PROS / This HDV camcorder has two SD card slots for extra memory capability.
CONS / The still camera resolution is 8MP, which is lower quality than some digital cameras on the market.
VERDICT / The Canon VIXIA HF S21 has a good zoom, flash memory and SD memory card options, and while none of them are amazing, combined they make the product great overall.
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When looking for the best, highest-quality option to preserve your memories, look no further than an HDV camcorder. The Canon VIXIA HF S21 doesn't have any weakness and has good specifications for every feature we looked at. If you are looking for a product that is well rounded in every category, this HD video camera is a good choice. This is why it wins our TopTenREVIEWS Bronze Award. With a memory capacity of 64GB and a zoom that exceeds 200x, you will be able to take lengthy videos no matter whether you are sitting across a table or across a court.
Canon is known for excellence in video equipment, and the Canon VIXIA HF S21 is no exception. Built with the average consumer in mind, you will find that this product is easy to use, even with all of the features. Canon makes sure that the product is covered by its limited warranty so you don't have to worry about a manufacturer defect in your HD camcorder.
Video & Image Quality
Not only does this HDV camcorder have the expected resolution for high definition, but it also has a good zoom. We were also impressed with the range in focal length as well as the LUX rating. All of these features combined make a reliable product. If that isn't enough, we also looked at the still camera resolution and the recording speed.
The zoom of the product determines how close you have to be to the action in order to get a clear, well-framed video. If the zoom is small, you have to get closer if you want all the details. The Canon VIXIA HF S21 has an optical zoom of 10x and a digital zoom of 200x. The focal length, which also affects the clarity and distance of the video, is 6.4–64mm. If you are concerned about shooting video in low light, you will be impressed with this device. The LUX rating is 0.3, which means you can shoot through evening into a clear night with a full moon.
The other two specifications we looked at ware the still camera resolution and recording speed. No one wants to carry around more devices than they have to. If you can get your camcorder to be your digital camera as well, why not? Although this camcorder doesn't offer double-digit megapixel resolution, we were impressed with the 8MP still photo quality. It's not bad for a product that's an HDV camcorder first and a digital camera second. The recording speed is 24Mbps. While this isn't the highest speed, it still means your videos will be smooth.
This camcorder, while it has many great memory options, has one limitation that we found. Unlike other products, this camcorder doesn't work with SDXC. It does, however, work with both SD and SDHC cards, and there are two slots available. We especially liked the fact that it is easy to switch out the cards when they are full. The built-in flash memory is a respectable 64GB. This alone gives you more than 24 hours of recording time.
This HDV camcorder has a variety of additional features that not only increase the performance of the product, but make it easy to use as well. One of the missing features we would have liked to see is an embedded GPS. However, this is the only feature we felt was lacking, and in all other respects, the product is spot on.
The Canon VIXIA HF S21 has a 3.5-inch high-resolution LCD touchscreen. This means that whether you are in bright light or in a dim location, you can see what you are filming. The screen is also adjustable so you can turn it in a variety of directions for more viewing angles. If you don't want to use the screen, you can use the viewfinder.
The physical dimensions of this HD video camera are relatively standard for this type of product. It is 2.9 inches tall, 3 inches wide and 5.8 inches long. It weighs just more than a pound, at 16 ounces. We were pleased that it is one of the lighter products we reviewed. Having a high-definition camcorder that weighs much more makes it difficult to film for extended periods of time because your arm will become tired from holding the weight.
The Canon VIXIA HF S21 offers the best of all the features we looked for combined. The 64GB memory, though not at the top of the pack, combined with the dual memory-card slots means that this camera has more memory than more than half the products available. We were also impressed with the 200x zoom and 6.4–64mm focal length. All in all, you get an HDC camcorder that meets all of the requirements you need to make high-quality HD home movies.