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VIXIA HF S20

alaTest has collected and analyzed 41 reviews from magazines and websites. Opinions about the resolution and portability are on the whole positive. The image quality and size are also mentioned favorably. Some have doubts about the viewfinder and battery, while there are some mixed comments about the memory.

usability, size, image quality, portability, resolution

value for money, battery, viewfinder

We analyzed user and expert ratings, product age and more factors. Compared to other Camcorders the VIXIA HF S20 is awarded an overall alaScore™ of 86/100 = Very good quality.

See all Canon Camcorders

Review analysis

(Based on 41 reviews)

Expert Reviews  

User Reviews  

Showing 28 review(s)

Expert Reviews User Reviews
Showing 1 - 10 of 28 Show Reviews: in English | in other languages (11)

Expert review by:

Canon Vixia HF S20

 

Canon's 2010 HF S series of AVCHD camcorders consists of three models that, as usual, differ by memory configuration and the aforementioned viewfinder. Their key specs remain the same as their predecessors', with the same optics and sensor, but they...

Excellent set of manual features; dual SDHC slots; generally well-designed interface

Poorly designed touch-screen menu system; short battery life; defaults to low-quality video mode; doesn't support SDXC; relatively expensive

Though they're an excellent trio of camcorders, the Vixia HF S21, HF S20, and HF S200 are significantly more expensive than their respective competitors, especially since the S20 and S200 lack electronic viewfinders. If you can forgo some of the...

EDITORS' CHOICE

Expert review by:

Canon Vixia HF S20

 

We typically don't test pre-production models, but when Canon offered one of the few samples in the U.S. of its soon-to-be-released top-of-the-line camcorders, we couldn't resist. After all, this is the updated version of our 2009 Editor's Choice pick,...

Superior video and stills ; Excellent 3.5” touch screen ; 32GB built-in memory ; Dual SD cards for additional storage ; Good optical image stabilization system

Expensive ; Eats batteries; definitely grab a spare ; Digital noise without enough light (still/video) ; Not SDXC card compatible

You can't go wrong with the Vixia HF S20 as it comes from Canon's high-quality Vixia line of camcorders; the only question is which Vixia model suits your needs the best.

AWARD OF SUPERIORITY

Expert review by:

Canon Vixia HF S20

 

Being a video motion graphics artist first and a video editor second, it's fair to say that my role in the film world as a "shooter" is somewhat limited. However, there are times when I need to pick up a camera to get a project moving, or sometimes...

The Canon Vixia HF S20 holds versatility at a premium. It's simple and comfortable enough for a Soccer Dad to shoot his kid's games without even thinking of buying a tripod, yet it's sophisticated enough to compose high-quality film shots that rival...

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Expert review by:

Canon VIXIA HF S20

 

Overall, the Canon VIXIA HF S20 doesn't offer anything we haven't seen in other HDV camcorders. We did like the LUX rating but there were a few features that we felt were missing from this product that would have made it better. The limited memory of...

The camcorder has one of the lowest LUX ratings we've seen at 0.3, so you can film using only bright moonlight

The Canon VIXIA HF S20 only has 32GB of memory, which means you only get a few hours of HD recording time

This is a product with strong HD recording capabilities, but it doesn't have the high-end features to complement HD video capture.

Consumer review by:

Excellent video quality. Loaded w/ pro features.

 

I noticed other camera automatic controls don't work the way I want them...S20 works great and exceeds all expectations. I have the confidence that professionals have thought of the video necessaties and included them in this camera. I will take...

Noticeable difference in sensor size from Canon's M3XX series especially in low light. Large high resolution display is much sharper, easy to use due to size and more responsive. The video light is great and continous photo capability is AWESOME

Perhaps unreasonable at this price, but wish it had night shooting with the infrared green shot. The battery is not the large capacity available as upgrade. Wide angle is not wide enough, allows for upgrade. Wish it had literature on shooting ideas

Consumer review by:

Does everything it says it does and more

 

I haven't used this yet, but I traded in an HF M40 for it because there was a price drop within the return period with Best Buy. But, with more gb, some special focusing and light features, and the little built in flash, why not?

Low light capability; ease of use; memory; good size lcd screen; excellent choices in various lighting situations

Ridiculous no viewfinder at this price

Consumer review by:

"Great for middle and high school students"

 

Great for classroom use, it's expensive, but sturdy, which is what is needed when the camera is handled by many. I would have liked to have it use Final Cut Pro without having to download in imovie first, (sucking up much of my boot drive's memory!...

