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Canon VIXIA HF R20 Full HD Camcorder Review

The Canon VIXIA HF R20 Full HD Camcorder looks like a camcorder and feels like a camcorder in your hand as it has a rounded body, swing-out view display and can handle high-definition video as it carries 8 GB of memory right out of the box.

When Canon sets out to design a videographic device, whether its a point-and-shoot camera, digital single lens reflex or camcorder, you know they are serious. It's easy to see that with the VIXIA HF R20 camcorder. It looks like a camcorder, feels like a camcorder and handles a camcorder's work delivering high-quality, high-definition video. Out of the box, you have a minimum of three hours of video time and since it is equipped with two SDXC digital memory cards, you can increase your filming time exponentially. Indeed, with two high-density SDXC memory modules installed you will be able to film at least a terabyte worth of video. That's a huge amount of footage and time, but it is worth it.

Like other Canon products, the R20 is driven by a DIGIC processor. In this case it is the DIGIC DV III which gives this handycam a great deal of flexibility. For example, it is equipped with Canon's 28 mm 28X zoom lens. This means you can take some pretty long shots handheld. That's right, unless you are trying to take a video of the moon moving through the night, about the only time you'll need a tripod is when there's a lot of wild movement such as you might find on a boat or moving vehicle (yes, you can set up a tripod on a sailboat, but it is tricky and you do have to watch out when the skipper hollers "Jibe Ho" as you may just want to duck to keep from being swept overboard, however, the results of shooting a complete sailboat race and editing it are worth the effort with a tripod). Otherwise, all you need is a steady hand as Canon's autostabilizer feature takes over and even handheld long shots are sharp.

Interestingly, since the R20 relies on much of the same technology that was pioneered for the EOS line, you will find a wide ISO range so that you can shoot in incredibly low-light situations without needing a strobe.

The 7 x 6.2 x 5.2 inch handycam that weighs in at only 2 pounds is fantastic and not only includes huge amount of video capability and autostablization, but also features Canon's lens technology. Canon's autostablized lenses deliver some of the clearest images on the market. It also shoots at the native high-definition resolution of 1920 by 1080 which means that you can interface the video from this device with any HDMI (high-definition-compatible) display device.

The R20 also features Canon's Face Recognition software that allows you to find and follow up to 35 faces.

The R20 also features a HD to SD feature so that you can use your high-definition sound and video with a slower system. The step-down rates are 8, 6 and 4. And, believe it or not, this intelligent camcorder which features a display that can swing through about 270 degrees and then turn over so you can actually edit from it or, if your video subjects are doing some crazy stunts you can follow them, is also Internet compatible with its EyeFi mode where you can upload directly to any of the Social Media sites such as Facebook or Twitter.

This review could go on and on talking about the R20, but, the bottom line here is that if you are looking for a handycam that will stand you in good stead for a long time and will actually remain competitive - with the inevitable tweaks, of course - for at least the next couple of years, may be the handycam for you.

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Roberto Sedycias works as an IT consultant for

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