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Customer Reviews for VIXIA HF S21

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VIXIA HF S21

Canon's flagship VIXIA HF S21 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder, with a 64GB internal flash drive and two SD memory card slots.
Average Customer Rating:
4.389 out of 5
4.4
 out of 
5
(18 Reviews) 18
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Snapshot (18 reviews)
5 stars
12
4 stars
3
3 stars
2
2 stars
0
1 star
1
13 out of 18(72%)reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for VIXIA HF S21
Review 1 for VIXIA HF S21
Nickname: Nirdevi

Best Camera I've Ever Used

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Price/Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:May 6, 2010
Pros: good battery life, Great sound/audio, Accurate, Vivid Colors, Compact Design, excellent image quality, Ergonomic/comfortable to hold, easy to use
This camera was easy to use right out of the box. There aren't too many confusing buttons, the menus are very easy to follow and well organized, and the touch screen is a huge plus. It shoots excellent high quality video and I was even amazed at the sound quality with the built in microphone. The 200x digital zoom feature allowed me to capture video images up 2 miles in distance. I can take this cam up to Vermont and capture skiers up on the sloaps with no problems. The super light weight is also a huge plus.
72 of 81 people found this review helpful.
Review 2 for VIXIA HF S21
Nickname: swlarry99
Location: Arizona
Used this product for: 1 to 3 months
Expertise Level: Advanced Amateur
Mostly used for: Landscape/Nature
Canon Customer: 11 to 20 years
Product replacement: No

A great Camcorder

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Price/Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Date:April 14, 2011
Pros: good battery life, Good Low-Light Performance, Easy Computer Connectivity, Accurate, Vivid Colors, Compact Design, excellent image quality, durable, Ergonomic/comfortable to hold, Easy TV Connectivity, easy to use
Cons: Limited Software Compatibility
This HF S21 camcorder is a fine machine. The recorderd images are sharp, clear and the White Balance is right on.
If you intend to make movies you will probably be disapointed-----not with the camcorder but with software available today designed for movie making. The people that write the instructions for movie making don't understand what Step by Step instructions mean. If you have a master's degree in video editing you will probably have little problem. Don't pay for any video editing software until you have tried it.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Review 3 for VIXIA HF S21
Nickname: photonut
Location: Las Vegas
Used this product for: 1 to 3 months
Expertise Level: Professional or Expert
Mostly used for: Family & Friends
Canon Customer: more than 20 years
Product replacement: No

Pro performance at a prosumer price

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Price/Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:March 5, 2011
Pros: Easy Computer Connectivity, Accurate, Vivid Colors, excellent image quality, easy to use
Cons: Short battery life
There are plenty of "close-but-no-cigar" consumer grade camcorders on the market. Why go that route when you can spend a few hundred dollars more and get a real winner like the Vixia HF S21? Truly, the professional results I get from this camera rival anything I have seen from video cameras costing thousands. The only thing holding me back from using this camera on a professional assignment is the small physical size. Paying customers expect you to show up on location with a rig that you balance on your shoulder. Place this camera on a sturdy tripod with fluid head and the results will be indistinguishable from the big boys.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Review 4 for VIXIA HF S21
Nickname: Radio Scott
Location: 40+ years licensed broadcast engineer
Expertise Level: Professional or Expert

Honest Review

Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Features
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Performance
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Price/Value
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Quality
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Satisfaction
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Date:January 24, 2011
Pros: does what it says it does if you know how, good auto features, light weight
Cons: the manual is a waste of ink and paper, zoom is awkward, poor layout of touch screen, poor layout of connectors, poor ink contrast on camera body, all but impossible to get anything sounding on mic, comptuer geeks designed everything, off standard hot shoe
The Canon Vixia HF s21 camera does what it says it does. Sometimes a little awkwardly and backwards, the folks who complain about this and that demonstrate a poor understanding of videography.
What is inexcusable is the manual. Luckily I have worked with studio and ENG camera for over 40 years. Heaven help the newbie.
The manual needs rewriting and the ability to order by language in order to keep in camera case.
Don't by DM 100 shotgun microphone. It is not a shotgun mic by any regards. The elements are positioned wrong to be a shotgun. Internal mics are better.
I am now working to get a hot shoe adapter in order to mount a shot gun mic.
The DM-100 is the purest waste of money created in a long time.
Currently I am recording audio separately on a flash recorder and syncing audio back in during editing.
If you want best video shoot highest definition and drop quality for your final product.
Use a Linux operating system and you can grab video without having to convert as you do in Windows and Apple.
Quality will stay in place without degradation through converting process for editing.
17 of 23 people found this review helpful.
Review 5 for VIXIA HF S21
Nickname: LCM

