Canon HG20 Owners Thread - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 679 Old 11-04-2008, 03:57 PM - Thread Starter
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I searched and didn't find any specific thread dealing with owners questions/comments/concerns related to the Canon Vixia HG20




Read a review from Camcorderinfo.com
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post #2 of 679 Old 11-04-2008, 04:03 PM - Thread Starter
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I'll start us off! Of course this question relates to software and not the actual camera.

I purchased Pinnacle Studio 12 Ultimate to do my editing and was wondering if anyone knows of a step-by-step project-based book that is out there for this software. I have learned a lot from books like this for programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Macromedia Dreamweaver, etc. Any ideas? I feel lost with the program even though it's super straight forward.

Give you an example. I added my clip to the timeline and was able to add a title, although the first title i tried didn't work. Then I just wanted to add a transition between the title and the clip. When I tried dragging it to the timeline it went all wonky on my and my clip got cut into and my transition didn't work. Then i switched to storyboard view which seemed easier to add the transition (since it snapped inbetween frames), but when I played the clip I got a big exclamation point where the transition was supposed to play. Obviously I need some training because I ain't getting it.

With regards to the camera, are there any manuals which detail every aspect of the camera? I would like to read some explanations on why they call settings what they call them, like why MXP? What does it stand for? When should I shoot 60i vs 30p? If I'm shooting a volleyball match indoors, what setting should I use. All the things you might learn from an in-depth manual.
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post #3 of 679 Old 11-04-2008, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
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I would imagine that a normal bump wouldn't do much to it, just like a laptop being handled while using the hard drive shouldn't change much I wouldn't think. Are there studies about the amount of jarring it can take before writing processes are interrupted?
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post #4 of 679 Old 11-05-2008, 12:15 PM
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Great Camcorder , cheaper than HF11 , why ?? I don't know .
Can record movies on 60GB Hard Drive and SDHC card as well .
Probably the best camcorder for this money.

Sharp RD2 LC32RD2E
Canon VIXIA HG20

Asus P5K-E C2D E6750 OC 3752MHz 4x1GB
Asus 8800GT Top oc 728/1832
All Water Cooled by Laing DDC + Prison V2
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post #5 of 679 Old 11-05-2008, 04:14 PM
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Has anyone had experience recording MX (highest resolution) video directly to the SDHC card? I know Canon's website said that it's possible to record video to the card, but it doesn't mention at which bit rate. I called Canon and spoke to a knowledgable tech and he wasn't sure that it was even possible to record video to the SDHC card.

I am trying to copy the video to the card and then watch it on a Panasonic Bluray player.

Thanks!

John
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post #6 of 679 Old 11-05-2008, 04:21 PM - Thread Starter
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this is a good question. I would couple that with, if I purchase a SDHC card and my hard drive runs out of recording space, will it automatically switch over to the SDHC card or will I have to stop recording, make some setting change, and then start recording again? I was thinking of adding the PNY 32GB card. In my reading the only thing I could see as a warning was the SDHC card must be a 4speed card (or something like level 4, maybe i'm not saying it right but the number was 4)
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post #7 of 679 Old 11-05-2008, 04:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmorabito25 View Post

Has anyone had experience recording MX (highest resolution) video directly to the SDHC card? I know Canon's website said that it's possible to record video to the card, but it doesn't mention at which bit rate. I called Canon and spoke to a knowledgable tech and he wasn't sure that it was even possible to record video to the SDHC card.

I am trying to copy the video to the card and then watch it on a Panasonic Bluray player.

I recorded with the camera set @ MXP to the card.

The HG20 is designed to record @ a maximum of 24mbps/MXP setting, whether it's onto the hard drive or SDHC card.
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post #8 of 679 Old 11-06-2008, 10:22 AM
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Got it thanks and confirmed on page 32 of the manual.
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post #9 of 679 Old 11-06-2008, 03:39 PM
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Hi recently purchased the Canon HG20. I also have a Dell Dimension 4600 2.6ghz with hyperthreading with a 19" Ultrasharp LCD and an AGP video card with 64MB ram on it. When I try to watch a previous recorded MXP 1920x1080 video footage on the computer using the supplied software, the video is extremely choppy...

