The Canon HF R20 is our 2nd choice in the under $400 category. The most important feature of this camcorder is that it shoots excellent quality full High Def 1920×1080 video. 8GB of flash memory is built-in and there are two SDXC memory slots. SDXC memory cards can go as high as 2TB, meaning you have virtually no memory limitations with this camcorder.
The HF R20 has relay recording, meaning it switches automatically from the internal memory to the memory card slots, a handy feature. The R20 can record up to 40 minutes of video on the highest quality setting with just the internal memory.
Zoom capabilities are strong with the 20x optical zoom, 28x “advanced” zoom and digital zoom ranging to 400x.
The camcorder is very light at 9.5 ounces and 2.4 x 2.4 x 4.8 inches. Another plus for the R20 is that it offers excellent audio quality for this price range.
One noticeable flaw of the HF R20 is that image stabilization for this camcorder is a bit below par.
An item on the plus side of the ledger is shooting in 24p cinema mode, which emulates the frame rate of cinema film, providing a movie like experience.
The R20 shoots high quality HD video, has strong zoom capabilities, high quality audio, effective Face Recognition and automatic settings. Memory capacity is excellent, battery life could be better. Negatives include sub-par image stabilization and the menu system could be more intuitive. Back on the plus side, the R20 has a number of very nice features for this price range such as the ability to shoot at 24p Cinema Mode, and the ability to shoot at 30p (Progressive Mode) which is good for uploading video to the internet and also very good for shooting sporting events. Overall this camcorder provides excellent value for the price.
Additional Features include:
The VIXIA HF R20’s has an HDMI Terminal which you can use to hook it up directly to a High-Def television.
Another nice feature, you can capture 30 photos from one second of video, this is great for analyzing a golf or baseball swing.
Canon has excellent auto focus technology and this camcorder has the best auto focus in the price range.
Face recognition software tracks a face through the frame, maximizing settings for focus and exposure, this can aid greatly in creating high quality video.
The HR R20 includes Canon’s own 3.2-megapixel Full HD CMOS Image Sensor and DIGIC DV III Image Processor. These combine to create sharp images with vivid color.