Canon Vixia HF100: First Impressions

I recently obtained a Canon VIXIA HF-100 HD camcorder. The first thing I noticed is the unit is extremely light, even with the tiny battery installed. You can look up the exact weight, but spec sheets can't replace holding the unit in your hands.

It has a nice solid feel, the interface isn't overrun with buttons everywhere. There is a simple finger-tip joystick interface for all of the obscured menus to change functions of the camera. It has 16GB of internal flash memory with an SDHC slot for an additional card– I used another 16GB card. Over the weekend, I never came close to running out of space. It always displays the recording time left both for the memory available and the battery life. There are four recording “speeds” that translate into resolution and data rate changes.

It has an AV/headphone out port that is selectable in the software as well as an external 1/8″ mic port in which is really nice to have.

The biggest problem I'm running into is it's very unfriendly to use with a Mac. Despite the fact that AVCHD (the format it records in) is MPEG-4 H.264 standards based video, Quicktime doesn't recognize it, no fault of the recorder but instead of Apple for not providing double-click view of the .MTS file format in Quicktime. The provided software on CD-ROM is only for the still image capabilities of the camera, not the video side (really, who uses their camcorder as a still camera?). You can use it with Final Cut Pro 6 and iMovie 8 provided you have an Intel Mac, something which I lack at the present moment. Hopefully this will be forthcoming and you'll be able to double-click and view the videos right off the card.

So, I'll update later once I'm able to scrutinize the picture quality after I'm able to view it on my 30″ monster screen.

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