Canon Vixia HF20 Camcorder Review

$249.99 MSRP


The new Canon HF20 comes from a highly-praised, award-winning pedigree. It is being marketed as a less expensive alternative to our 2008 camcorder of the year, the Canon HF11. For an MSRP of $899 ($300 less than the HF11), you get an HD camcorder that's stuffed with 32GB of internal flash memory and many of the features that made the HF11 such a popular choice for consumers. Be warned, however, Canon also did a fair amount of tinkering under the hood—and some of the results aren't pretty. Compared to its older sister, the HF20 is a significantly worse low light performer and it consistently measured high levels of noise in our testing.

For those looking for even more of a budget option, there's also the Canon HF200, which is identical to the HF20 except it records solely to SD/SDHC cards and doesn't contain any internal memory.

Update: The Vixia HF20 was ultimately selected as our 2009 runner-up for Mid-Range Camcorder of the Year. To see why we selected it and read about our other 2009 awards, check out the 2009 Select Awards.

Comparable Products

Before you buy the Canon Vixia HF20, take a look at these other camcorders.

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  1. Introduction
  2. Product Tour
  3. Color Performance
  4. Low Light Performance
  5. Motion Performance
  6. Sharpness Performance
  7. Sample Videos
  8. Ease of Use
  9. Handling
  10. Controls
  11. Recording Options
  12. Hardware
  13. Other Features
  14. Sanyo VPC-HD2000 Comparison
  15. Panasonic HDC-SD20 Comparison
  16. Canon Vixia HF S100 Comparison
  17. Conclusion
  18. Photo Gallery