Review Of The Canon Vixia HG21 Camcorder

Camcorders — on September 7, 2009 at 7:15 pm | 14 Comments

Sum ‘n’ Substance:

Thumbs up: Mind-blowing video quality; CODEC capable of recording 24Mbps; 120GB hard drive; full HD CMOS image sensor and advanced DIGIC DV II image processor; optical image stabilization; instant auto-Focus; viewfinder is at eye- level.

Thumbs down: Its design is bulky and pretty average; heavy to lug around; manual focus is of no use.

Inside the trunk: Record HD Video Directly to SDHC Memory Cards; Canon 12x HD Video Lens; 3.3 Megapixel HD CMOS Image Sensor; DIGIC DV II Image Processor;1920 x 1080 Full HD Recording; Optical Image Stabilization; Instant AF; 24Mbps Recording; Digital Video Format: AVCHD; 120GB in built Hard-disk as well as SD/SDHC Memory Card; 2.7 inch Multi-Angle Vivid Widescreen LCD; Intelligent Lithium-ion Battery; 3.1 Megapixel Photos; Advanced Photo Features; HDMI Terminal; Microphone Terminal along with Manual Audio Level Control; Digital Video Format; Auto mode and Red-eye reduction; infra-red Remote control; in built micro-phone; supports USB 2.0 Hi-Speed; Price: $744.00 – $929.99.

The whiz-kid speaks: Canon has launched the big-daddy of all HD camcorders, the Vixia HG21. It is similar to the HF11 and has an outstanding picture quality but in this case instead of recording into an internal flash memory, it uses a hard-disk for recording. Let’s delve into the HG21 and see what its all about.

Razzle- dazzle: The HG21 looks smart no doubt, but it’s fat and heavy and can be a real pain in the neck, figuratively speaking, when you have to run around your subject. Measuring at 3.1 x 3 x 5.5 inches in WHD and it tips the scales at 19 ounces. The HG11 comes in a smart black coat with a very smooth and neat finish to it. The enormous 12x optical zoom lens takes up most of the face of the HG21. The wind-filter covered mike is just below it. There also is a flash and an AF sensor. The buttons on the HG11 are large and easy to maneuver.

Inside dope:
When you turn the power on, the inbuilt lens shutter opens up and the magic begins to unfold. To the left of the camcorder you find the 2.7 inch, 211000 pixels, widescreen swing-out LCD. There also is a pull-out viewfinder when the lighting conditions are too extreme for the LCD screen. Adjustments for the monitor are also provided, but they are all buried deep in the menu system. A five-way joystick and Function button is introduced to navigate frequently needed settings during shooting.

The stick also lets you navigate through menus and make alterations. The bottom controls give you an access to the main functions, allowing you to adjust the zoom, enable the backlight control and start or stop your videos and stills during playback.

On the body there are just two controls, the Easy and Display/Battery Info. This gives information about the camcorder when the screen is open. The easy button is child’s play, you switch it on and the camcorder handles everything, mind you in this mode no adjustments will be allowed. The display button lets you choose whether you want the screen dotted with a million icons or with none at all and also shows the amount battery remaining, to the tee. The grid lines available help you in matching your desired horizons.

To the right side we have the, 120GB hard disk. Close to lens are the A/v out and the mike input.

Moving to the performance of the HG21, the recording takes place at a bit rate of 24 Mbps which means the video is of A-grade quality. The recording is in an AVCHD format and can hold data up to 45 hours. When we connected the HG21 to a wide-screen plasma TV, the higher-bit-rate video displayed a greater luminance noise than the lower bit rate 17Mbps. There was sizeable difference between the two.

The Canon Vixia HG21 Camcorder

The lens was equally amazing too, the SuperRange optical image stabilization worked like a charm. It was also able to adjust very quickly to the changing lighting conditions. All the recordings tested were vivid, sharp and had good saturation but there is no face-detection available.

The HG21 is shipped along with a rechargeable battery, AC adapter, remote, component, A/V and USB cables, and an owner’s manual. The softwares that come along are the Pixela ImageMixer 3 SE and Digital Video Solution disk Ver. 31.0 software. While the Pixela helps you in managing, editing and burning your footage, the other software is meant for downloading and editing still frames.

