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by PowerReviews
CanonVIXIA HF S21 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder
 
4.7

(based on 71 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (52)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (17)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

97%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Great picture quality (47)
  • Zoom range/performance (44)
  • Easy to use (43)
  • Large clear LCD (41)
  • Image stabilization (39)

Cons

  • Complicated to operate (4)
  • Poor in low light (4)
  • Short battery life (3)

Best Uses

  • Home movies (37)
  • Travel (36)
  • HD shooting (35)
  • Documentaries (26)
  • Weddings (25)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Casual user (16), Enthusiast (15), Semi-pro (14), Pro videographer (6)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (46), Yes (4)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Wait until the pros discover this!

As a video pro, I'm pretty picky. I bought this camera to use along with a Panasonic HVX-200, as a backup and second camera. I've compared footage shot with both cameras and...Read complete review

As a video pro, I'm pretty picky. I bought this camera to use along with a Panasonic HVX-200, as a backup and second camera. I've compared footage shot with both cameras and without knowing which was used, I wouldn't be able to tell which was which.

I can see how consumers would like it, because it does a great job for home movies in the fully automatic mode, even though the video tends to be a bit overexposed. As a pro, I love the manual features, especially the ability to defeat both video and audio AGC. With the video gain limit set for zero or 6 db, the blacks are velvety smooth with no grain or noise. The auto-focus is very smooth (and can be easily turned off!) and the motion stabilization is also very good. With a custom setup, colors snap and fine detail is wonderful. Unlike other AVCHD cameras I've used, there seem to be no artifacts from compression. The native 24p is also wonderful and goes flawlessly right into Final Cut Pro. I love using 24p with a 1/24-sec shutter speed because it looks very smooth, even when converted to 60i. Since the imaging chip is bigger than most cameras in this class, you can get useful shallow depth-of-field even with medium zoom settings. My biggest gripe (and why I gave it four stars instead of five) is that the wide angle end of the zoom is not nearly wide enough. While the CAWD58H wide angle adapter solves this problem nicely and with good image quality, without it the camera is almost useless shooting indoors or for any kind of architectural shots. With this camera a wide angle adapter is a MUST. You will also want a couple of the higher capacity batteries--the little one that comes with it only runs about an hour.

Audio recording is great with both manual control and the ability to leave the automatic microphone attenuator turned on. It's the best of both worlds for audio. I've used 3 different pro mics with it so far, and all sound great. There's no problem using XLR mics with just a simple adapter cable. Actually, I made my own adapter cables that let me use two mics externally, one on each channel or to use a stereo XLR mic. Even though the manual audio control affects both channels equally, the dynamic range is good enough that this is not a problem at all.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

It's a Canon so it has to be good!

Well It is supposed to be compact and easy to carry. But by the time you have your ideal camera, it is not even lift-able. You have to buy extra batteries,because what...Read complete review

Well It is supposed to be compact and easy to carry. But by the time you have your ideal camera, it is not even lift-able. You have to buy extra batteries,because what comes with it is not enough. You need a charger,as Canon claims. You need a Tele-extension,and a Wide-extension. You definitely need a bag. Nowadays they won't even give you a neck strap .You need 2 high class SD cards. By the time you purchase an adequate microphone and flash light you are broke. It seems like it is best for one to stick to something small and inexpensive unless you have a rich uncle who is ready to go!

Reviewed by 71 customers

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5.0

Little camera with big features...

By Aleksandr

from Los Angeles, CA

About Me Video Enthusiast

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Built in memory
  • Easy to Use
  • Good Image Stabilization
  • Great Sound
  • Great Zoom
  • Large Clear LCD
  • Zoom range/performance

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Documentaries
    • HD Shooting
    • Home Movies
    • Movies/Short Films
    • Travel
    • Weddings/Events

    Comments about Canon VIXIA HF S21 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder:

    I needed this camera to film my wedding... I love the Cinematic feature in the camera it gives an excellent movie feel like.

    Can't find anything that isn't great about it, I am very satisfied.
    But if you are a professional then you need to consider buying another type, this is just for personal use.