I think my PC is fast enough, but is it possible my LCD can't handle the 1920x1080 resolution. I have it connected using a DVI cable but I think the native resolution is something like 1460x1024... Is it my video card?

Please help
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post #10 of 679 Old 11-06-2008, 04:31 PM
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the lcd probably doesn't have enough resolution, but the real problem is that you need a fast 4-core machine to play back native avchd, because it's very cpu intensive... unless you have something like nero showtime, which works well with my intel 6750 dual-core... i think that showtime is designed to utilize the video card for decoding, but that's only a guess.
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post #11 of 679 Old 11-07-2008, 03:55 AM
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There were a couple of posts in this thread that I deleted - I had been over concerned about recording to the hard drive while in a crowded place, (tpuzio's third post refers to my post about "normal bump").

I removed them because I felt it wasn't fair to present that scenario without any real evidence or information; I don't want to discourage anyone from getting this camera. Anyway, the SD card can always be used if need be.

I was also entertaining the possibility of getting an HF11 instead. I am now considering the fact that the extra $200 could be used towards accessories for the HG20.
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post #12 of 679 Old 11-08-2008, 07:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmorabito25 View Post

AGP video card with 64MB ram on it

This may be your problem. My video card is the GeForce 8800 GTX with 768MB of ram. I think you may need to upgrade your computer to see flawless playback of your AVCHD files. Alternatively you could transcode the files to mpeg2 or avi (which somewhat defeats the purpose due to the degredation of quality) and your computer should play them just fine. Or, you could always just burn it to a DVD and play THAT back.
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post #13 of 679 Old 11-08-2008, 08:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xfws View Post

I was also entertaining the possibility of getting an HF11 instead. I am now considering the fact that the extra $200 could be used towards accessories for the HG20.

Good point. I spent $137 on PNY's 32GB SDHC card to put in my HG20 to supplement my 60GB hard drive. I want to record volleyball tournaments at the highest setting (these tournaments can last all day long and 5.5 hours of recording time may not cut it). This solution also gives me the option to use the flash memory card in situations where I might be bumping the camera about while recording thus eliminating XFWS' worry.

I did discover that you must select which memory you want to use when recording before you start recording (HDD or SDHC). So if you run out of hard drive space, you have to stop recording, change the setting, and then start recording anew.

For the "record to an AVCHD disk to playback on PS3" crowd...

I tested this out and it worked great. I used Pinnacle Studio 12 Ultimate software to create a short movie with some transitions and title overlays with a couple clips shot at the highest setting HG20 has. I burned to a DVD-R disk using AVCHD format within Pinnacle's software. Took it to my PS3, inserted the disk, it started playing automatically like a normal bluray or dvd disk, and the quality was the same as playing clips back via the camcorder over HDMI.

I am extremely happy with this camera and know that I now I can create HD disks for my PS3, create DVD's for everyone else, and transfer to my computer for editing.
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post #14 of 679 Old 11-08-2008, 01:51 PM
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When you say 768MB ram, is that your computer memory or the RAM on the video card? What speed is your computer too? Mine is a 2.4Ghz with hyper threading and I have an ATI AGP 64mb All in One 9000 PRO video card.
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post #15 of 679 Old 11-08-2008, 03:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes my video card has 768mb of ram on the card itself. My system uses 4gb of ddr2 ram. My CPU is an Intel Core 2 Quad core (Q9450) which runs at 2.66 GHz

The speed of CPU's are relative though. If you have a Pentium 4 with hyperthreading, this is the processor prior to the Core 2 Duo's which is prior to the Core 2 Quad cores. Having a video card with only 64MB of memory on it isn't helping the cause. If I had to guess your problem is that your hardware isn't up to the task of editing AVCHD video. I bet if you shoot at a lower setting your machine would do just fine, but the computing power needed for this new HD video format is pretty top notch. There are only a couple of processors better than mine that are even out. There are only a couple of video cards better than mine that are out, and then your only option is to run 2 or even 4 of the same card in SLi mode (tethered together to double or quadruple your theoretical video processing power).

