Canon Vixia HF S100 Review: Discover The Best Camcorder For You

canon vixia hf s100

When hunting for a quality camcorder, there are many factors to consider. Meant to be easily used, versatile and virtually all-inclusive of everything you need to document moments on the fly, we focused on the Canon Vixia Hf S100’s abilities in quality sound and video recording as well as its functionality, and then compare to leading cameras of similar value on the market. With all that in mind, we hope to guide you to the best camera for your needs and your budget.

What Is the Canon Vixia HF S100?

Vixia HF S100

Sensor:

8-megapixel CMOS sensor

Max resolution:

1920x1080 video at 60i

Video format:

(HD)

Optical zoom:

10x with its HD zoom lens

Exposure ability:

internal ISO capabilities for low-light scenarios

Internal memory:

No internal memory

Connections:

mini-HDMI inputs, 3.5mm mic input

Weight:

1-pound

The Canon Vixia Hf S100 is a largely ‘prosumer’ grade camcorder meaning it targets a class of videographers that are interested in pro-grade and professional looking footage with a potential output for commercial needs. As a camcorder, it is a recording device focused on gathering video and audio footage conveniently, comprehensively and aesthetically pleasing, so it’s for the most part viewable and presentable at the onset of recording.

As a camcorder, it offers versatility in functions like zoom, auto-exposure, auto-focus, and handheld portability. For these reasons and more, the Canon Vixia HF S100 is heralded as an ergonomically friendly and well-designed bit of hardware that provides the quality performance to even casual users.

Product Specs


To start, the Canon Vixia Hf S100 is small: 2.8-inch-by-2.7-inch-by-5.4-inch dimensions and weighing about 1-pound, it is a light and friendly addition to any videographers kit. It bears the typical feature fare including mini-HDMI inputs, 3.5mm mic input and an 8-megapixel CMOS sensor which stands out amongst camcorders for its size and resolution. It records 1920x1080 video at 60i and can magnify up to 10x with its HD zoom lens. With a fast F1.8 exposure ability as well as internal ISO capabilities for low-light scenarios, this camera will prove versatile in most scenarios and will gather usable footage where other options might fall flat.

Finally, on the hardware end of things, it includes a pop-up flash for lighting scenes at night and two stereo mics to record quality sound on location.
Noticeably missing is the eye viewfinder, which in harsh daytime shooting scenarios can leave you basically helpless when trying to capture footage on a glare-laden LCD screen.

Pricing


Many online retailers place the Canon Vixia Hf S100 at approximately $600. This is largely all inclusive as it is a camcorder so there won’t be any need for add-ons or accessories once it’s bought.

How It Compares


To truly take an in-depth look at the Canon Vixia Hf S100, we’ve placed it alongside 3 other leading competitors in order to better compare and highlight the qualities and pitfalls that set these products apart. As with any camera, your specific needs will be the major determinant qualities, but for us, we’ll focus on the quality of footage taken against the cost to discern what is best for the price. We compared the Canon Vixia Hf S100 to:

  • Canon VIXIA HF R52
  • Sony HDR-CX240
  • Panasonic HC-W850
  • Canon Vixia HF S100
Vixia HF S100

Price

Many online retailers place the Canon Vixia Hf S100 at approximately $. This is largely all inclusive as it is a camcorder so there won’t be any need for add-ons or accessories once it’s bought.

Ease of Use

This one is tricky to tack down because the extra features can be both a positive and a negative. For the prosumer, the added features on the Canon Vixia Hf S100 are easy to discern and can give you a wide command over an otherwise largely automated device. Meanwhile, for the casual user, these extra features like zebra striping and manual exposure modes can lead down some confusing rabbit trails and just generate footage that is less than thrilling. Ultimately, though you can just ignore these if they don’t add to your experience so for that, we decided a higher mark was appropriate.

Features

10x optical, zebra striping for focus, full manual mode and more, this camera can do what you need when you need it. Meanwhile, the external inputs for microphones and more make it so you can provide upgrades as needed to keep this camera relevant for years to come. Auto features like autofocus, auto exposure and more provide an ease of use that make it an exciting option for every filmmaker's toolkit. Finally, the additional features like video snapshots breathe a new degree of creative inspiration into the camera that ensures it expression is hardly limited.

Nothing perfect though and this camera does lose points in avenues like the fairly short battery life and the aforementioned video snapshot feature being a bit more complicated than necessary. Overall, this camera claims its proficiency in its features and rarely disappoints.

Design Quality

With buttons in all the right places, a powerful rig inside a tiny, one pound body and features that fully support a wide variety of shooting scenarios, there is little to complain about. Of note are the lens shutters that have a tendency to rattle when closed, which posed only an annoyance and doesn’t affect usage too much. The battery life leaves much to be desired, and the lack of a viewfinder creates frustrations in rare occasions but again, in the overall this camera has the user in mind and manages a standard of quality throughout its design.

Warranty

The Canon Vixia Hf S100 product is mostly discontinued in production; you’ll have to find it secondhand or new through online mediums like Amazon.com and eBay.com. Because of this, you are at the mercy of those vendors and are subject to varying warranties and vendors who may or may not be reliable.

Pros

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Quality Auto features for all kinds of shooting scenarios
  • Amazing picture quality and audio fidelity

Cons

  • A large price difference from other leading camcorders
  • No viewfinder in harsh light situations
  • Rattling shutters make for less than pro-grade appearance
Canon VIXIA HF R52

The Canon Vixia HF R52 is smarter than your average camera and dumber than your average phone. It is a lightweight and user-friendly camcorder that offers exciting features like WiFi and live stream capabilities so that you can capture and present real-time fidelity to audiences all over the world. It offers expected features like advanced zoom which imply quality and work well for casual users most interested in documenting experiences for sentimental reasons.