Easy to use, good mount for extra mic (doesn't wobble)--see comment below. Can edit clips in the camera which is good if you read my summary below...

Ability to edit in Final Cut Pro would have been great - students like iMovie, which is what the camera automatically downloads to if using a mac--imovie sucks up a lot of memory.

Consumer review by:

Great for middle and high school students

 

Great for classroom use, it's expensive, but sturdy, which is what is needed when the camera is handled by many. I would have liked to have it use Final Cut Pro without having to download in imovie first, (sucking up much of my boot drive's memory!...

Easy to use, good mount for extra mic (doesn't wobble)--see comment below. Can edit clips in the camera which is good if you read my summary below

Ability to edit in Final Cut Pro would have been great - students like iMovie, which is what the camera automatically downloads to if using a mac--imovie sucks up a lot of memory

Consumer review by:

"Does everything it says it does and more"

 

I haven't used this yet, but I traded in an HF M40 for it because there was a price drop within the return period with Best Buy. But, with more gb, some special focusing and light features, and the little built in flash, why not?

Low light capability; ease of use; memory; good size lcd screen; excellent choices in various lighting situations.

Ridiculous no viewfinder at this price

Consumer review by:

Excellent video quality. Loaded w/ pro features.

 

I noticed other camera automatic controls don't work the way I want them...S20 works great and exceeds all expectations. I have the confidence that professionals have thought of the video necessaties and included them in this camera. I will take...

Noticeable difference in sensor size from Canon's M3XX series especially in low light. Large high resolution display is much sharper, easy to use due to size and more responsive. The video light is great and continous photo capability is AWESOME

Perhaps unreasonable at this price, but wish it had night shooting with the infrared green shot. The battery is not the large capacity available as upgrade. Wide angle is not wide enough, allows for upgrade. Wish it had literature on shooting ideas

Product Specifications

Canon's VIXIA HF S20 dual flash memory camcorder, with an internal flash drive and two SD memory card slots, offers Canon's most sophisticated feature set to date - blurring the line between consumer and professional. Canon's superlative proprietary imaging technologies help deliver video and 8.0-megapixel photos with incredible detail and lifelike color. Touch & Track allows you to achieve sharp focus and precise exposure for any subject, simply by touching the generous 3.5" high resolution (922,000 dot) touch panel LCD. Native 24p mode perfectly matches the frame rate of film. And 5.1-channel surround sound ensures your audio complements the stunning realism of your video.

Audio Input

Microphone Operation Mode:Stereo
Microphone Technology:Electret condenser
Type:Microphone

Battery

Battery Form Factor:Manufacturer specific
Manufacturer Battery Name:Canon BP-808

Camcorder Features

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

Camera Flash

Type:Built-in flash

Digital Camera

Supported Flash Memory:SD Memory Card / SDHC Memory Card

Dimensions & Weight

Depth:5.5in
Height:2.9in
Weight:16.2oz
Width:3in

Display (Projector)

Diagonal Size:3.5in
Diagonal Size (metric):8.9cm
Display Form Factor:Rotating
Technology:TFT active matrix
Type:LCD display

Exposure Parameters

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

Flash Memory

Form Factor:Integrated
Storage Capacity:32GB

Header

Manufacturer:Canon
Model:HF S20
Packaged Quantity:1
Product Line:Canon VIXIA

Lens System

Lens Aperture:F/1.8-3.0
Max Focal Length:64mm
Min Focal Length:6.4mm
Optical Zoom:10
Type:Zoom lens

Optical Sensor

Camcorder Effective Still Resolution:8.02Megapixel
Camcorder Effective Video Resolution:6.01Mpix
Camcorder Sensor Resolution:8.59Mpix
Optical Sensor Size:1/2.6 / 1/2.6"
Optical Sensor Size (metric):9.8 mm ( 1/2.6 ) / 9.8 mm ( 1/2.6" )
Optical Sensor Type:CMOS
Sensor Qty:1CMOS

Optical System

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

Service & Support

Type:1 year warranty

Storage Floppy Drive

Type: None

Video Input

Analog Video Format:NTSC
Digital Scene Transition:Sepia fader / Black & white fader / Wipe fader
Digital Video Format:AVCHD
Digital Zoom:200
Face Detection: Yes
Media Type:Flash card
Shooting Modes:Digital photo mode
Special Effects:Skin Detail / Custom Effect / Vivid / Low Sharpening / Neutral / Soft
Still Image Format:JPEG
Type:Camcorder

Viewfinder

Viewfinder Type: None
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