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on April 23, 2011
I received this yesterday (22 Apr 2011).

INITIAL THOUGHTS
I wanted a basic camcorder to capture the typical kids events, vacation stuff, etc. I'm not trying to make pro quality videos, so the Standard Definition is fine...the widescreen format is a plus. Prior to purchasing this, my main concerns were what file type it would record as and how smoothly the transfer to my computer would go. Videos on the SD card are recorded as a .mod file which are converted to a .mpg during transfer (if you use the Pixela software that comes with the camcorder). Transferring to the computer was pretty straight forward and fairly intuitive...my old Vista machine with a 1.8Ghz processor easily handled the transfer and conversion. The size of the device is great; it truly fits in the palm of my hand. The ergonomics are laid out well. On screen menus are not overly cumbersome or confusing. The LCD panel is very bright and readable outdoors. Video quality is what I expected from a camcorder at this price - not eye popping good, but not grainy and jerky either. Videos are clear and smooth. I haven't taken enough videos to judge the battery life or video quality in different settings. Overall, I feel like I got what I paid for. At this time, I'll say, "So Far, So Good".
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on October 25, 2011
This has been a nightmare! I called Apple, researched for hours, and still couldn't find how to make this camera compatible with iMacs and iMovie.

Well, it took a call to Canon where I spoke with a very pleasant representative after zero wait! Here's how you do it:

1) Open up iMovie

2) Turn on your camera

3) Display your recorded clip on the camera screen (don't play it just display it)

4) Plug the USB into the computer USB port (no firewire necessary)

Voila!! There it is. Just import it from the camera and you're on you way to editing fun. I had all this done and my video uploaded on YouTube within 10 minutes.

Have a good time with this wonderful little camera. It may not be HD but the pictures are sharp, the color is brilliant and I can't tell the difference. It's not hard to use and its not hard to carry. I highly recommend this little super priced camera.
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on September 21, 2012
I did a lot of searching for a good camcorder for under $200. After looking at reviews, this one seemed to fit the best. I bought it on another site that had an advertised special for a hundred and seventy five in the red color. I was replacing my JVC GR-D270 MiniDV Camcorder w/25x Optical Zoom because I could hear mechanical noises of the Mini DV tape trying to spool and such while recording. Plus it had a limited capability of 90 minutes on long play.

So I ordered this Canon camcorder, and bought a BP-827 camcorder battery to go along with it off Amazon. I got the camcorder in the mail, and found out that the battery goes into a little compartment underneath the camcorder, is held in place by a little latch, and is held shut by a little door. I quickly canceled the Amazon order for the BP-827 battery after reading that this Canon FS400 will ONLY take BP-808 camera batteries! The battery has grooves molded into it to slide onto an external battery holder for other models, but as for the Canon FS400, it simply drops in a fixed size compartment. So there is no way of upgrading to extended battery life whatsoever with the Canon FS400.

This Canon is about half the height, and feels like half the weight of my JVC camcorder GR-D270. My JVC camera took about 10 seconds of waiting time before I could record. This Canon, due to less moving parts and a SD card, was up and recording in two seconds. I had popped in my 16 GB Class 4 SDHC card that had quite a few photos on it from my Canon Rebel XS, and I still had two hours and thirty minutes to go on standard play. The indoor quality isn't the best on standard record mode, but neither was my JVC camcorder. It doesn't have a traditional viewfinder like the JVC camcorder, but utilizes the LCD screen. The buttons are very small for my big paws. I got confused why I couldn't move from one menu tab to the other despite pressing the knob several times left and right with no response. It turns out that I have to scroll up to the very top, and then left or right to work the menu tabs. While trying to set the clock for the first time, it was hard for me to press that little knob to set the date and time without going over the time or not having the icons move at all due to this tiny knob that controls left/right/up/down movement and acts as an enter button being the diameter of a #2 pencil. So that is a bad design in my honest opinion.

Otherwise the zoom is pretty good. That 2000X digital zoom should not seal the deal when buying a camera such as this, since digital zoom is just cropping the image to blow it up even more, resulting in very grainy, and in this case, rainbowy colored extreme closeups. With so many professionals and amateurs downing digital zoom, they should just remove digital zoom altogether and just say "37x optical zoom" which is what this is. I don't know what the 41x advanced zoom is. However, it is a lot quieter in my opinion compared to my JVC camcorder when zooming in and out. The light on it is like an LED pen light. Not very powerful, and creates a bluish tint on film. However, trying to find the light button, one has to take the camcorder off Auto mode and press directly on top of that small control knob to turn the light on and off like one would do a push light.