Price

Available online for close to $500 and comes with everything you need to be up and running right out of the box.

Ease of Use

Because this camera is a grab-and-go option, there is little to learn or understand. It’s easy to use and user friendly across all degrees of experience and expertize.

Features

Online WiFi features make this great for live stream enthusiasts, but otherwise, this camera offers a no-frills option for recording technology.

Design Quality

The camera is simple and easy to pick up and use. For that, there’s little to find contentious with the design and functionality of this product.  Overall, it’s user-friendly and fantastic for all your general needs and uses.

Warranty

On Amazon, there’s little regarding this product's warranty. If the product is faulty, you have the power of Amazon's own warranties to back you up, but as this product is largely out of development now, you won’t have canon’s warranty to back it.

Pros

  • Simple Design for ease of use
  • WiFi Capability
  • 3.28 megapixel 1080p full HD CMOS Sensor


Cons

  • Few additional Features
  • Advanced zoom feature is not true zoom and sacrifices fidelity for increased zoom
  • No viewfinder or exterior features

Sony HDR-CX240 Full HD Handycam Camcorder (Blue) + Camera Works...
  • Sony BUNDLE Includes: Sony HDR-CX240 Full HD Handycam Camcorder (Blue) + Camera Works Cleaning Solution
  • Full HD 1080/60p Video and 9.2MP Stills | 29.8mm Wide-Angle Carl Zeiss Zoom Lens
  • 27x Optical Zoom & 54x Clear Image Zoom | 2.7" Clear Photo LCD Display

The Sony HDR-CX240 next to the Canon Vixia HF S100 is quite wittled down and muted by comparison. The simple two-button flip out screen and the otherwise easy zoom feature and photo button make it nearly impossible to confused while in use. With 1080p recording and an easy-to-use zoom lens, there is little to find contentious about the product and equally little to talk about it. This camera does everything it needs to and little else.

Price

You can find this bit of camera tech for around $200 through online retailers such as Amazon.com and eBay.com

Ease of Use

With only 2 buttons on the pop-out screen, a labeled ‘zoom’ button and a clearly labeled ‘photo’ button, this is a truly user-friendly device that doesn’t take much at all to use.

Features

This camera shoots video, records and saves its footage. You can zoom, you can save and otherwise you can buy another camera when you need to do anything else. Unlike this Canon Vixia HF S100, this camera is built solely for automatic usage and offers very little else in terms of customization and creativity.

Design Quality

It’s hard to find a pound-for-pound comparison here as it is, for the most part, a feature-less camera which creates a fantastically simple recording device. It’s easy to use, does what it needs to and for that meets all of its design and intended goals without issue.

Warranty

With cheap 3 and 4-year accident protection plans you can confidently purchase this product and expect it to work for years to come.

Pros

  • Extremely easy to use
  • Affordable
  • HD Quality in a simple design


Cons

  • Few features compared to other market options

  • Clear image zoom is deceptive zoom function that sacrifices quality for increased image design
  • No inputs for external additions

Panasonic HC-W850 Twin Camera Full HD Camcorder Bundle with Carrying...
  • The Panasonic HC-W850 Twin Camera Full HD Camcorder features a secondary, "B-angle" sub camera built-in to the flip-out...
  • 6.03 Megapixel MOS Main Sensor| 3.8MP Sub Camera on Flip-Out LCD| 20x Optical Zoom Lens HC-W580K Full HD 1080p
  • 5-Axis Optical Image Stabilizer| Second Camera Rotates 270°| Advanced Level Shot Function

This is a pro-grade handheld camcorder that offers everything you could need in a video camera and more. With high-quality HD recording, amazing microphones for quality audio recording, WiFi capability, and even a second camera to record reaction shots or additional media, this product is the extent of what imagination can provide and more.

Price

For around $900 you can pick up this camcorder online, and it’s ready to go out of the box.

Ease of Use

With all the bells and whistles, this camera suffers from the weight of its own ability. It operates exceptionally for users interested in incredible quality and but can be daunting for casual videographers just interested in recording their son’s baseball game.

Features

Wifi capability for high-fidelity live streaming, dual recording camera, incredible in-camera audio, exceptional internal video recording, 24 megapixels, optical zoom and more, this camera is all you need and so much more.

Design Quality

The exceptional array of features are largely juggled by quality layout and management with pre-visualized engineering. It is a little heavier than other competitors on this list and can pose a challenge for portability, but overall it is easy to understand and use and not that much bigger than other camcorders.

Warranty

The Amazon protection plan provides fairly decent coverage for up to 4 years, but as this model has been discontinued by the manufactures, People suffer from a lack of oversight from the Panasonic offices.

Pros

  • Dual camera system
  • High-quality internal microphone
  • Incredible resolution

Cons

  • Expensive price tag
  • Complicated for casual users
  • Discontinued makes it hard to find support for

Comparison 

Conclusion

With any camera purchase, your needs are the best frame to focus camera quality though. If you want simplicity and ease of use, you’ll find cameras like the Sony HDR-CX240 much better suited for you. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for pro-grade support and functionality, the Canon Vixia HF S100 or the Panasonic HC-W850 may just be the option for you. In all cases, these cameras will not stand up to a cinema-grade camera for aesthetic or picture quality, but for a quick and easy solution to recording opportunities in the moment and without complication, they’re a great option.

The Canon Vixia HF S100 makes for a great addition to a filmmakers kit, but not a necessary component for a loving father to record baseball games with. For the $700 price tag, it’s cost prohibitive for the civilian grade camera needs but not as strong as a DSLR or other cinema camera to be used on any major production. This is a camera for the mid-grade content producer like YouTubers, documentarians, and people interested in having a quickly accessible record option. It may be a nice addition to a kit, but not a specifically necessary component.

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