    I am a professional photographer, but call me old fashion let the DSLR's to take the photos and the Video Camera take the video.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

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    4.0

    Great video - poor operating system

    By Tony2

    from Minnesota

    About Me Video Enthusiast

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Good Image Stabilization
    • Great Picture Quality
    • Great Zoom

    Cons

    • Complicated To Operate
    • Poor Editing Software
    • Poor lcd screen

    Best Uses

      Comments about Canon VIXIA HF S21 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder:

      Great video. But touch control on LCD screen is difficult to use. Bring back the joy stick. Can not see images on LCD finder in sunlight. ImageMixer software is a joke. Difficult to use. Multiple steps. Can not use Windows movie maker with high definition recording.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      5.0

      Excellent Camera

      By Agapevideo

      from Mesa,AZ

      About Me Semi-pro Videographer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy to Use
      • Good Image Stabilization
      • Great Picture Quality
      • Large Clear LCD

      Cons

      • No external zoom control

      Best Uses

      • HD Shooting
      • SportsAction

      Comments about Canon VIXIA HF S21 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder:

      This is one of the best of the Vixia camera's it is feature rich and I like the two SD card slots to go along with the internal storage. The only feature I wish they had was the ability to connect an external zoom control for more smooth control.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      4.0

      High Quality HD Video

      By digidave

      from Fairfield, CT

      About Me Semi-pro Videographer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy to Use
      • Great Picture Quality
      • Large Clear LCD

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • HD Shooting

        Comments about Canon VIXIA HF S21 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder:

        I bought this to record student college music auditions in my project studio. Importing to my Mac Pro is straight forward. While the imported video looks great on my Mac, I just wish iMovie'11 could produce a better looking DVD. Still, overall I am satisfied. A few small complaints: The battery does not release easily so I need to coax it out with a slender screwdriver. This could be a problem when shooting a live event, and you need to replace an expired battery quickly. The manual is inadequate and fails to acknowledge Macs as a likely editing platform. I still haven't put this camera through all it's paces yet but so far I like it.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        SUPREME CAMCORDER!!!

        By ZakAttack

        from Orange County, CA

        About Me Casual User

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Easy to Use
        • Good Image Stabilization
        • Good in Low Light
        • Large Clear LCD
        • Zoom range/performance

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • HD Shooting
          • Home Movies
          • Travel

          Comments about Canon VIXIA HF S21 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder:

          Recently purchased this camera since having a baby in order to have the best possible footage from Day 1.

          First impressions...all buttons are easily accessible whether using the hand holding the camera or free hand.

          LCD...crystal clear, one of the best out of all camcorders I've tried out there. Very crisp, and sharp.

          Startup time...instantaneous. Used similar cameras with almost identical specs from makers such as Sharp and Sony however this S21 is quick to get you shooting, EXTREMELY!

          Most favorite feature: Image stabilization is sensational on this camcorder. Could not ask for better

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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          5.0

          Great Camcorder

          By Billotv

          from Orlando, FL

          About Me Pro Videographer

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Accepts Eye-Fi card
          • Good Image Stabilization
          • Good in Low Light
          • Great Picture Quality
          • Great Zoom
          • Has 2 SDHC slots
          • Has separate viewfinder
          • Highly shock resistant
          • Large Clear LCD
          • Large memory 64 GB

          Cons

          • Complicated To Operate
          • Short Battery Life

          Best Uses

          • Documentaries
          • HD Shooting
          • Home Movies
          • Travel
          • Weddings/Events

          Comments about Canon VIXIA HF S21 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder:

          I use this camera for shooting documentaries as well as personal use. It replaces an earlier Canon camera I had that lacked a viewfinder. This is a definite plus.

          The picture quality is excellent, and I am very pleased with the options available for shooting. The only downside is that it is difficult to use the touchscreen while shooting with the viewfinder, but once you have programmed the mode you want it is a breeze to use.

          Image stabilization is great with this camera. No more row boat video for handheld shots. It gave excellent results on a recent trip to Glacier National Park, both video and stills.

          I also purchased an Eye-Fi 8 GB card and a Pearstone BP-27 battery to use with this camera. The BP-27 greatly extends shooting time, and the Eye-Fi card makes transferring videos and photos a snap.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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          4.0

          Great Buy

          By Britni

          from Dallas, TX

          Verified Buyer

          Comments about Canon VIXIA HF S21 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder:

          I use a Mac and it is very easy to import video from this camera.

