The Canon Vixia HF S21 ($1399 MSRP) is the new-and-improved flagship camcorder from Canon, which also features the HF S20 and HF S200 (all three are new models for 2010). With 64GB of internal flash memory, two SD/SDHC memory card slots, and a brand new touchscreen LCD, Canon appears to have put in quite an effort in revamping last year’s HF S11.
The VIXIA HF S21 appears to break away from the pack with its sleek body design, manual focus, revolutionary instant auto focus, massive storage capabilities and HD format. The lens is always an important primary detail, and the VIXIA HF S21 won’t disappoint with its large lens and manual focus. Fully equipped with all the audio and video outputs for even the broadcast pro, this camera comes loaded, including the ability to attach lens accessories. We were impressed before it was even turned on.
Canon’s VIXIA HF S21 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder puts 1920 * 1080 HD recording and a multitude of other features at your fingertips. The HF S21 captures up to 24 hours of HD video to the camera’s 64GB internal flash memory, and lets you store even more footage to optional SD/SDHC memory cards, including Eye-Fi memory cards, using the dual SD memory card slots. In addition to video recording, the HF S21 also captures 8MP stills, and hosts a number of settings and functions to enhance your photo experience.
Low light, bright light, contrasting lighting, fast movements… HD footage shot on the VIXIA HF S21 truly shines on its 3.5″ high-resolution LCD with touch-panel features. Don’t call Fox Studios too quickly, though: once the footage is imported to an editing station, the footage reveals a slightly dull color and low saturation. This is common with Canon’s video series dating back to the L1 and XL1. One solution would lead you to post production editing software, where even an inexperienced editor could simply fix the brightness and contrast.
Powering on the camera leads to fingers running across the feature-rich camera body with satisfaction. Canon spared no expense on buttons, dials and switches with this VIXIA HF S21. Component out, two SD memory slots, HDMI out and an 8-megapixel snapshot function starts us off in the right direction for a great camera.
The VIXIA HF S21 sports both 24p and 30p recording modes for achieving that professional “film-look”. With all these features packed into a compact camcorder at this price point you can’t go wrong.
Video Recording Format: MPEG4-AVC / H.264
Image Sensor: 1/2.6-inch CMOS
Total Pixels: Approx. 8.59 Megapixels
Video Effective Pixels: Approx. 6.01 Megapixels (3264×1840)
Photo Effective Pixels: 16:9 approx. 6.01 Megapixels (3264 x 1840); 4:3 approx. 8.02 Megapixels (3264×2456)
Frame Rate: 60i, native 24p (records at 24p), 24p progressive (records at 60i), 30p progressive (records at 60i)
Maximum Recording Time: 64GB internal Flash drive: recording time based on internal Flash memory only. Greater capacity is possible when SD memory cards are also used (2 card slots). LP (5Mbps) 24 hours 30 minutes; SP (7Mbps) 19 hours 10 minutes; XP+ (12Mbps) 11 hours 30 minutes; FXP (17Mbps) 8 hours 20 minutes – allows 1920×1080 full HD recording; MXP (24Mbps) 5 hours 55 minutes – allows 1920×1080 full HD recording
LCD: 3.5-inch high-resolution touch panel widescreen color LCD (approx. 922,000 dots)
Viewfinder: .27-inch, approx. 123,000 dots
Manual Exposure: Yes
Shutter Speed: Auto/manual
Maximum Shutter Speed: Movie: 1/2000; photo: 1/500
Lens f-Stop: f/1.8 – f/3
Filter Diameter: 58mm
Minimum Illumination: 0.3 lx (Low Light Mode)
Zoom: 10x optical; 200x digital
Focal Length: 6.4 – 64mm
Recording Media: Internal Flash drive (64GB) or SD memory cards (2 slots)
Microphone Terminal: 3.5mm stereo mini-jack
Weight (fully loaded): 1.2 lbs.
- Native 24p
- Component and HDMI output
- Ultra-crisp focus
- Effortless video transfer to computer
- Grain in low light
- Colors are a bit dull