The dust hasn’t even begun to settle around the impact crater created by the entry of Canon’s Vixia HF S10 onto the battlefield, and they have already unleashed the Vixia HF S11. Armed with the same great features as its predecessor and a few high-impact improvements, the Vixia HF S11 promises to hit the prosumer market with explosively successful results.
Out of the Box
With the delicate touch of trained munitions experts, we removed the package’s protective wrappings, revealing the contents. The device itself is a thing of beauty. Nicely compact and weighing in at barely one pound, it is the epitome of modern stealth technology. The Vixia HF S11 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder is accompanied by a battery pack, a compact power adaptor, a stereo video cable, a wireless controller (battery included!), a USB interface cable, a component cable and a Video Solution disc containing a variety of useful applications.
Despite its small size, the Canon Vixia HF S11 packs a plethora of devastatingly cool features. Dual Flash Memory allows you to capture video both to the roomy internal 64GB Flash memory and to a removable SDHC memory card.
The Canon 10X HD video lens captures images brilliantly in full HD optical quality, while the HF S11’s Dynamic SuperRange Optical Image Stabilization technology assures steadier shots, no matter what you’re shooting, or how. This is particularly critical with HD video’s hi-res images. Stunningly beautiful hi-def images record in full 1920×1080 resolution, at the highest AVCHD bitrate of 24Mbps, via a single 1/2.6″ 8.59 megapixel full HD CMOS image sensor. Canon’s DIGIC DV III image processor is responsible for the excellent image quality, true color reproduction and exceptional low light performance.
As part of the testing process, we took the HF S11 on a field trip to the grand opening of the new Fine Arts building at a local community college. We shot a wide variety of colors and backgrounds, slow and fast movement, reflective surfaces and varied lighting conditions. From a dimly-lit theatre to the brightly-lit white walls of a contemporary art gallery, we were very pleased with the camera’s performance.
Images (both video and still) were gorgeous, colors brilliant and true, audio clear and strong. Camera movement was minimal due to the Dynamic SuperRange OIS technology, and the results under low light conditions were very nice. Instant Auto Focus and Focus Assist were instrumental in achieving a razor-sharp focus.
Simultaneous Photo Shooting is a handy feature that allows you to capture photos on the fly while shooting video, without skipping a beat. The mini advanced accessory shoe terminal is a pro-level feature that allows you to attach a number of optional accessories, such as the RA-V1 remote control adaptor. The RA-V1 provides a LANC terminal for connecting a wired remote control device (Canon’s ZR-1000 or ZR-2000, for example) for those times you may want to use your Vixia HF S11 with a tripod. The built-in electronic lens cover is a very handy feature that provides critical lens protection without the potential loss of a lens cap.
The Advanced Video Snapshot mode lets you create four-second video clips you can then play back in-camera with pre-loaded background music, while Night Scene mode is a welcome improvement to low light shooting. The result is better video “noise” reduction and greater clarity, with those pesky neon and other artificial lights from buildings, billboards and bridges all recording beautifully, without the usual overexposure issues.
War Room Wrap
Its many prosumer and professional-level features and benefits make Canon’s Vixia HF S11 a great new addition to the videographer’s production arsenal. It’s sure to become the weapon of choice for many who are on the front lines of today’s video production wars. As one of my daughters commented repeatedly many years ago at the firing demonstration of a civil war cannon, “Ready, aim, fire, BOOM!”
Media: 64GB internal flash, 1 SD/SDHC card slot
Data Format: AVCHD
Image Sensor: One 1/2.6″ CMOS, 8.59 megapixels total, 6.01 megapixels effective
Zoom: 10X optical
Focal Length: 6.4-64mm
Filter Diameter: 58mm
Maximum Shutter Speed: Video -1/2000;Still -1/500
Image Stabilization: Optical
Manual Shutter Speed Control: Yes
White Balance: Auto, manual, presets
Direct Iris/Gain Control: Aperture-priority AE
LCD Monitor: 2.7″; 16:9
Frame Rate Modes: 60i, PF24, PF30
HD Focus Assist: Peaking, b&w
Color Bar Generator: Yes, SMPTE
Audio Modes: Dolby Digital Stereo
Mic Input: 3.5mm stereo mini-jack
VU Meters: On-screen display
Level Controls: In menu
Headphone Jack: Yes
Analog Video In: No
Analog Video Out: Composite, component
FireWire In/Out: No
USB (for file transfer): Yes
Other Video Out: HDMI
Wireless Remote: Yes
Battery Charging: On camcorder
Media Slot: Behind flip-out display
Onboard Video Light: LED
Accessory Shoe: Mini advanced shoe
- Large internal Flash drive (64GB)
- Additional Flash storage via SDHC card slot
- Full HD recording
- Highest quality AVCHD (24Mbps)
- Night Scene mode
- No viewfinder
Moderately priced, Canon’s Vixia HF S11 is a powerful choice for video producers looking to make their mark on the professional video landscape.
Mark Holder is a video producer and trainer.
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