Pros Great image quality, simple menu, wireless remote for playback, light weight
Cons Controls awkward for users with big hands, mini-SD instead of standard SD card, HUGE files when saving to the computer
Summary This is an excellent camcorder for the money. I first want to point out an inconsistency with CNET's review. They state you cannot change the white balance and thus need to turn the camera on/off in different lightning. This is INCORRECT. The camera WILL adjust in different lightning situations. I filmed my dad walking in the door as the sun was coming up, then shot my mom in the kitchen and the balances adjusted perfectly.
The video is a bit grainy while shooting in doors especially in low light. However shooting outdoors in the sun is spectacular. The colors are bright and vibrant and HD!
This camcorder works perfectly with my Intel Mac and the footage is excellent quality. If you plan on saving your raw footage on your computer you better invest in mass storage. About 20 minutes of my raw HD footage was 17.13 GB. Yes, you read that right, GIGABYTES. I've compressed most of my footage to distribute to family, but intend on saving the tapes since the file sizes are so big.
Overall I am very pleased with this camcorder. If you are an HD freak like me then this camera is well worth the $1100. I didn't give this camera a 10 simply because of the low-light performance. Other than that I'm extremely happy.
"Incredible Video!"on by SFC Bell
Pros Stunning Video, Manual Focus, great auto focus and image stabilization, HDMI out, many more good features
Cons haven't found any yet
Summary Buy this camera!
This camera produces near professional quality video at a price most of us can afford. Add in all of the "prosumer" features like manual focus, optical and electronic image stabilization, HDMI out, a mic input (mini), a headphone jack, an accessory shoe. This camera is loaded. I ordered mine as soon as it was available through B&H Photo and have had it for a couple of days now. Right out of the box (after charging the battery) I recorded 3 minutes of video in my home under less than ideal lighting, plugged it directly into my JVC HDTV with my HDMI cable (not provided in the box) and watched stunning video. I'm an Army broadcaster and I've used lot s of professional equipment and I can say that this is the best video I've ever seen from a one chip camera period. Sony offers an HDV camera, but I chose to stick with Canon as I've come to notice that their products produce superior imagery, and I wasn't let down. I also have a 3 CCD Panasonic DV camera. I thought the image quality was good. It doesn't compare to HD. Going from SD mini DV to HD on mini dv is like going from VCD to DVD. I had no problem with Windows Vista. Once I loaded the software and drivers I plugged it in to my HP dv9230 and captured the HD into Windows MovieMaker with ease. Haven't tried it with Premiere Elements yet, but I'll assume it shouldn't be a problem. I would mention that if you plan on editing your video on your pc you may want to go with a higher end pc with a good video card. Your old Pentium 4 may not cut it. The only reason I didn't give it a 10 was that I always leave room for improvement. With this camera there is not much to improve upon! Way to go Canon!
Pros Fine for what it is.
Cons Apparently does not actually output 24p. An know that the image is not 1920x1080 as you might expect from 'HD' but rather 1440x1080.
Summary I am a professional and was looking for a more covert HD camera that would not call attention to itself out in the field as being professional. I believe it is a clear choice over other HDVs in it's class.
But after perusing various forum postings by users of this camera trying to get the much coveted 24p out of it... you can't exactly. Very weird for a camera that shoots 24p. But from what users and Canon support are telling me, the camera insists on outputting the 24p image at 30fps with a 2:3 pulldown which introduces fields. So you must have software that will perform a 2:3 pullUP during capture or in post in order to get the image back to 24p. But I discovered a little problem with this if you are capturing from tape-
example jpeg (382kb)
When the 4:2:2 signal records to the tape it undergoes an MPEG 2 conversion/compression to 4:2:0 color space, which causes some loss of chroma data and consequent color bleed in the image that smears the fields a bit. So the fields can not be fully removed with any pullup process- with motion you see this telltale strobey/jaggy thing going on in the image. Am told that if you shoot directly to a hard drive capture while bypassing tape then you can avoid the problem. But that kind of undermines the normal purpose of a little spontaneous point-n-shoot palmcorder like the HV20 unless you are always hooked to a hard drive. If you dont care about 24p, or are using it in studio then it probably wont matter to you, and is a tremendous image quality for the price.
