2009 was a great year for Canon because it launched so several camcorders targeted at specific groups. It impressed the people that are already familiar with HD technologies with 1080p cameras as well as the budget crowd that are totally fine with ordinary camcorders. Now Canon is going to do it again this 2010 in the same style by releasing another trio of camcorders that will overcast the older models. This time Canon is targeting consumers that really cannot afford a high-end camera, but still want something better than a pocket-sized. The Canon FS300 brings all the nice things about digital camera recording without going past the $300 mark.
Latest Update: The Canon VIXIA FS300 is now on sale at Amazon.
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Design and Interface
Like the VIXIA models, the FS300 comes in three colors. Instead of offering a black style like the FS200, the FS300 comes in a fresh dark blue, red or silver design. Don’t expect any touchscreens on this device like the new midrange models supports, but the screen size measures the same at 2.7 inches. It is also easy to get used to the interface since it can be navigated rather easily using the joystick controls. When the device is not in use, the lens cover automatically closes. This built-in lens cover is not only good in protecting the lens, but it also eliminates the possibility of losing the lens cover. The FS300 isn’t a camcorder to put in a pocket, but it only weighs 9.0 ounces so it is easy to carry while traveling.
The older FS2 series saw great success which is why these devices still sell today. It also the reason why Canon did not do much work in improving the sensors of the device. This shouldn’t be alarming for people that never used a camcorder before because the Genuine Canon 41x Advanced Zoom performs nicely and the image quality when fully zoomed is clear.
Also present once again is the DIGIC DV II processor which may not be as powerful as the ones the HD camcorders use, but it still records nicely in widescreen formats so they should still look good on high-definition TVs. Some other useful technologies present in pricier models are used by the Canon FS300 like the Dynamic IS where the segment can remain still even when moving to record.
Although the image quality is decent and the zooming functionality is versatile, it is still SD quality in the end which is a step under HD. However, the advantage of SD lies on its small file size allowing up to 7 hours and 20 minutes of continuous footage to be recorded on High Image Quality settings. Since there is no internal memory in the FS300, a 32 GB memory card is required to store that length. 16 GB, 8 GB, 4 GB, and 2 GB cards are also supported. At smaller capacities, 3Mbps formats are recommended.
The FS300 contains many of the nice shooting features that the FS200 provides including the Quick Start feature which readies the camcorder for recording whenever needed. To compensate for missed moments, the Pre-Record feature can be used to record any three seconds that occurred immediately before the “Record” button is pressed.
“As stated by others the software included with the camcorder is terrible. It has no editing ability. I ended purchasing a third party software for $50, so in the end, with the memory card this is more like a $400 camcorder. Video is as good as it should be for an SD camera, sound is okay. Overall a good camera.
Pros: Small, light, quickly charges, long battery life, decent enough video “ – Amanda(IL,USA)
Lately, many new cameras are serving as secondary still cameras as well. Unfortunately, the CCD sensor saw a slight downgrade capable of taking 680,000 pixel photos, but the Dual Shot mode is still kept. This allows still pictures to be taken without interrupting a live recording session.
Quick Charge is also reintroduced in the FS300 which is basically a technology that charges batteries faster. Just charge the battery for 20 minutes and the camcorder can be used to record an additional hour of recording. In addition, the Li-ion Battery itself claims to be intelligent by displaying how many minutes are left before the battery goes empty allowing better planning of recording sessions.
Once the memory is full, the card can be taken out and inserted into a card reader or the video can be transferred via USB cable. From there, the video can be uploaded to a video sharing site or the recording can be edited using the Pixela ImageMixer 3SE video editing software.
Since there is no internal memory present, the Canon FS300 is inexpensive and is even cheaper than some high-end Canon digital cameras. To top things off, the FS300 is currently the same price as the FS200.
More user reviews:
• “This is a fairly inexpensive, basic, camcorder. Probably the best selling point versus its competitors is the excellent wide ranging zoom lens on this camera. The LCD screen is also good sized and seemed bright and clear. You’ll definitely want a 16GB or (better still) 32GB SDHC card to get full use from the camcorder. I found the image quality to be only so-so, though certainly in line with other inexpensive camcorders (and far better than a Sony “bloggie” that I had the misfortune of trying a few months ago). It’s a small camera (would fit in a pocket), easy to handle (controls right by the fingers), and those controls are clear and straightforward. You’ll want to get your hands on the actual camera before buying though, some folks complain that their hands are too big around the unit. Check that out yourself.” – Michael A. Duvernois(MN,USA)
• “This camera is small enough to easily fit into your jacket pocket. The automatic lens cover means not having to worry about the lens, nor any extra pieces to carry around and keep track of. The long battery time, large capacity of a SD card and small size adds up to a very convenient camera to keep with you translating into a greater likelihood of actually having the camera with you more often to catch those interesting moments of our lives. This is a very easy camera to use while shooting video.
There is a little more labor involved to edit video and transfer footage. Although it can be done without too much difficulty. And I am reluctant to be critical of that aspect since the technology has advanced so much in the last decade. I remember a time when videotaping our personal lives was much more limited by the technology.
The picture and sound quality are good. The price is right. I recommend this camera for the convenience and price. Unless of course the best picture and sound available is what you want, then more expensive cameras are available worthy of a five star review. For most purposes, this camera can’t be beat for its convenience and therefore the greater chance of actually having it on hand when needed.” – E. Flynn(USA)
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