Canon Fs100 Review: Discover The Best Camcorder For You

canon fs100

What can a Canon Fs100 do for you? I used to struggle with getting a good idea of what tech products are really like. On one side you get influencers and salespeople insisting that anything less than the high-end stuff is junk. On the other hand, you have the manufacturers who claim that every product is amazing, often using outdated information.

Sometimes all you need is a decent camcorder that does what it’s supposed to do. And it doesn’t have to be a struggle to figure out what best fits those criteria. If you just want to shoot some decent quality home videos without breaking the bank and you don't need them to be Hollywood blockbuster high definition extravaganzas, the Canon Fs100 might just be the camcorder for you.

Canon Fs100

At first glance, you may mistake it for a Fs11, or another camcorder from the same series. It also has many of the same components, including the imaging system. It uses a 1/6-inch CCD sensor and offers a gross pixel count of 1,070,000.

The Canon Fs100 is a more budget-oriented version of the same overall concept as the Fs11, with the main difference being in data storage. The Canon Fs100 is a standard definition camcorder with no internal memory. You can only record to SD cards.

Product specifications


Depth:

4.9 inch

Widescreen:

Yes

Optical Sensor:

1/6 inch CCD

Optical zoom:

37x

Digital zoom:

2000x

Format:

MPEG-2

Sound:

710KP

Effective Resolution:

10.1 oz /285g

Shutter speed:

1/6 to 1/2000 seconds

In general, it’s a standard setup. Only the extreme zoom capability stands out.

How it performs


The Canon Fs100 does well for a standard definition camcorder. What it captures comes out clear and in vivid colors. The footage is sharp and doesn’t show a lot of compression artifacts. You may find it very bright and saturated at first, but this is the norm for its category. You can adjust this, and there are three one-touch presets to choose from. These are Neutral, Vivid, and Soft skin.

It has a generous zoom capability. You can choose between three options from the settings menu. The first is its 37x optical zoom and the second is the 48x advanced zoom function which is a combination of digital and optical zoom with decent clarity. You can also use digital zoom up to 2000x, but it gets very pixelated.

In general, the video quality is good for the low price. But you can tell the design is for more budget-oriented users, most of all when recording conditions aren’t ideal. It does respond and adapt well to changes in light and distance, but you’ll often notice quality loss, especially when it gets a bit dark. But you can’t expect too much of a standard definition camcorder. If you want high-definition footage, you need an HD camcorder such as the Canon HF100, but those cost much more.

Its wide-angle footage is average. With no zoom, you’ll get just below 50 degrees

Shooting in the dark

When you get below 100 lux, you start noticing some video degradation that intensifies as you go lower. This is about as light as an overcast day, or the lighting in a bathroom. The color accuracy doesn’t fail as much as you may expect, but you will lose a lot of clarity as it gets darker. At 60 lux, you’ll notice a lot of color noise. Especially in the blue and purple spectrum. The compression algorithm makes this noise more intense too. It’s still good enough for home video use. When you get closer to 20, you’ll only get useless footage.

Focus and stabilization

The Canon Fs100 defaults to auto-focus, but you can take manual control from the main menu. You adjust the focus by pushing the control stick left and right. The problem with this is that you can’t see what you’re doing very well. You only get the small low-res display to guide you, and the Canon Fs100 display doesn’t zoom in when you re-focus as newer models do. But the auto-focus is good, so it’s best to let it take over.

Canon Fs100 uses the classic Canon EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization) system found in most of their camcorders. It counters shaking with a buffer of extra pixels around the frame. The downside is that having this feature active also reduces your effective pixel resolution. So unless you’re stuck in shaky conditions without a tripod, you should keep it off. But the anti-shake is good for this price range.

Shutter speed

You can control the shutter speed of the Fs100. You do this via the Shutter Priority control in the Function menu. When you set the shutter speed, the camcorder also makes automatic aperture adjustments to make up for exposure variations.

You get the option of 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/100, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000, and 1/2000. This covers all your basic needs. If you want more precise increments, you’ll need an HD camcorder.

Presets and effects

Sometimes, you don’t have the time to dial in the settings you want and learning that stuff isn’t for everyone. This is where presets come in handy. First of all, you get three general lighting presets called Snow, Sunset, and Beach. Then you have more advanced capture options called Portrait, Spotlight, and Sports mode. And for dark conditions, you get Night mode and Fireworks. These presets are pretty self-explanatory.

The Canon Fs100 also offers some special effects. The expected Black & White and Sepia filters are there. You also get Vivid and Skin options, which do just what they say. Then there’s also Mosaic and Art, which have a major transformative impact on your footage.

Pricing


Since the Canon Fs100 is a dated and discontinued product, it’s pretty cheap, but not many retailers carry it. You can find new ones for between $100 and $300. There’s also an abundance of used ones ranging from $40 to $200. Check it out here.

