Pros The Canon picture quality is excellent. Controls intuitive. Works decently in low light. I particularly liked the 15x zoom. Beats Sony SR47 60x because image starts out in HD. (1080 to 540@30x : SD is 480). Superior image stabilization.
Cons I would like to have an optional "write to usb" to send the movie directly into a pocket portable hard drive running off the camera battery. Better low light would be nice. Stand alone software HD movie player wouldn't show green and is useless.
Summary I found the picture quality to be perfect to my untrained eye. Absolutely beautiful. The 15x zoom surprised me ... it was superior to the Sony SR47 (SD) that I purchased at Fry's and took back for store credit and upgraded to HD. Even at 60x digital zoom, the image stabilization was better than the Sony SR47 optical.
I zoomed in to 60x on a tv relay tower and could hold the zoom stable enough to count the cables on the receivers at a couple hundred yards. For someone used to SD, zooming in to 15x on some tree or flower in HD causes one to "tear up". It's just that beautiful.
Stereo sound was fine though not 5:1 Dolby.
You could do better if you upped the price to $1200 but the picture quality couldn't be improved at all. It doesn't get any better. I had a Panasonic SD9 HD camera in 2008 and took it back dissatisfied with picture quality and ate the $75 restocking fee. I won't be taking back the Canon HF200.
Though it lacks some features I'd like to have, I'm unwilling to pay much more for them. This Canon fulfills my minimum expectations perfectly and exceeds them by far in picture quality, zoom and image stabilization.
If you want a great HD picture quality at the lowest price ... this will fill the bill. And ... if you pay $8,000.00 for a professional HD rig ... it still won't give you better picture quality. Significantly better picture quality isn't offered on this planet (maybe you could get 1% better for 8g's). However, you can and will get 40% worse picture quality for about $200 dollars less.
One downside to HD cameras in general is the "hidden" cost of ownership. I now need a new computer ... my 5 year old HP can't quite handle the processing load required by HD files. And ... now my 720p Sony rear projection TV is inadequate for 1080p ... so ... I have to buy a new super duper LCD TV.
Well, I'd have to get them anyway sometime.
"HF200 almost there"on by WyKing
Pros Nice picture quality in bright light.
Easy to use.
Good pictures - 3.3 Mpix camera.
Quck change SDHC memory card.
Standard microphone connector
Intelligent shoe for light, zoom microphone etc.
High quality recordnings up to 24 Mb/s AVC.
Cons Three camcorders tested exhibited the same error: Loud buzzing on the right channel of the earphone jack. Probably an error of the first production runs of the camcorder.
Automatic white balance bluish in overcast outdoors, yellowish indoors.
Summary Yes, I would do the purchase, once again. At least judging from what I know now. Of course, don't expect the quality you get from a Sony PMW-EX1 and the likes of it (USD 7000 upwards, sales taxes included) but it's very close under ideal light conditions and/or if you use the excellent manual overrides for white balance, exposure etc.
Pros Video quality and ease of use with provided software
Cons Camera itself seems pretty complicated out of the box
Summary I purchased a Sony Handycam SD camera before this one. I thought the resolution was horrible and was very displeased at the fact that older VHS videos had better quality than the final product of the Sony Handycam. I returned the Handycam and did thorough research prior to buying another camcorder. I was sold on Canon's great reputation and just had to decide on which camcorder was best for my needs.
I recently had a child and wanted a camera which was a versatile as my needs. I decided to go with this camcorder because of the high reviews and the lightweight of the camera. I purchased it in a kit at Costco for $569. Plenty of power and features for me. I love the quality and with a little toying around, the features become easier to use. A few things one should know...
When reading the reviews regarding Pixela (the included software program), I noticed that people had problems with it. I have a Sony Vaio laptop which is about 3 years old. Though a bit slow, it gets the job done. To break it down, this is the process to download load the program and then to websites to share with the world.
1. Download the software to the computer
2. Shoot a test video
3. connect the camera via the USB cord (provided)
4. Once connected to your computer, press the button on the lower right hand side of the LCD screen on the camcorder.
5. Select the option to connect to computer on LCD screen.
6. Once selected, the Pixela program will open and transfer videos from your card to the Pixela library.
7. From the library, you can either burn Blu-Ray copies, edit, or select file and export the videos to a place where you can get to them to upload to the internet. I did this and the video is great for all to see, including my out-of-state family.
This is how far I got and I just received the camcorder yesterday. Once I master the other features, I will update some more. Bottom line, don't be intimidated by the reviews of the software, this is a great camera which will last for years.
easy to use
great video in good light
Cons not bad video in poor light but it really is no better than my $150 dv cam in poor light
few buttons means you have to scroll through a ton of thing until you find what you need
*.MTS file format...great quality not edit ready.
Summary *.MTS file format has amazing quality at a great file size but I wanted something that was ready to edit out of the camera...iMovie and Premiere Pro CS4 (CS4 only nothing before) will convert it but I moved away from DV tapes so I did not have the real time upload...the conversion is almost real time, some times longer.
For the price I would wait until it drops...I would feel like I am getting a deal at $400 but feel a little unsatisfied at $600.
But it is still am amazing camera.
Pros Just got delivery of my new Vixia HF 200, I will offer my first glance thoughts.
She's tiny (great), she's easy to navigate (great), the picture quality in normal house-hold-cloudy-day lighting is amazing (great), intuative (great).
Cons The software is less then expected, in all catagories. (not great), It will be unistalled.
Summary I purchased this camera at Dell Canada for $699 Can. now on for $10 less. That is a great deal after shopping around. Love the SDHC flash card method, and purchased a 16 and an 8 GB card. If fits in my jacket pocket!!! And my chubby fingers have no problems with the controls. WOW! More later after I have lived with the little darlin' for a month or so.