Also, the low-light capability is much better than what some users are commenting. You just have to use the right settings.Updated
The HV20 is NOT a 24p camcorder! This is a falsely advertised claim by Canon. And profesional reviewers are failing to warn potential buyers about this.
"A CAMCORDER is a PORTABLE electronic device for recording video images and audio onto an INTERNAL STORAGE DEVICE."
"24P refers to a video format that operates at a TRUE 24 FRAMES PER SECOND (or typically, 23.976fps when using equipment based around NTSC frame rates) framerate with PROGRESSIVEscanning (NOT INTERLACED)"
The HV20, while it is portable and records to an internal storage device- mini DV tape, what no one tells you is that the HV20 DOES NOT record 24p(progressive frames) to the tape nor does it playback 24p from the tape. It only records and plays back as 30i, or 30fps. The HV20 always records 24 fps with a 30i 2:3 pulldown interlaced frames, not progressive frames AS ADVERTISED. What no one tells you is that you must purchase additional third party software to ATTEMPT to post convert the 30i signal to 24p. But despite what some may believe, this WILL NOT WORK properly. There is an inherent degradation in the signal that is recorded to the HV20's tape (due to a 4:2:0 color space in MPEG2 compression), which results in subtle chroma crosstalk and slight smearing of the fields introduced undesirably by the HV20. NO MATTER WHAT SOFTWARE YOU USE, when you perform a 2:3 pullup on the 30i signal from the tape, fields will partially remain on every fourth frame resulting in annoyingly strobey playback.
This has been confirmed by a representative at Cineform that makes HDV capture software.
This demonstrates the unavoidable problem- http://www.box.net/shared/static/15ydiu43co.jpg
This is not at all what any person would expect from a camcorder claiming to be 24p.
Pros Incredible picture quality and sound pickup
Cons Do I really have to give one?
Summary First off, let me say that I am super happy with this camera. It has exceeded my expectations.
Though you do get graininess at lower light, Im telling you, the noise level has been well dealt with. They made the noise much smaller so it's less intrusive and really I think you'll be surprised at the high quality in low light.
The camera light is just a small (very small) light but honestly in a really dark setting it does the job. It wont light up a whole room but it really focuses the light in a small area, illuminating objects or people close by.
The picture is just sweet! I LOVE the clarity of the colors and edges. It's truly an HD quality picture.
The thing you dont hear much about that Im so excited about is the sound. NO NEED for an extra zoom mic or anything. This thing picks up INCREDIBLE quality sound. When I hold the camera, I noticed I can hear myself breathing on playback (Im very serious).
I filmed my dog in the yard and his clanging of his collar was so crystal clear, you'd take a second to realize it was on the video and not something else. This thing sounds incredible!
I just want to say that I'm so happy I bought this camera and just didnt expect it to be as nicely functionable as it is.
Pros High Quality Optics for a low price
Cons Poorly designed, cheap quality frame
Summary I have been doing allot of research on 2 camcorders. The Canon HV20 and the Sony HC7 and that is why I am so suprised that Cnet dropped the ball on this one. Now before you say anything let me give you two points of reference.
These guys know there business.
Independant testing/comparison of both Camcorders. Sadly in German, however you can download the video samples taken from both cameras.
My own personal testing and research has came to the conclusion that the Canon HV20 and the Sony HC7 have very little differance in Full Light shots. However when you take both cameras into a Low light situation, the Canon stands out with a brighter and cleaner picture then the Sony HC7.If you dont believe me. See for yourself by going to
and downloading the video samples from both cameras (especially the low light/ night footage) and judge for yourself. The videos are pretty large but if you have DSL or faster it should be no problem.