BEST CAMCORDER I'VE EVER SEEN

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Price/Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:January 8, 2011
Pros: Great sound/audio, Compact Design, excellent image quality, easy to use
Cons: Short battery life
First of all I want to say I'm a spanish indie filmmaker. I've made some horror shortfilms and won several awards in some horror festivals.
Now I want to experiment with very small films to be made with extremely small crews and with no budget at all. And with my new VIXIA HF-S21 (LEGRIA here in Europe) I feel I can do nearly everything I want... and to me that's priceless!
I'm impressed with its elegant design: once you see it you know you've got some kind of jewel in your hands!, and I'm very impressed too with its HD quality image and with its low light performance (I do not mean with NO light at all), it's LCD is great!!, its memory storage is huge and that gives me the quietness I need about never running out of memory (not talking about its amazing double card slots!). Its interface and options are simply amazing... and what can I say about its 24 fps and manual focus options!!... they're just what any filmmaker could ask for...
To me this little great camcorder is all I need to make any project: I'm going to make a full lengh picture with this little beast!... and best of all is I know this camera can easily handle with it. That's what I feel!!. Great camcorder!!! Thanks Canon!!!
6 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Review 6 for VIXIA HF S21
Nickname: gtwhite707
Location: near Baltimore, MD
Used this product for: 3 to 6 months
Expertise Level: Advanced Amateur
Mostly used for: Landscape/Nature
Canon Customer: 6 to 10 years
Product replacement: Yes

Very happy with my HD Camera!

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Price/Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:January 5, 2011
Pros: Great sound/audio, Accurate, Vivid Colors, excellent image quality, durable, Good Software Compatibility, easy to use, memory expansion slots (2)
I bought my camera a few months ago and have used it to record and create many videos, all with great results (once I figured out what I was doing... ;) ) I've posted a few of the videos on YouTube, so go check them out (search for gtwhite707.)
The anti-shake controls, especially on long zooms, is very usable. The lens quality is excellent, just what I would expect from Canon. And the zoom control has a very good feel to it. I've used a remote control with the camera, to great advantage.
And the quality of the AVCHD videos are excellent. The 1080p quality is incredible, with almost unnoticable pixelization.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Review 7 for VIXIA HF S21
Nickname: dorkman53
Location: Yucaipa, CA
Used this product for: 6 to 12 months
Expertise Level: Hobbyist/Enthusiast
Mostly used for: Landscape/Nature
Canon Customer: 6 to 10 years
Product replacement: Yes

Good overall, but.....

Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Price/Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Date:December 31, 2010
Pros: Compact Design, excellent image quality, Ergonomic/comfortable to hold, easy to use, image stablization
Cons: Poor Low-Light Performance, cumbersome transfer of images to computer
Overall, I'm pleased with the HF S21. It gives a very sharp, high quality image. The image stablization feature works well. I like having an actual eyepiece viewer, plus the main viewing screen. With the flash drive, one is able to begin recording almost immediately, which is a major advantage over having to wait for several seconds to begin recoding on other handycams I've had in the past. I also find it quite easy to begin preliminary rudimentary editing even before transferring the images to the computer. My main disappointment is the poor low light performance. The images become grainy in lighting conditions I've been able to record easily with prior non-Canon units. Also, the process of transferring images to the computer is much more cumbersome and time consuming than other cams I've used in the past. Overall, I'd give it a solid B+, but there is definitely room for improvement
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Review 8 for VIXIA HF S21
Nickname: Mike
Location: Minnesota
Used this product for: 6 to 12 months
Expertise Level: Advanced Amateur
Mostly used for: Family & Friends
Canon Customer: 6 to 10 years
Product replacement: Yes

I really like this camera

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Price/Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:December 21, 2010
Pros: good battery life, Easy Computer Connectivity, Great sound/audio, Accurate, Vivid Colors, excellent image quality, durable, Easy TV Connectivity, easy to use
I have owned this camera since May 2010 and could not be more pleased with its performance. The HD quality is really excellent and burns to regular DVDs through my Mac with iMovie to a degree of quality that is close to HD. I am purchasing an external Blu-ray DVD burner and look forward to the quality I will achieve on BR DVDs. I have very large hands, was very comfortable with my Canon GL2, and was waiting for something that size in this price range but since it looked like it was not going to happen, went ahead to purchase the smaller camera.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Review 9 for VIXIA HF S21
Nickname: Baker
Location: Boston, MA Filming in SE Asia
Used this product for: 3 to 6 months
Expertise Level: Hobbyist/Enthusiast
Product replacement: Yes

Fast, sharp and steady.

