CNET First Look
Canon Vixia HF S10While the Canon Vixia HF S10 is an excellent flash-based prosumer HD camcorder, you may nevertheless pass it on because it lacks an eye-level viewfinder.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:04 [ Background music ] >> Laurie Grunin: Hi, I'm Laurie Grunin senior editor with CNET and this is the Canon Vixia HF S10 and not shown is it's identical twin the HF S100. Camcorders are as I said identical they only differ by the amount of built in memory. The HF S10 has 32 gigabytes built in while the HS F100 doesn't have any. Otherwise for all intensive purposes they're the exact same thing. They're both very, very well designed camcorders. They're bigger than you're used to seeing with a lot of the flash HD camcorders on the market, but that's because they have a really big lens and that makes a difference when producing its excellent, excellent HD video quality. Some of the basic specs include a 10 x zoom lens and 8 megapixel still photos. It's still not a professional camcorder and the video does have some prosumer type problems such as fringing on high contrast edges and the low light video is very good but not perfect. There is no electronic view finder. We're seeing more and more camcorders that are dropping the electronic viewfinder. I don't like that because I like to hold the camcorder up to my eye when I shoot; I find it is more stable. But you may not care. It is a consideration though when you're spending over a $1000 on an HD camcorder. It's very comfortable to hold and doesn't weigh nearly as much as it looks like it weighs. Solidly designed except for the built in lens cap rattles, it doesn't affect your video shooting, but you know you may hear it clicking in your bag or something. In terms of the controls, the zoom switch is very nice. It's got a good damped feel and you can set it to go at various speeds or variable speed. The microphone is stereo and it's on either side of the lens barrel. That means that it can get better separation than normally on camcorders when the mic is up here or down here. Canon redesigned its menu system and they did a very good job. It's easy to find things. Canon introduced a new feature in the 2009 models called video snap shot, which is a 4 second clip. I'm not crazy about the limitation. I love the box and the countdown but don't like the location of the button. When you think about the quality of video you get in a prosumer camcorder I think it's worth almost all of the sacrifices you make except once again think about the electronic viewfinder. I'm Laurie Grunin and this is the Canon Vixia HF S10