How the Canon Fs100 Stands up to the Competition

It’s hard to determine how well something performs in isolation. So we’ll provide comparisons against the Samsung SC-MX20, JVC GZ-MS100, and Panasonic SDR-H18. All three offer similar definition and overall functionality, and they write directly to a flash card. Let’s see how they stand up to the Canon Fs100.

How we reviewed


We’ve compared and compiled a variety of user reviews and opinions to provide a good outlook on how these camcorders deliver on their claims. The primary sources of information are Consumer reports, Cnet, and Amazon reviews.

Samsung SC-MX20

This is the cheaper version of the high-definition Samsung SC-HMX20. It’s an affordable standard-definition consumer camcorder like the Canon Fs100, but there are some key differences.

Technical specifications


Depth:

4.9 inch

Widescreen:

Yes

Optical Sensor:

1/6 inch CCD

Optical Zoom:

34x

Digital zoom:

1600x

Format:

MPEG-2

Effective Resolution:

460KP

Shutter speed:

1/6 to 1/1000 seconds

It’s a close match against the Fs100 overall. However, Samsung has cut back a little bit on the components, functions, and resolution.


How it performs

Pricing

No products found.

No products found.

The GZ-MS100 was JVC’s first venture into the world of flash card camcorders. The GZ-MS110B is an updated version. It has some unique features, but it’s similar to the Canon Fs100 in most aspects, so let’s compare them.

Technical specifications


Depth:

4.5 inch

Widescreen:

Yes

Optical Sensor:

1/6 inch CCD

Optical Zoom:

39x

Digital zoom:

800x

Format:

MPEG-2

Effective Resolution:

410KP

Shutter speed:

1/6 to 1/1000 seconds

Overall, its specs are a bit more impressive than those of the Canon Fs100. With its Super LoLux sensor and Minolta lens, it’s an excellent product for this category.


How it performs

Pricing

Panasonic SDR-H18

This one’s a bit bigger, which is in part due to its hard drive. You can capture more video, but let’s see how it stands up to the Canon Fs100 on other matters.

Technical specifications


Depth:

5 inch

Widescreen:

Yes

Optical Sensor:

1/6 inch CCD

Optical Zoom:

32x

Digital zoom:

1000x

Format:

MPEG-2

Effective Resolution:

460KP

Shutter speed:

1/6 to 1/8000 seconds

The zoom isn’t quite as good, but its shutter speed can get much faster than the Canon Fs100. Overall, their specs are equal.


How it performs

Pricing

Comparison Table

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Canon FS100

Where to Buy:

Rating:

Depth:

4.9 inch

Widescreen:

Yes

Optical Sensor:

1/6 inch CCD

Optical zoom:

37x

Digital zoom:

2000x

Format:

MPEG-2

Sound:

710KP

Effective Resolution:

10.1 oz /285g

Shutter speed:

1/6 to 1/2000 seconds

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Samsung SC-MX20

Where to Buy:

Rating:

Depth:

4.9 inch

Widescreen:

Yes

Optical Sensor:

1/6 inch CCD

Optical zoom:

34x

Digital zoom:

1600x

Format:

MPEG-2

Effective Resolution:

460KP

Shutter speed:

1/6 to 1/1000 seconds

PRODUCT

DETAILS

No products found.

No products found.

Where to Buy:

No products found.

Rating:

Depth:

4.5 inch

Widescreen:

Yes

Optical Sensor:

1/6 inch CCD

Optical zoom:

39x

Digital zoom:

800x

Format:

MPEG-2

Effective Resolution:

410KP

Shutter speed:

1/6 to 1/1000 seconds

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Where to Buy:

Rating:

Depth:

5 inch

Widescreen:

Yes

Optical Sensor:

1/6 inch CCD

Optical zoom:

32x

Digital zoom:

1000x

Format:

MPEG-2

Effective Resolution:

460KP

Shutter speed:

1/6 to 1/8000 seconds

Pros and Cons

That was a lot of technical information. Let’s summarize the pros and cons of the Canon Fs100.

It offers a nice balance of price and performance. While the Samsung is cheaper, it’s also weaker. The JVC and Panasonic perform better in general, but they also cost more.

You can’t expect too much of a standard-definition digital camcorder from this era. The Canon Fs100 is not for professional purposes, but it’s great for home videos and such.

Pros

  • Decent standard-definition quality
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Poor low-light performance
  • Only basic features

Our Verdict

It still holds up well and does a comparable job to most of the direct competition. It’s no HD camcorder, but the video quality is fine for everyday use. If you’re looking for a good hobby camera to play with or to practice serious recording techniques without spending a pretty penny, the Canon Fs100 is an ideal candidate.

No products found.

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