Nitty-gritty: The HG21 could’ve had a better LCD, been lighter in weight so that you could be more agile, the face-detection could also be included but it isn’t and it is not light on fuel either. All are valid drawbacks, but should most certainly not stand in your way of getting one of these. It is reasonably priced and packs quite a lot of features that work outstandingly well. It is also very easy to use and shoots in HD quality, what more could you ask for.


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    14 Comments

  • Pearl says:

    With terrific video quality, 24Mbps,120GB hd, image sensor, optical image stabilization features, I would not worry about size or anything else. What can be the issue with features like that?

  • Pearl says:

    I don’t know what you guys are thinking. But if you intend to make full use of the camera then weight happens to be my issue as I didn’t use the last one I had for same reason. Do you know any other camcorder with same features in light weight?

  • Alden Jerry says:

    The Canon Vixia HG21 is an excellent HD camcorder which is reasonably easy to operate out of the box and looks good, too. I love its video quality and full HD CMOS image sensor. It perfectly matches my camera needs. I have been using canon for the past 4-5 years.

  • Audrey Jolie says:

    Let me start by saying that I’ve been using camcorders for 20 years, way back to the full sized VHS days. After using HG21, I can say that this product comes very handy. I would like to purchase one more camcorder for my bro. No other camera can match its quality. Extremely outstanding.

  • Tismer says:

    My first camcorder…I got on my wedding. We do have the ability to use our small Canon digital camera in this mode but this is a far cry from that. I was excited to get one and I am very satisfied with this. I must appreciate your review as it includes everything I want to say about camcorder.

  • Shannon says:

    The best thing about this camera, in addition to the fact that the HD videos are breathtaking, is that the built in hard drive is 120 gigs…wow! So, unless you get nervous about hard drive failure, you can go for a long time without having to move them off the camcorder.

  • Sherry Backham says:

    I am very interested in reading reviews for my camcorder. So far I am very pleased…no camera will ever be perfect and do all things so, regardless of the quality or cost, there will always be some element of compromise. I have already ordered another battery as well as an SD card for it.

  • Joseph Born says:

    This is best HD camcorder on the market. It has amazing picture quality. The clarity is similar to watching a blue-ray movie. Trust me……I love the huge hard drive. It takes hours of video without any worries.

  • Allan Rim says:

    Canon camcorder offers quick and easy transferring of video clips to my computer. I used to spend the whole day uploading DV tapes. Now, through the USB is 10 times faster. The editing software is very easy to use….!! Great review…would like to read more.

  • Gressly says:

    The best feature according to me is 12X optical zoom – this works extremely well, as advertised. Digital zoom takes away from the quality of the recording, so I prefer to stick with the optical zoom. The controls for the zoom are very fluid and smooth.

  • Laura Hayi says:

    Picture quality is amazing- in daylight and indoors with good light… I must say exceptional picture quality. Playing the video on my HDTV is just as good as any broadcast HDTV quality you’ll ever see on TV.… I get excited when I talk about my Canon Vixia.

  • Lottie Carrot says:

    As I know…only very few people can hold anything completely still….Apart from a professional photographer. With the image stabilization feature in Canon HG21, you don’t have to worry about it – the camcorder handles it for you and does a great job of it.

  • Fabienne says:

    One review here mentions download of videos to computer via USB as very quick, but I have read several reviews saying that the AVCHD format is not compatible with Wondows Vista and that transferring videos to a computer is actually really difficult and not possible with the software provided (PIxela image mixer). I have also read that when vhen videoss are transferred via Pixela or some other software, they are said to be bumpy and jerky and poor quality. I have a laptop running on Vista and would like to buy the HG21, but I am now concerned that I won’t be able to downlaod videos to my computer. So is it possible and easy to download vids from the HG21′s HDD to a PC computer running on Vista? And how good are they? I need to project them for presentations and play them regularly on computers. Any advice much appreciated.

  • Thanks for the great review. It really helped me out!
    .-= Custom Dog Tags´s last blog ..Military Dog Tags =-.

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