          Share this review

           
          5.0

          great camcorder, no frills

          By Zozi

          from Baltimore, MD

          About Me Semi-pro Videographer

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Easy to Use
          • Good in Low Light
          • Great Sound
          • Great Zoom
          • Large Clear LCD

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • HD Shooting

            Comments about Canon VIXIA HF S21 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder:

            Excellent presumer choice!

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

            Share this review

             
            5.0

            Great small camera

            By Mac

            from Monterey, CA

            About Me Pro Videographer

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Easy to Use
            • Great Picture Quality

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Documentaries

              Comments about Canon VIXIA HF S21 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder:

              Very useful because it's size means is can be always be available.

              Share this review

               
              4.0

              Great small camera

              By Mac

              from Monterey, CA

              About Me Pro Videographer

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Easy to Use
              • Great Picture Quality

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Documentaries

                Comments about Canon VIXIA HF S21 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder:

                It's amazing what you can do with this little thing!

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

                Share this review

                 
                5.0

                Excellent Camera and purchase

                By Bfmartin

                from Lexington, KY

                About Me Video Enthusiast

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Easy to Use
                • Great Picture Quality

                Cons

                • Short Battery Life

                Best Uses

                • Home Movies
                • Indoors/Low Light
                • Travel

                Comments about Canon VIXIA HF S21 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder:

                I am a prosumer and this camera has been great. Good lowlight and great for videoing the children. However, just as some have mentioned: battery life is short and the touch screen is difficult as the icons are small and you seem to always hit the one next to the one you want. Overall, the camera is as advertised and a good buy. Just remember to buy an extra battery if you need more than a 1 1/2 of record time without recharging.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

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                5.0

                Vixia HF 21 is a strong consumer camera

                By Pics By Paris

                from Ohio

                About Me Pro Videographer

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Easy to Use
                • Good Image Stabilization
                • Good in Low Light
                • Great Picture Quality
                • Great Sound
                • Great Zoom
                • Has a 5 quick adjust knob
                • Large Clear LCD
                • Zoom range/performance

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Bands and Dance movement
                  • Documentaries
                  • HD Shooting
                  • Home Movies
                  • Indoors/Low Light
                  • Movies/Short Films
                  • Travel
                  • Weddings/Events

                  Comments about Canon VIXIA HF S21 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder:

                  In the two weeks of using this camera, the first with a friends' which compelled me to get this, I have shot several bands and dance companies and have seen the versatility of light adjusments and capturing active movement without loss of detail. This camera offers controls on the verge of pro cameras. The results of quality in full HD is superb.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

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                  5.0

                  Consumer Reports High Rating was spot on

                  By DP

                  from Boston, MA

                  About Me Semi-pro Videographer

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Easy to Use
                  • Good Image Stabilization
                  • Great Picture Quality

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Documentaries
                    • HD Shooting
                    • Home Movies
                    • Travel

                    Comments about Canon VIXIA HF S21 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder:

                    I use my S21 for semi-professional work, and it has lived up to all expectations. Consumer Reports rated it the highest of all HD cameras, and it lives up to all expectations. The only down side is that it is a little bigger than other cameras (likely because it has a viewfinder attached) and the touch screen is still a little sticky, but these aren't major issues once you get used to them.

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

                    Share this review

                     
                    5.0

                    Awesome camera

                    By Toni

                    from Munster, Indiana

                    About Me Casual User

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Easy to Use
                    • Good Image Stabilization
                    • Good in Low Light
                    • Great Picture Quality
                    • Great Sound
                    • Great Zoom
                    • Large Clear LCD
                    • Zoom range/performance

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • HD Shooting
                      • Indoors/Low Light
                      • Travel

                      Comments about Canon VIXIA HF S21 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder:

                      Very light weight and compact for traveling, etc. Touch screen can be improved but functions adequately. Too many features to address but all are great to work with.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • Yes

                      Share this review

                      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      5.0

                      wow

                      By tony g

                      from san antonio, tx

                      About Me Pro Videographer

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Easy to Use
                      • Good Image Stabilization
                      • Great Picture Quality
                      • Great Sound
                      • Large Clear LCD
                      • Small footprint
                      • Zoom range/performance

