obsolete. The HV20 is easy to use and delivers the high level of performance you've come to expect from Canon. It's the premium quality High Definition camcorder that sophisticated and discerning videographers have been waiting for.

Audio Input

Microphone Operation Mode:Stereo
Microphone Technology:Electret condenser


Battery Form Factor:Manufacturer specific
Manufacturer Battery Name:Canon BP-2L13

Camcorder Features

High Definition Video Support:1080i
Low Lux / Night Mode: Yes
Widescreen Video Capture: Yes

Camera Flash

Type:Built-in flash

Digital Camera

Supported Flash Memory:miniSD Card

Dimensions & Weight


Display (Projector)

Diagonal Size:2.7in
Diagonal Size (metric):6.9cm
Display Form Factor:Rotating
Technology:TFT active matrix
Type:LCD display

Exposure Parameters

Shooting Programs:Beach / Fireworks / Night mode / Portrait mode / Snow / Sports mode / Spotlight / Sunset


Packaged Quantity:1
Product Line:Canon/Canon VIXIA

Lens System

Lens Aperture:F/1.8-3.0
Max Focal Length:61mm
Min Focal Length:6.1mm
Optical Zoom:10
Type:Zoom lens


Microsoft Certification:Certified for Windows Vista
Vista Certification:Certified for Windows Vista

Optical Sensor

Camcorder Effective Still Resolution:2.76Megapixel
Camcorder Effective Video Resolution:2.07Mpix
Camcorder Sensor Resolution:2.96Mpix
Optical Sensor Size:1/2.7"
Optical Sensor Size (metric):9.4 mm ( 1/2.7 ) / 9.4 mm ( 1/2.7" )
Optical Sensor Type:CMOS
Sensor Qty:1CMOS

Optical System

Built-in Optical Image Stabilizer: Yes
Image Stabilizer:Optical/Optical (SuperRange)

Service & Support

Type:1 year warranty

Storage Floppy Drive

Type: None

Video Input

Analog Video Format:NTSC
Digital Scene Transition:Black fader / Wipe fader
Digital Zoom:200
Media Type:Mini DV (HDV)
Shooting Modes:Digital photo mode
Special Effects:Art / Black & White / Low Sharpening / Neutral / Sepia / Skin Detail / Soft / Vivid
Still Image Format:JPEG


Image Aspect Ratio (camcorders):16:9
Viewfinder Color Support:Color
Viewfinder Type:LCD