Canon FS200 review: Canon FS200

In Video mode you get a choice of Program AE, Shutter-priority AE, or Scene modes. In these you can add backlight compensation, adjust exposure, focus manually, and yes, turn on the video light. There is, though, no option to manually adjust its aperture.

One other feature worth mentioning is the Video Snap mode. Turn it on and every time you press the Record button the FS200 captures 4 seconds of video. The clips can then be edited together to create a movie for people with short attention spans. It's a bit gimmicky, but after playing with it some it's actually kind of fun.

As for the quality of the video itself, it is standard-definition so it's not going to touch HD, but for SD it's very good. Blown-out highlights were the biggest problem, but colors were good and only low-light video was distractingly noisy and soft, which is typical for its class. That's not to say movies shot in bright conditions were free of noise and digital artifacts, just that they didn't get in the way of enjoying what was on screen. Unless you're really picky about quality or you are expecting high-definition video from a standard-definition camcorder, you shouldn't be disappointed with the results. Lastly, the photo quality is good enough in a pinch, but it won't replace your digital camera or even a decent camera phone.

The Canon FS200 is a solid choice if you're shooting movies for sharing on the Web or just don't want or need high-definition video. The mic and headphone jacks are nice to have, too. About the only thing it needs is some mechanical image stabilization to help keep the 37x zoom steadier. Well that and of course an SD card, so just remember to factor in the cost of a Class 2 or better SD card.

Find out more about how we test camcorders.

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