                      Cons

                      • Limited Zoom

                      Best Uses

                      • Documentaries
                      • HD Shooting
                      • Home Movies
                      • Movies/Short Films
                      • Travel
                      • Weddings/Events

                      Comments about Canon VIXIA HF S21 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder:

                      I purchased this camera to take on a trip to africa in sept 2011. So far based on my tests of this unit, i am amazed at what this camera is capable of doing.The internal 64g and separate sdhc slots make this one heck of a recording mobile device. I shoot at 24mbs and change from cinemode to 1080 at 24 and 30p and am impressed with the quality. Granted its not a professional camera of which i own several, but for the cost and the image that it produces, it is well beyond a b-roll camera.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

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                      5.0

                      Perfect family video camera and much mor

                      By MJ

                      from Portola Valley, CA

                      About Me Casual User

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Easy to Use
                      • Good Image Stabilization
                      • Good in Low Light
                      • Great Picture Quality
                      • Great Sound
                      • Great Zoom
                      • Large Clear LCD
                      • Zoom range/performance

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Home Movies

                        Comments about Canon VIXIA HF S21 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder:

                        Compact.
                        Easy to use.
                        Lightweight.
                        Ability to be used as basic, automatic video camera but still has many other more sophisticated options.

                        • Was this a gift?:
                        • Yes

                        Share this review

                         
                        4.0

                        Light Weight and packs a punch

                        By Paul

                        from Sacramento, CA

                        About Me Semi-pro Videographer

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Easy to Use
                        • Good Image Stabilization
                        • Great Picture Quality
                        • Great Sound
                        • Great Zoom
                        • Large Clear LCD

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Documentaries
                          • Home Movies
                          • Movies/Short Films
                          • Travel
                          • Weddings/Events

                          Comments about Canon VIXIA HF S21 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder:

                          Extremely user friendly, light weight, and good quality.Negative parts would include the proprietary Canon mini shoe and the fact that all the settings are on the touch screen. If you are filming and need to adjust a setting, you have to be careful not to shake the camera. Get a bigger battery, stock only lasts 60min.

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

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                          5.0

                          Great video camera

                          By John

                          from Lake Mary, fl

                          About Me Casual User

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

                          • Easy to Use
                          • Good Image Stabilization
                          • Great Picture Quality
                          • Great Sound
                          • Great Zoom
                          • Large Clear LCD
                          • Light weigth

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                            • HD Shooting
                            • Home Movies
                            • Travel

                            Comments about Canon VIXIA HF S21 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder:

                            I used camera on a recent vacation and was very impressed. Images came out better then expected and reaction time is very fast. [...] Price was lowest I had found [...]

                            • Was this a gift?:
                            • No

                            Share this review

                             
                            4.0

                            Good consumer grade buy.

                            By rrwrites

                            from Atlanta, GA

                            About Me Semi-pro Videographer

                            Verified Buyer

                            Pros

                            • Easy to Use
                            • Good Image Stabilization
                            • Great Picture Quality
                            • Large Clear LCD

                            Cons

                              Best Uses

                              • Home Movies

                              Comments about Canon VIXIA HF S21 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder:

                              Make sure you set record mode in actual HD. It does not default that way. Also setting frame rate to 30P creates the best overall image.

                              • Was this a gift?:
                              • No

                              Share this review

                               
                              5.0

                              Novice succeeds

                              By Video newcomer

                              from Williamsburg, VA

                              About Me Casual User

                              Verified Buyer

                              Pros

                              • Easy to Use
                              • Great Picture Quality

                              Cons

                                Best Uses

                                • HD Shooting

                                Comments about Canon VIXIA HF S21 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder:

                                The camera is a delight to learn. As a total novice, I could be overwhelmed with all the features. But the instruction book gave me a basic understanding and a colleague helped me with the baseline applications. A good start. My projects involve interviewing artist and capturing their work on camera. I bought supporting infrastructure, battery/recharger, external microphone and a few other extras but now have a terrific instrument. Light weight and easy to handle.

                                • Was this a gift?:
                                • No

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