If you want to get the most out of your camcorder, I would recommend stepping up your computer to at least an Intel Core 2 Duo processor (preferably a Quad core) increasing your system RAM to at least 2GB (4GB preferred), and buying an Nvidia GeForce 8000 series video card. Those upgrades will cost you around $800 (complete rough estimate check the site that starts with the word "price" and is combined with the word "watch" with no spaces in between and ends with ".com" for the best prices on components) assuming you need a new motherboard with your new CPU.

If you don't upgrade you will never get smooth playback in my humble opinion. You can try other codecs and other players but I think you'll find your computer will be the bottleneck in this equation.
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post #16 of 679 Old 11-17-2008, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmorabito25 View Post

Mine is a 2.4Ghz with hyper threading and I have an ATI AGP 64mb All in One 9000 PRO video card.

I agree with tpuzio..I think you should invest a little on a new computer. 64MB GFX will seriously cause you pain and suffering!! AGP is really outdated. o.O

On another note. I'm looking to get my Dad the HG20.
Pretty new into the camcorder scene, hopefully we can get more ppl posting in here.

For the people who already have it, can you possibly list your likes/dislikes about the cam?

I'll probably end up doing editing for my Dad as he doesn't have time to learn all that jazz~

Any advice-info would be great
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post #17 of 679 Old 11-17-2008, 09:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmorabito25 View Post

When you say 768MB ram, is that your computer memory or the RAM on the video card? What speed is your computer too? Mine is a 2.4Ghz with hyper threading and I have an ATI AGP 64mb All in One 9000 PRO video card.

i don't know that the agp bus is going to hold you back, but the cpu will.

i've been trying to edit 24Mbps avchd on my 3.0 ghz p4 laptop, and it's practically impossible, lol... it won't even hardly play raw avchd back with nero or coreavc.
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post #18 of 679 Old 11-17-2008, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Let's not get too sidetracked on what computer specs are needed for editing AVCHD as this isn't necessarily the best place to hold that discussion. Suffice it to say, if you want the best performance out of your footage on your computer, it is a good idea to check the minimum specs listed in the user manual and on the product details page on Canon's site. This is where you want your computer to be.
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post #19 of 679 Old 11-17-2008, 12:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nightfallfx View Post

For the people who already have it, can you possibly list your likes/dislikes about the cam?

hey, nightfall... I have the HG20..

Likes:
-Solid camcorder/feels like a movie camera, not a toy
-Many connections options; HDMI, mic input +
-Very good auto focus
-Well-organized and easy to understand menu layout
-Almost everything can be controlled via the wireless remote vs. the joystick on the camera
-Can record to both the hard drive and SD flash memory slot
-Audio meter and mic attenuator
-Excellent video quality


Dislikes:
-The image is bigger in the final video than what you see on the LCD
-There's a hard drive, with moving parts inside the camcorder

The first like about it being like a movie camera could be viewed as a negative because it's somewhat bulky as opposed to the flash memory cams that someone would be able to just quickly take out and start shooting. You can do that, it's just the HG20 is a bit bulkier.

I really can't think of any other negatives right now, but the potential issue with moving parts hard drives is a concern. The potential issue being if the camera were moved too much or if it were bumped, etc. As stated earlier, I don't really know if this is a fair assessment; yet I am still concerned about it.

I have considered getting the HF11 instead, with the internal flash memory.
I was reading how the president of Samsung was saying that an internal flash drive was impossible to expire the amount of writes it can make during the life of the device because it uses different parts of the flash memory. If one part went bad -there are others to be utilized...
But, he did say there is a possibility of a failure of the controller inside the flash memory drive on an internal flash drive...
I don't know how common this is, I'm thinking that it's less likely than a hard drive failure...but maybe someone else can weigh in on these scenarios...

If there were ever actually a failure in the hard drive - you would still be able to use the SD card slot; or, if it's cheap enough; have it serviced and replaced.

