2. The Canon Vixia S21 is one of three Canon camcorders marketed as a series. The other models include the HF S20 and HF S200. As the “big brother” of this group, the Vixia S21 is distinguished by its electronic viewfinder (EVF), which is often a required feature for serious videographers. They know a camcorder with an EVF is a more balanced recording platform; but, even with an EVF added, the Vixia S21 is pocket-sized. The Vixia S21 is equipped with an 8-megapixel CMOS sensor; 10x zoom lens; and a 3.5-inch, 922,000-dot touch-screen LCD. Canon has also given the Vixia S21 its newest optical image stabilization technologies. The Canon Vixia S21 is priced as low as $1,149.
3. As a “little brother” to the Canon Vixia HF S21, the Vixia HF S200 is equally feature-rich. It records HD video at 1080/60i at 24Mbps and 1440x1080/60i @ 12, 7 and 5 Mbps. Its touch-screen LCD provides a wide range of selections to control shutter speed and depth of field unlike the typical prosumer camcorder. The 3.5-inch LCD is so big that direct sunlight affects it very little. The sharpness and color accuracy of the image from the Vixia HF S200 rate very high. Pros will choose the Vixia HF S200 as a supplement or backup to their first-line equipment, while the serious amateurs who are willing to spend the money will have all the pro-like capabilities they will ever need. The Canon Vixia HF S200 is available for $999.
4. The Panasonic HDC-TM900 is also one of a series of prosumer camcorders that seems to have the three biggest needs serious shooters demand: top-of-the-line video quality, a complete selection of manual controls and pro-level features. Of the three in this group (HDC-HS900 and SD800), the TM900 is preferred by many pros and serious amateurs because of its electronic viewfinder. They also like this camcorder’s 3 x 3.05-megapixel CMOS sensor and 12x zoom lens that provides a 35–420mm equivalent focal-length range. Panasonic has also vastly improved the LCD size, advancing from one of the smallest to one of the largest in this class, a 3.5-inch, 460,000-dot screen. B&H Photo Video sells the Panasonic HDC-TM900 for $749.92.
5. The Panasonic HDC-TM700 may be one of the best camcorders for its price in the marketplace. Its compact design belies all the goodies packed inside, including an electronic viewfinder, a broad complement of manual features and the clever technology to produce excellent video in low-light conditions. As if that wasn’t enough even for the experienced pro, the TM700 also offers a 1080/60p-recording mode. Any serious video creator was also like how easy it is to zoom the lens at a constant rate. Panasonic has also added the face-recognition technology found in its still cameras, so the TM700 can store as many as six faces. Another major advantage of the Panasonic HDC-TM700 is the much longer life of its battery, compared to the competition. The Panasonic HDC-TM700 retails for $995.
6. The Canon Vixia HF M400 is a video-perfect choice for amateurs who want the best set of features and image quality in a mid-range camcorder. Canon gave it a quality boost when it added the same HD CMOS Pro sensor found in the HG G10 (see above). The M400’s 10x zoom lens (43.6–436mm equivalent focal length) will cover all the activities of families, friends and events throughout the user’s life. The M400 renders sharp video, which looks very good when played directly on a TV. Video in low light is significantly better than just the acceptable range. Given its somewhat larger size, it’s easy to shoot the M400 with just one hand. The Canon Vixia HF M400 can be purchased from B&H Photo Video for just $329.
7. The Panasonic HDC-SD60K is one of the company’s four entry-level HD camcorders; and, like its siblings, is capable of highly acceptable performance and video quality as well as many manual features, which gives the beginner more creative flexibility. The 25x zoom lens takes the amateur from close-up to long-view shooting smoothly and quickly. This Panasonic camcorder includes a nice addition of the six-person face-recognition system in the more costly HDC-TM700 (see above). Of particular importance to beginners is the accuracy and speed of the auto-focus system and how well it locks onto what they want to record in focus. The Panasonic HDC-SD60K is priced as low as $639.89.
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