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Price/Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:September 16, 2010
This camera absolutely dominates. I couldn't be happier. I use it for outdoor filming during hikes and it's perfect for a variety of reasons. 1. It turns on and is ready to film almost instantly. 2. It's small and easy to carry. 3. It has more than enough memory so you never need to worry about running out. 4. Picture quality is STUNNING. 5. Auto white balance is money. 6. Subject auto zoom is awesome. 7. The stabilization feature is phenomenal.
Here's a real life scenario. I spot a bird 50 ft. away that I want to film. It's skittish so I need to get on it quick. Bust out the HF S21, start filming. Camera is recording, get the bird on the screen and zoom in 100%. Auto white balance appropriately lights up the bird. Stabilizer holds the shot still despite my shaky hands (if you don't shake like crazy it looks tripod still, seriously). Hit the touch screen to select the bird as the subject and it mantains focus on it, even as it jumps from branch to branch. All of this happens in 15 seconds or less and the picture quality is 1080P.
Like I said, this camera dominates. Only thing I would change is the image quality in the view finder, compared to the image quality of the touch screen it's grainy (although comparable to other viewfinders I've used).
-E
26 of 26 people found this review helpful.
Review 10 for VIXIA HF S21
Nickname: Golfer
Location: Westtown, NY
Used this product for: 6 to 12 months
Expertise Level: Hobbyist/Enthusiast
Product replacement: Yes

Great camera

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Price/Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:September 2, 2010
Pros: zoom, video clarity
Cons: finger prints on screen
This has been a great camera right from the start. The only draw back of the camera is the finger prints that get on the screen from switching menu options. I like the touch screen but wish it had a toggle button option as well. The 200x zoom and stabilization is amazing. I never thought it would be that good. Overall great camera.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Review 11 for VIXIA HF S21
Nickname: rick4ls
Location: Columbia, MD
Used this product for: 3 to 6 months
Expertise Level: Advanced Amateur
Product replacement: Yes

Great Camera

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Performance
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Price/Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:July 17, 2010
Pros: control knob for audio level and exposure, 1.7x zoom, great image resolution, direct wall plugin battery charger
Cons: large front aperture, no ilink, glossy lcd
This camera was my first step into the world of SS memory video. The video quality was so good, I had to go back and re-adjust my XH-A1 image settings so it would look ok when mixed with the S21 video.
The audio in both auto and manual is excellent. It does have manual audio level controls, contrary to some of the other reviewers. I almost always use an external mic, for wind reasons, so I can't comment on the internal mic.
Two features that other reviews that really helpful are:
1. Control knob on the front makes it much easier to adjust exposure, focus, or manual audio level. This is a big plus for a small camera.
2. The 1.7X additional zoom gives almost as good quality as adding a telextender. Saves me carrying around another heavy lens adapter.
The stabilization is excellent. There are 3 levels. It is so good that you need to be careful not to use the heaviest mode except when you need it or it will introduce smoothing motion you may not want.
Very good battery life.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Review 12 for VIXIA HF S21
Nickname: Bob in Tucson
Location: Tucson, AZ
Used this product for: 1 to 3 months
Expertise Level: Advanced Amateur
Product replacement: No

Poor 'progressive format' performace

Overall Rating
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Price/Value
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Quality
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Satisfaction
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Date:June 4, 2010
Pros: good battery life, Easy Computer Connectivity, Great sound/audio, Accurate, Vivid Colors, Compact Design, Easy TV Connectivity, easy to use, viewfinder, manual custom dial
Cons: progressive formats are substandard
After using my HFS21 I find that the performance of it's 'progressive' formats leave much to be desired. Just the poor panning performance of all of it's 'progressive' formats would make me reconsider my purchase.
23 of 33 people found this review helpful.
Review 13 for VIXIA HF S21
Nickname: George
Location: Riverside, CA
Used this product for: 1 to 3 months
Expertise Level: Advanced Amateur
Product replacement: Yes

Missed the boat -- lacks key features

Overall Rating
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Features
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Performance
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Price/Value
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Quality
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Satisfaction
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Date:May 19, 2010
Cons: Short battery life, Poor sound/audio, no video input for a/d conversion to computer, no ilink to computer, can't defeat audio agc, no manual audio levels, no line level audio inputs
For a "flagship" product this camera leaves a lot to be desired. The AGC boosts the audio level to pick up LOTS of background noise and hiss. No line level audio inputs to get direct audio feed from soundboard. No video input to use camera as A/D converter like on my old camera -- I use this all the time to transfer video from various sources to the computer via firewire.
35 of 72 people found this review helpful.
Review 14 for VIXIA HF S21
Nickname: JVonD
Location: Boulder, CO
Used this product for: 3 to 6 months
Expertise Level: Advanced Amateur
Product replacement: Yes

Not that good..

