Updated: May 9, 2015

Best Canon Camcorders - Reviews and Buying Guide:

The Canon Camcorder that Best Suits You - Once upon a time, the only purpose of a home video camera was to shoot films to bore your friends and keep them for a lifetime. True, those precious family memories were treasured forever by the people in the videos, but they really didn't appeal to many others. Not to mention, they were of poor quality, the cameras themselves were bulky, and everything was too expensive. Usher in the age of the camcorder and the Internet, when home video is viewed around the world by people on Youtube, Facebook, and other social media sites. Many people are shooting their own amateur movies, not just family films, while the memories captured in the traditional family film can be preserved for a lifetime. The Canon company has long been recognized as a world leader in electronics (view Canon Camcorders here) , and its line of camcorders have been rated at the top of the heap by many consumer interest experts, including Consumer Reports. But, which of these quality Canon camcorders will suit your needs best? How much can you expect to pay for the Canon camcorder of your choice? What are the different features which set Canons apart from each other? Let's take a look at answers to all these questions below.


Different Types of Canon Camcorders - In your search for the perfect Canon camcorder, it is important to understand the differences in each model. What sets one line apart from another in the Canon world? As with all camcorders, Canons are broken down by the way in which they record the media filmed on them (there is also a size differentiation which we will get to in a moment). The prices of these different cameras may be one of the contributing factors in your decision, as well as the method of storage you prefer. First, we should mention that Canon, like all electronics companies, rarely sells analog cameras anymore. Almost all Canon products you will find in stores or in reviews are digital, for the sake of simplicity and assimilation with televisions, computers, DVD players, and other devices on which we view media today. Within the digital world, there are two increasingly diverging recording methods, known simply as high definition (HD) and standard. We will delve more into high definition Canon camcorders in the next session. For both standard and HD cameras, there are about half a dozen different types. The first type are the miniDV Canon camcorders. These store information on cassette tapes, which are easy to find, easy to use, and pretty inexpensive as well. Canon's offering in the miniDV line is the ZR 960 (miniDV camcorders here). It's the only mimiDV camcorder that Consumer Reports even bothered to rate in their section for these electronics, and it received a mark of Good (57/100), with only the stability of the image rating poor. This is due to the fact that unlike other camcorder models, the ZR 960 and other miniDV camcorders does not come with an image stabilizer, something needed for when you use those multi-level zoom settings (the ZR 960 series has optical zoom capacities such as 10x, 12x, 15x, and 20x, which means you can enlarge an image by that much). These cameras cost around $250 and it's worth noting that the cassettes are fragile, and can tangle or get jammed in the camcorder itself. In addition, transfer to your media can take a while, as it is dependent on real time transfer through a Firewire or USB. Also, a single offering from Canon is the DC410, a camcorder which records images on a DVD disc. The DC410 was also the only camcorder of its kind rated by Consumer Reports, at $260 offering good value for the price with a score of 62/100. The stability of the image was rated as high as CR goes, although the low light picture quality (something you might want to think about when shooting evening ball games or even inside) was rated poor. That kind of problem can be fixed by getting a camera which has both an eye view finder and an LCD screen (keeping in mind that an LCD screen will use up batteries very quickly). DVD storage is advantageous as the discs are durable and compact, and when editing you can jump from one screen to another. However, it can be difficult to transfer the images over to your computer. Also, you have to be quite discerning about which types of discs you use to record using this digital video camera; DVD RAM is not compatible with your DVD player, but you can rewrite these discs. DVD-R cannot be written over, but they can be played on most new DVD players. Because computer style storage is the most convenient for many customers, you will find that the Canon digital camcorder line offering hard drive and flash memory storage options are the largest. Flash memory camcorders from Canon store the images on memory sticks, and can record from 15 minutes to one hour of footage. The Camcorder FS200 ($280), FS21 ($450), and FS22 ($575) all rated highly on Consumer Reports, due to their great stabilizers and audio capabilities. The two more expensive models also earned top marks shooting in both high and low light; the FS 22 has the added feature of touchscreen LCD. This offers a menu easier to access and follow while recording, since it appears right on the screen. However, as noted by camcorderinfo.com, like all touchscreen models there were issues with the menu working properly. You can browse the best selling Canon camcorders here.

High Definition Camcorders:

Hard drive camcorders such as the Vixia HF 200 store the images on a hard drive just like a computer. They have the most storage capacity of any of the camcorder lines, as well as the easiest transfer capacity. Moreover, you can easily jump from one scene to the next while uploading, making the entire process straightforward and painless even for amateur video shooters. At $550, they are getting a little on the pricey side. For camcorders, Vixia is the high definition line of video recorders. They contain the full range of recording features, but the difference is the imaging technology. High definition cameras shoot images at 1080i (the same imaging you will see on digital television) or 720p, a lower resolution but still offering superior picture quality when viewed on a high def capable machine. That last part is key; high definition footage will look worse than standard when played on a standard television or DVD player; they are best played on high def TVs and Blue Ray players. The Vixia digital Canon camcorders are available in all storage models; the hard drive versions such as the VV40 will cost around $1000. They also come with the features to justify the price, including a beautiful little HD/SD option switch. The Vixia RF 100, at the lower end of the price scale at just $500, uses Flash Memory to record and does not have added features. I have personally owned the HF10 for over a year now and the HD video footage I shoot with my family is great. I burn the video on DVD's and play them back on my Blu-Ray player that looks tremendous on a 1080p flat screen TV. One of the top rated models (per experts and consumers) is the Canon VIXIA HF S100 HD Flash Memory Camcorder with 10x Optical Zoom which features a removable SDHC memory card, a 10x HD video lens, optical image stabilizer, full HD recording, (1920 x 1080), 24p cinema mode, 30p progressive mode, and a built in 8 megapixel camera. I like that you don't need to carry both a digital camera and camcorder around, saving you space and time with fumbling between the two.




A Word on Economy Camcorders:

All that sounds great, but what if you just want a little Canon camcorder for yourself or your teenager to make videos to upload on Youtube, or just generally to fool around? PCworld.com, Consumer Reports, and other expert review sites suggest a budget pocket camcorder. Don't expect great picture quality, large storage space, or a very stable image, but pocket camcorders can be great for shooting short, fun video. The Flip Ultra HD are the series to look at for a great alternative to high end camcorders.