Anyway, the HG20 is a really nice camcorder.
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post #20 of 679 Old 11-17-2008, 12:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nightfallfx View Post

For the people who already have it, can you possibly list your likes/dislikes about the cam?
Any advice-info would be great

I purchased a 32GB SDHC card to bring my total possible recording time to over 8.5 hours. I also purchased the biggest battery pack they sell for this camcorder (i don't recall the model number). The standard battery records for about 80minutes on the highest settings. The extended battery records for about 3 hours on the highest settings. Between the two I can record a couple of volleyball matches in totality without needing to plug anything in.

I would recommend a nice camera bag so your expensive toy isn't damaged.
I would recommend buying extra batteries or the extended one despite it's price, the time saved in charging smaller batteries over and over is worth it.

Buy a good tripod (usually buying used is a much better idea than buying new because you can buy a professional tripod for the cost of a cheap throw-away plastic consumer tripod). You want the tripod to weigh more than the camera itself (top heavy with $1000 on the line is no fun).

Picture quality is superb.

Ease of use - having never used a digital camcorder (the last camcorder i had was super8) i had no trouble, although i did read the manual

It's a great buy.
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post #21 of 679 Old 11-25-2008, 12:18 PM
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What's the native file format of the HG20?

-David
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post #22 of 679 Old 11-25-2008, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
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The HG20 shoots in AVHCD format. I'm not sure if it changes the format to something else if you lower to recording quality settings as I have only tested it out at the highest settings.
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post #23 of 679 Old 11-25-2008, 04:02 PM
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Just ordered the HG20 from B&H. Arrival date is supposed to be 12/2. Can't wait. Now I just need to get a couple of 16GB SDHC cards, a camcorder bag, and possibly an external mic and I will be set for a while. Anyone recommend an external mic for this camcorder? I'm considering the following mics:

Rode Stereo VideoMic
Rode VideoMic
Sennheiser MKE-400
Canon DM-100

Regards.

Jason
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post #24 of 679 Old 11-26-2008, 11:33 AM
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Has anyone with an HG20 and a PS3 tried hooking the HG20 to the PS3 via USB to see if you can play back HD video from the hard drive?

A related question: can you take the SDHC card out of any of the Canon HD camcorders and place it in the PS3 (or in a TV) to watch the HD video?

Or is the only way to watch videos on my HDTV by burning discs?

And lastly, can you copy video clips from the hard drive to the card and from the card to the hard drive? (Edit: The Canon web site http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/co...delFeaturesAct just confirmed that you can copy in both directions!)

Edit: Stupid me! I didn't even think about just hooking up the suplied component cable from the camera to my HDTV to watch the HD video that way!!!

Thanks alot!!

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post #25 of 679 Old 11-27-2008, 04:03 PM
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Man I am loving this camera.

I am just blown away.

"As iron is eaten away by rust, so the envious are consumed by their own passion." - Antisthenes
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post #26 of 679 Old 11-27-2008, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr Mabuse View Post

Man I am loving this camera.

I am just blown away.

Hey Dr Mabuse
how about some more info?
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post #27 of 679 Old 12-01-2008, 10:48 AM
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I purchased my HG20 after weeks of reading reviews and feed backs of the few cameras on my list, Sory Sr11/12, Canon HF10/100 and finally HG20.
IMHO this camera is a steal compared to Sony SR11. I am well aware of stated draw backs like cheapo built quality and noisy zoom motor, lack og viewfinder, but for around $300 less than the Sr11 I had to pull the trigger.
I am only bummed that I took so much time to make up my mind and now my Hg20 wouldnt arrive till 12/15 (from Amazon). There are 3rd party seller on Amazon who show the camera in stock, but i wanted to buy from Amazon LLC because of their awesome return policy, in the off chance that the camera is less than what i expect.
The cheapest price on a Sony SR11 was around $725 shipped from a couple of online retailers with simply horrific customer feedback and painstaking return policy, most reliable retailers, online or otherwise are selling the SR11 for $800+ while the HG20 can be had for $540 Shipped.
Will keep you guys posted once I get the camera.
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post #28 of 679 Old 12-01-2008, 11:09 PM
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A positive side effect of a HDD camera is that it gets warmer when operating, therefore may perform better in the cold.
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post #29 of 679 Old 12-02-2008, 02:16 PM
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I have the HG20 on order so I haven't tried it out yet, but I'm really curious about the 60i vs. 24p vs. 30p setting.