Overall Rating
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Features
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Performance
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Price/Value
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Quality
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Satisfaction
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Date:May 15, 2010
Cons: Poor image quality, Poor Low-Light Performance, Difficult Computer Connectivity, Difficult to use, Short battery life, Bulky Design, Flimsy Construction
The camera splits video files at 1.9 gig. There's no close up eye view finder. Other features are annoying. No iLink port. Lens cap is noisy.
11 of 42 people found this review helpful.
Review 15 for VIXIA HF S21
Nickname: Alaskaman
Location: Alaska
Used this product for: 1 to 3 months
Expertise Level: Hobbyist/Enthusiast
Product replacement: Yes

Outstanding camera - low light issues

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Price/Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Quality
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:May 6, 2010
Pros: Easy Computer Connectivity, Accurate, Vivid Colors, Compact Design, excellent image quality, Good Software Compatibility, easy to use
Cons: Poor Low-Light Performance, Short battery life
I purchased this camera to shoot indoor performances under spotlight conditions. The image quality is unbelievable. The low light response is the only thing left to be desired. When moving from low light to bright light the camera adjusts smoothly on auto, but when moving from bright to low light, there is an instant correction rather than gradual. This makes for difficult footage to use on auto but can be overcome by the use of the manual expose setting which is quite easy to use via the touch screen or the manual adjustment wheel in the front.
I was initially hesitant about the touch screen but it is incredibly responsive and easy to use. The menus are easy to navigate and it connects easily to a Mac using FCP or iMovie.
The powered image stabilization at the high end is a nice addition for times when you want to get a shot and don't have a tripod around. It does a pretty good job of taking out the jitters.
Overall, this product is fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone that needs a camera upgrade but can't afford one in the professional line, or if you need an additional camera for shots on the go due to its portability.
22 of 24 people found this review helpful.
Review 16 for VIXIA HF S21
Nickname: scottso
Location: Southampton, NY
Used this product for: Less than 1 month
Expertise Level: Professional or Expert
Product replacement: Yes

Great HD Camera

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Price/Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:April 12, 2010
Pros: good battery life, Easy Computer Connectivity, Accurate, Vivid Colors, Compact Design, excellent image quality, Ergonomic/comfortable to hold, Easy TV Connectivity, easy to use
After a long weekend of shooting I have really grown fond of this camera. It's easy to use, shoots great video, and I am extremely satisfied. I was initially shocked by the size especially since it's replacing an XL2 but I soon got used to it. (I feel like I'm holding a 12 oz can).
Image quality is fantastic, the touch screen is great, the features and options are all you need. I feel I can do nearly everything I can do with the XL2 and put this camera in a large pocket something the XL2 can never do.
The only con I can think of is the video light casts a cold glow when used in conjunction with natural or incandescent light. It's better when its the dominant light source.
The sound quality is good but it's very sensitive - when shooting in areas with a lot of ambient noise it catches it all. I haven't shot with the accessory shotgun mic I also purchase but will do so in the future to hopefully avoid this problem. I also have wireless audio and with a optional equipment I can use this too with the S21. Basically all the accessories I have for the XL2 will work with the S21.
Overall it's a great camera - leaps and bounds beyond my very first camcorder and it can hold it's own next to the XL2 only surpassing with the HD video which the XL2 can't do.
58 of 60 people found this review helpful.
Review 17 for VIXIA HF S21
Nickname: Jeff
Location: Austin
Used this product for: Less than 1 month
Expertise Level: Advanced Amateur
Product replacement: No

Good but lacking in key areas

Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Features
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Performance
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Price/Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Quality
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Satisfaction
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Date:March 5, 2010
Pros: Accurate, Vivid Colors, Compact Design, excellent image quality
Cons: Uncomfortable to hold, shape, no eyepiece, difficult to shoot straight video
I love this camera but hate the design for shooting. I find it difficult to shot sports video for tracking action without an eye piece to maintain a tight shot. The design is lame for holding a camera as your wrist will not maintain a level shot so things will have a tendacy to be at an angle. Can we add a flip down handle underneath the camera with a trigger to zoom in/out and record ? It's small and light but not comfortable to shoot.
45 of 80 people found this review helpful.
Review 18 for VIXIA HF S21
Nickname: Buddy
Location: Campbell, CA
Used this product for: Less than 1 month
Expertise Level: Advanced Amateur
Product replacement: Yes

I can't believe the quality!

Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Performance
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Price/Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Satisfaction
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:February 19, 2010
Pros: good battery life, Good Low-Light Performance, Easy Computer Connectivity, Great sound/audio, Accurate, Vivid Colors, Compact Design, excellent image quality, durable, Good Software Compatibility, Ergonomic/comfortable to hold, Easy TV Connectivity, easy to use
Just when you think something couldn't get better. We are amazed with the ease, the clarity and the value.Nothing compares to this for the price, features and quality. Go Canon!
39 of 49 people found this review helpful.
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