Question by C.: Canon vixia for independent filmmakers?
Is the canon vixia (specificallly the hf s21/200/etc.) an ideal camera for the independent filmmaker?
Answer by Little Dog
Ideal? I don’t think so. Will they work? Sure – any video capture device can be used if it is used within its capabilities. In this case, the consumer grade camcorders you listed have small lenses, small single CMOS imaging chip and very limited manual controls. If you capture the video under good lighting condition and are not expecting any depth of field controls that are easy to get to, then they will be fine.
Some other issues with flash memory camcorders (not limited to the Canon HF series):
=> SD cards can be expensive. When you fill a card, if you don’t have another blank to use, then you need to transfer that video to some other external storage – a computer is most common, or a direct to DVD burner can be used.
=> What are yuor planes for archiving the video? With miniDV tape, the tape is the archive, so no extra step to make an archive copy.
=> Is your computer hardware and video editor capable of dealing with AVCHD compressed MTS files?
=> If there is fast action in your film, high compression video is not a good way to go. Low compression will be a lot more useful.
If your computer does not have a firewire port (and no way to add one), then the HF S series is a decent selection area. Personally, I like the HF S 100 for what it is. If your computer has a firewire port, or you can add one, I would much prefer the Canon HV40 or Sony HDR-HC9. In either case, I would not call them “ideal”.
The Canon XHA1 and Sony HDR-FX1000 are the low end of what I would consider “ideal” for an indie.
What do you think? Answer below!