Is one setting better for a particulary kind of filming? Or is it just more personal preference than anything else?

I will be mostly recording my son's soccer games - to send to college coaches and keep for my wife and I since he only has one more year of playing left - if he doesn't play in college.

Edit: Looking closer it seems that 30p and 60i are actually the same as far as how this camera works. So I guess my question is: Is 24p or 30p/60i better for filming sports? And what about family gatherings in the house like Christmas?

Thanks!

PS Network Name: radckh
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post #30 of 679 Old 12-02-2008, 03:57 PM
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I used to be a Sony camcorder fan, but the touchscreen menu really turned me off. It is absolutely horrible to use. That aside, I am a loyal Canon SLR fan and currently own a 20D and a myriad of lenses so it was a natural choice to look at Canon. I bought the camera from Best Buy. The original price was $899, but they price matched Circuit City at $854, then 2 days later they price matched their own sale of $799, then 2 days later they again matched their now lower price of $599. Whew, $599 it is, what a deal!

I love the camera. It feels solid like the "L" (Pro) series still camera lenses I am used to and it delivers comparable image quality. The low light quality is not great (noise) but it is better than I would expect from a consumer grade camera (more like pro-sumer.) The stock battery life is a little dismal at 95 minutes, but anyone serious will own multiple batteries so that is not an issue really. I purchased 2 extra BP-819 batteries and an after market fast charger for $15 (Canon wants $60 for a charger!)

I edit on a MacBook Pro (dual core 2.4, 2G ram, 128M nVidia) using iMovie '08 and I have no problems to report. I do plan to purchase Final Cut eventually. The files are quite large when uncompressed, but you can backup the MTS (stream) files directly from the camera to DVD as a nice way to store "negatives".

As for concern over the hard drive, I wouldn't be. Hard drives are quite durable now, and the camera comes with a built in drop sensor that you can disable, but DON'T! This detects a fall, hopefully before it's too late, and moves the drive head (think needle on a record player) a safe distance away from the platter (think record) to prevent damage. I was initially concerned since this is not a high-altitude capable hard drive and is not recommended for use above 9800 ft. I do a lot of hiking, climbing, and mountaineering and wanted to use the camcorder to record these ventures. This turned out to not be an issue because you can simply use the SDHC option. If you are curious, you can google the high altitude / hard drive issue. When you think about it, millions of laptops, ipods, pda's, etc are used everyday, much more than camcorders and you rarely hear of issues, even after bad drops. Don't get me wrong, they do happen, but just not that frequently.

The optical stabilization is fantastic all through the zoom range. It is particularly impressive at full optical zoom (why does digital zoom even exits?) as I could see no perceptible shake after it initially stabilized. The LCD is nice and bright with easily accessible controls. I have fairly large hands and I have no complaints on using the buttons and menus. The menu layout is intuitive, easy to learn, full featured (amazingly so), and 99% of it can be controlled via the included wireless remote. Playback works well as the video is easy to see and the audio playback is plenty loud. I love that there is a mic input and a line out allowing the use of external microphones and monitor headphones.

I plan to get a lav mic and the mini hot shoe light as well. I was also a little bummed that the mini-hdmi cable was not included and that Canon wants $60+ for it. I did order one from monoprice.com (awesome site btw) for ~$12.

I hope this helps some make a decision, and please feel free to ask any questions you may have. I am not a video expert, but I am highly technically inclined. I am a Unix software and systems engineer and have worked in electronics and engineering for almost 15 years. I'm not trying to impress anyone, but I hope it gives you a hint as to my general technical level.

-Bill
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