Canon HF S100 – HD AVCHD/SDHC camcorder

Canon announced a bunch of new camcorder models. The one I’m looking for is the Canon HF200 and the HF S100 Full-HD camcorders . As I reported before, the Canon HF100 is in my opinion the best low budget AVCHD/SDHC available at the moment. The picture quality of this model, which was brought to the public on April 2008 is breathtaking. But in comparison to the Panasonic HDC SD100, the old Canon camcorder can’t really compete with Panasonic’s feature set, like face recognition, pre-recording, manual focus ring or the optical viewfinder. But if it comes to the video quality, Canon’s HF100 outperforms them all by far. It seems a single CMOS 1/3 inch sensor with Canon’s Digic-DV-II chip is superior to Panasonic’s 1/6 inch 3MOS solution regarding low light behavior and resolution/sharpness, and this noticeably.

The announcement of Canon’s HF200 got my full attention, since I was missing this nice little feature called face recognition. I don’t care for the HF20 model with its built-in 32GB flash memory, because in my environment at home I’m working with an card-reader and a self made auto-get & sort bash-script, which works extremely well for me. Neither I’m missing the manual focus ring, the view finder nor the pre-recording feature.
But then I’ve read, that the new HF200 model is going to have a smaller CMOS sensor (1/4inch), and was a bit disappointed, since I now worry about a worse low light behavior. So the more expensive S100 model with its 8 Megapixel CMOS sensor came into my scope. In order to sort a few personal things for me, I’ve done a little (by far incomplete) table:

Feature Panasonic HDC SD100 Canon HF100 Canon HF200 Canon HF S100
full-fledge sliding carriege yes no no no
Speed + -
Digic-DV-II
+?
Digic-DV-III
+?
Digic-DV-III
Face recognition yes no yes yes
Photo 1920-1080 (2M) 3M 3M 8M
view finder yes no no no
low light + +?
0,4lux
++
0,3lux
design/body ++ + +
weight 320g 380g 340g 450g
Color range + +? +?
Charging charger body body body
Display ++ - - -
Video quality + +? ++?
Custom ring - 1 button 1 button
Image stabilization - +? +?
Optical zoom 12 12 15 10
Sound +
5.1
-
2.0
?
2.0
?
2.0
Price 650€ 560€ 600-900€?
April 09
1000-1300€?
April 09

The best argument for the HF S100 is its bigger CMOS sensor and that it is recording at 6Megapixel, and downsize the footage to 2Megapixel (1920×1080) resolution. The improved dynamic color range and the better(hopefully) low light behavior, plus full-size photography with its 8Megapixel camera makes the HF S100 the perfect choice for me.
I’m looking forward, especially to the better speed and face-recognition.

Actually the real competitor to Canon’s HF S100 is the Panansonic HDC-SD300 and the opponent of the Panasonic HDC-SD200 would be Canon’s HF200. But currently it’s less known about the new Panasonic models, beside their 3MOS with three 1/4,1 inch CMOS sensors, and in sum 10,6 Megapixel ‘effective’ resolution. The maximum recording Bitrate is 17Mbit/sec, whereas Canon records with both models at the maximum what it defined for AVCHD, and this is 24Mbit/sec.
But since I’ve been disappointed a lot by Panasonic with their HDC-SD100 I’d really like to see some test results before I judge about these new cams. The release date for Panasonic models is told to be March 2009, one month earlier than Canon’s models.
I will certainly report on that again. But for now I’m really do expect Canon to be the better camcorder.

3 thoughts on “Canon HF S100 – HD AVCHD/SDHC camcorder

  1. kim wally

    i bought the hf200 . The software provided allows me to transfer the content to my pc and play it there but -i also want to burn it onto a dvd and play it on my pal tv. how do i do that? it uses the avchd compression format and the files have a mts extension -
    can anyone help?
    kim

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