The only other complaint is that I wish, like on my JVC, that the photo shutter button would be behind the zoom slide button, further away from my thumb, and not in front of it like it is now. I bought the camcorder to record video, not take photos. I have ruined many home videos on my JVC camcorder by pressing the shutter button for pictures while trying to push the button to zoom in and out. This Canon is no different. However, it does seem to cause a delay when taking a photo instead of instantly taking one. I will have to do some tests to see if that will actually interrupt the recording of video or not. With my old JVC, it would freeze the film and an audible shutter sound effect would take place while the frame froze, and then after a few seconds, the video portion would record again. So again, I wished that Canon would have put the photo button further away from my thumb when I try to feel for the zoom button.

Update Sept 26 2012:
I found out that while recording in both auto and manual mode, the photo button is disabled. It flashes a red SD icon to show it isn't allowed. However, when one is not recording video, the photo button works like normal. So that is a plus on disabling the photo option to keep from ruining a video shot. However, the quality of the digital camera aspect is very lacking. A smartphone cell phone camera can take better and bigger photos.
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on July 25, 2013
This camera is pretty good for the price, but if you're looking for excellent sound to record kids' concerts, as I was, then this is not for you. The sound is just not great. The picture is fine but not nearly as good as an HD camera. After a year i finally went for an HD cam, and glad I did.
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on November 16, 2013
I had the previous model of this camera and hated it because it performed really poorly in low light, so I gambled on this one and it really paid off. It works great in pretty much any light and seems to be very good quality for the money. It goes out of focus on occasion, but that's probably some setting I have wrong. Would defiantly recommend this camera.
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on August 6, 2013
I purchased this video camera to serve as a secondary video recorder for my daughter's figure skating competitions and shows. It's very easy to use, which allows me to hand it off to other people, leaving me free to use my primary camera (a Canon DSLR) for still shots.
After using it for a few events, it's really only good (for me) as a secondary camera. The video quality is not as good as I hoped (I had hoped it would be equal to the video taken by my DSLR), and in low lighting it struggles a bit.
I did not use the still photograph option at all.
Pros:
VERY easy to use
Uses standard SD memory cards (meaning I can share cards with my DSLR)
Transferring files to my computer is simple
The file format used is easy to work with when burning a DVD from the videos taken.
When using a 32 GB memory card, you can record for nearly an hour without a break. (*Note: We had a 2.5 hour show, and it split the recording about 2/3 of the way through the show. This is NOT an issue if you plan ahead.)
A fully charged battery lasts for hours of recording time.
The zoom is easy to use and easy to explain to other people.
Cons:
The image quality, while good, is not nearly as good my DSLR.
It's difficult to find extra batteries & they are not inexpensive. (I prefer to have a minimum of four batteries for any device using non-standard batteries.)
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on July 6, 2011
Seemed to fit the bill for a small road-trip video camera. It zooms in pretty well and seems to stay focused ok for a camera in this price range. The software it comems with seems a bit goofy and it did not recognize the camera when it was plugged in to the USB port. I had to pop out the mem card and plug that in instead.

Overrall ... not bad for the money.
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on December 10, 2013
There is one reason I'm giving the lowest rate possible: I have had two cameras (same model) and both have stopped charging the battery after a few months. Why bother buying a handheld camera that you have to use with an energy cable attached all the time?

Update: I finally got the second camera to charge the battery. I left the camera a whole day connected and the battery didn't charge. Today I tried something different: I reset the camera and it started charging again. Go figure.
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on October 9, 2011
This is my first camcorder i found easy to use the instruction were excellent. Battery life was good, although I bought a battery charger, as charging with out one took a long time. Transferring onto computer was good, and the vision was good.
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on October 25, 2014
My grandson had hoped to record his daily experiences so he always had his camcorder with him but unfortunately he died last December & was quite incapacitated the last month of his life to use it like he wanted which frustrated him but after his death my daughter & son- in- law gave the camcorder to one of his buddies who is in remission from bone cancer & he is using it a lot - thanks
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