Pros + Video quality is top notch
+ Video display screen is the best I've seen on a camcorder
+ Speaker on the camera is terrible
+ Touch screen interface is very nice
+ Great HD Picture
Cons - Battery life could be better
Summary I've had this camera for about 6 months now. I use it primarly to capture indoor sporting events, but also use it for vacation videos and videos of kids. I use 16GB Class 4 memory, and the recorder works fine with this speed memory, even in the highest resolution/data rate modes.
I especially like the 3 second pre-record feature. It's a feature that I read about, and said "no big deal" but after using it, it's great. Picture that your 10 year old is playing in his first football game. You don't want to record the whole game, you only want the highlights. So you turn on the 3-second pre-record and fix your camera on your all star. When he/she breaks a tackle and starts heading for the end zone, you hit the record button, and whammo, you've got the whole play recorded from the very beginning. Awesome feature for videoing small children, as you never know when they're going to do something cute.
The video quality is top notch. I can't speak for the canon editing software, as I use Adobe for all my video processing, but the included utility works great to transfer video directly from the camera, or from the memory card (if you're using a memory card reader) The transfer software renames the recorded videos with the Date/Timestamp in the format YYYYMMDDHHMISS. This is very nice for organizing clips in your video library, as they are all stored in chronological order.
The Video display screen is the best I've seen on a camcorder. The videos are very watchable right on the camera. The speaker on the camera is terrible, but that's to be expected.
The touch screen interface is very nice, and extremely responsive. It took me a few minutes to get used to the interface, but now that I'm used to it, it's very nice.
I don't use the "still shot" very much, but the still picture output is reasonable, considering that you're using a video camera.
Battery life could be better (it's about 1.5 - 2 hours) of actively using the camera, but I've purchased 2 non OEM extended life batteries from Ebay, and they work very well (and they were only $10 each)
*** P.S. If you will buy this canon camcorder I suggest you at: www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00322OOXM/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=***************&********=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&************=B00322OOXM
Pros Video quality
Built-in memory and SD card option
External mic plug
Cons Editing software it comes with
Summary I bought this camera for work about a month ago. So far, so good! I'm not by any means a professional videographer, but use this to make short videos for work (promotional videos for our website, interviews, etc) as well as using it for photos for both the web and print.
Controls are easy (helps that I was using a Canon HV20 before I upgraded) and quality is great.
I have no complaints yet.
Only thing that isn't great is the video editing software it comes with. You're going to want Pinnacle 15 (though I understand Pinnacle 11 works with this). Because it records on AVCHD, many of the video editing software doesn't support this file type. I had a heck of a time figuring this out. On my home iMac (which is from 2006), the iMovie doesn't support the file type, but the new iMovie (08 or later) does.
I called Canon when I couldn't edit the file type on my work computer (Windows Movie Maker and also tried my out of date Pinnacle 10. Was sad to hear about this AVCHD format, but it makes sense and I'm thankful the newer editing software out there supports this. Just something to be aware of when purchasing.
My husband is a professional videographer (tv producer) and borrowed this for a project he's working on and was very happy with it- so that says something about this camera! We think this will be our next home video camera to purchase.
Pros Much improved image stabilization.
Larger viewing LCD.
Dual memory card slots. (SD, SDHC,XDHC)
Excellent quality video.
Fantastic low light video at 24 fps.
Cons Touch screen isn't easy to navigate with.
Common items are buried in menus.
Glossy LCD screen is difficult to use in bright sunlight.
Summary This is a great camcorder! I started with the HF100, then the HFS100 and now I own the HFS200. I love it but am not happy with some of the changes.Update: One more negative for this camera. The hot-shoe is non-standard. It fits only a few Canon accessories. I had to buy a converter for about $30 so that I can use a LED light panel on it.
I prefer the "joystick" navigation, rather than the touch screen. The HFS100 LCD screen was difficult enough to see in bright daylight, but this new touch screen is very glossy - which makes it even more difficult to view on a sunny day. Not only that, but you cannot keep it clean. As soon as you start using it you will notice the screen is covered with fingerprints!
The image stabilization is much improved over the HFS100. It now has three levels of stabilization: standard (like what the HFS100 has), dynamic (much improved), and powered IS (fantastic for telephoto shooting). You won't need a steady cam for this camera!
The camcorder has 24P and 30P modes, as well as 60i modes. You can set the record quality from LP (5 Mbps) to MXP (24 Mbps). I try to record mostly in FXP (17 Mbps) - unless I want the best possible quality. It is difficult to see the difference between MXP and FXP. Some say the video quality is the same.
Bottom line - I love it, but after seeing the Panasonic TM700K - I now own both this and the TM700K. I like the Canon for low light video, and it takes much better still photos than the TM700K. But both are great camcorders. I would be hard pressed to choose only one to keep.
Updated on Dec 29, 2010
Pros light weight but now son want s to add a wide angle lens, pistol grip that will double it.
great battery life (except in winter cold)
dual sdhc cards allow for lots of recording time
Cons no optical viewfinder (required the pricier internal drive model)
must use bulky LCD display hood outdoors
not as versatile as Go Pro HD for action shots in weather
Summary clearly a high quality prosumer product,
Pros Excelent video quality
Cons Don't accept non-Canon external microphone. This is simply unacceptable for a US$ 700 HD camcorder, because you need to spend $$ buying a Canon one. My problem is that I need to use a wireless microphone and Canon doesn't have one!
Summary As good as any other HD camcorder, but Canon should print in the box and in HF S200 page in their site it's faulty external microphone compatibility. Next time I will buy a Sony or Panasonic one.