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Canon VIXIA HF G20

High-definition camcorder with 32GB flash memory

Includes a FREE 8GB memory card 8GB memory card
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  • Canon VIXIA HF G20

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  • Canon VIXIA HF G20

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  • Canon VIXIA HF G20

    Camcorder shown with supplied accessories

  • Canon VIXIA HF G20

    Front, 3/4 angle from right, with LCD touchscreen rotated for storage

  • Canon VIXIA HF G20

    Front, 3/4 angle from right, with LCD touchscreen rotated outward for monitoring

  • Canon VIXIA HF G20

    Front, 3/4 view, from left

  • Canon VIXIA HF G20

    Left side view, with LCD touchscreen rotated inward for storage

  • Canon VIXIA HF G20

    Left side view, with LCD touchscreen rotated outward for monitoring

Item #: 280HFG20
 

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Our take on the Canon VIXIA HF G20

by Woody Sherman
Canon

Shoot videos for posterity — or posting online

From birthday parties to YouTube™ antics, camcorders let you capture moments you can share with friends and family, or the world at large. Most newer camcorders save your videos to built-in digital memory or a removable memory card. Some models come with a built-in hard disk drive that gives you much more storage. For maximum portability, check out our smaller cams that fit into a pocket or purse. For high-def videos that look awesome on your HDTV, go for a slightly larger model with a better lens and image sensor.

Record video like a pro

The Canon VIXIA HF G20 comes freshly equipped with a redesigned sensor/processor combination that delivers 20% better low-light performance than its predecessor. It offers a range of high-performance features, including Canon's latest imaging technology, intelligent automatic modes, and professional-style controls. This camcorder records photos and videos onto 32GB of internal memory, which can hold up to 12 hours of HD video. It also has dual memory card slots, allowing you to add as much memory as you want. It'll even automatically switch video recording from one memory card to the other when it's full, so there's no need to worry about running out of recording time during a thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime shot.

Read more

Exceptional image quality

On the 'G20, each pixel is significantly larger, and more sensitive than the pixels found on conventional sensors. This means that each pixel on the 'G20's image sensor can capture more light for the best video quality possible. This sensor is also designed to produce HD video at exactly 1920 x 1080 resolution, so there's no need for the camcorder to digitally resize the image captured by the sensor. This 1-to-1 equivalence of sensor pixels to screen pixels means less possibility for visible digital artifacts getting in the way of your captured images. The 'G20 even has a sophisticated 8-blade iris for professional-looking shots with crisply focused subjects against smooth, blurred backgrounds. You'll be impressed by the beautiful, clear images this cam captures in dimly lit restaurants or of a city-scape at night.

Get the control you want

The dedicated manual focus ring gives you pro-style hands-on shooting. You can focus in on any subject in your frame, and then make subtle, artistic changes. Use the control dial at the back of the cam to make precise adjustments to the shutter speed and aperture settings to give your movies just the right look. White balance and exposure controls let you adjust for a wide range of lighting situations. This cam even comes with a lens hood to help you shoot flare-free images in bright settings. A lens cap (Canon calls it a "barrier") is integrated into the hood's design.

Smart, automatic features make filming a breeze

Ready to let the cam take over? The smart auto mode intelligently detects and analyzes faces, brightness, color, distance, and movement, then automatically selects the best settings for the scene. You can achieve the sharpest focus possible with this cam's instant autofocus, which snaps to focus seconds faster than many other systems. Tap anywhere on the 3-1/2" touchscreen while recording, and the 'G20 will shift the focus to that spot. It'll even following a moving subject — people, vehicles, fast moving animals, and more — across the frame to give you clearer focusing and exposure. Optical image stabilization covers for an even wider range of camera shake, even while at maximum zoom.

Fun extras help you create and share your videos

Record your video using one of the cinema filters, like "dream" or "old movie," to get an instant professional cinematic look. For an even more filmic experience, shoot at a 24p frame rate. The Video Snapshot Mode lets you shoot short movie clips which can then be stitched together on the camcorder and played back with background music. It's a fun, easy way to document your vacation highlights or a friend's party.

Extend the capabilities of your camcorder

The 'G20 has a mini accessory shoe on the top, so you can add on an optional external microphone, video light, and more. When you're ready to show off your footage, hook it up to your HDTV using the supplied mini HDMI cable to see your high-def videos on the biggest screen in your house. Or connect the camcorder to your computer's USB port to transfer videos to your PC for editing, archiving, or uploading to the web.

    Storage and Formats:
    • records high-definition video and photos onto 32GB internal flash memory
      • internal memory holds up to 12 hours of HD video at the lowest quality setting, and almost 3 hours at the highest
    • Canon HD CMOS Pro Image Sensor delivers excellent low-light performance and wide dynamic range
    • also takes optional SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards
      • internal memory switches automatically to optional memory cards when full; dual memory card slots switch from one card to the next when full
      • pre-record feature is always caching 3 seconds of video before you press record, so you'll never miss the critical action
    • maximum video resolution: 1920 x 1080
    Features:
    • 2.37-megapixel, 1/3-inch HD CMOS PRO image sensor (2.07 effective pixels in 16:9)
    • advanced DIGIC DV III image processor
    • 10X optical zoom lens (200X digital zoom total)
    • 3-1/2" touch-panel 922k-dot widescreen LCD, plus 260k-dot color viewfinder
    • records in Dolby Digital® 2-channel audio, and in 5.1-channel surround with optional Canon SM-V1 microphone
    • microphone and headphone jacks
    • optical image stabilization compensates for a wider degree of camera shake
    • native 24p progressive mode allows for a more cinematic look
    • manual focus ring lets you more precisely focus on subjects
    • custom control key and dial gives you quick access to the manual function of your choice, including shutter speed, aperture, exposure, and more
    • on-screen lighting assistance with zebra patterns, brightness levels, and on-board waveform monitor
    • Instant Autofocus gets your images sharp and shot-ready in seconds
    • Touch & Track allows you to get precise focus and exposure on any subject
    • Cinema-look filters give your video the look of a variety of cinematic styles, like dream, memory, nostalgic, and old movie
    • Smart Auto Mode chooses settings from up to 38 pre-set scenes, including portrait, sports, night scene, telemacro, beach, snow, and sunset
    • Video Snapshot mode allows you to assemble a highlight reel of 2-, 4-, or 8-second video clips
    • redesigned lens hood with integrated lens barrier allows better shooting in bright light
    • includes Pixela Video Browser editing software
    Connections and Dimensions:
    • high-speed USB interface (cable included)
    • mini HDMI and composite video outputs for connection to any TV (cables included)
    • remote control included
    • mini advanced accessory shoe lets you add an optional mic, video light, and more
    • comes with an AC adapter/charger and rechargeable lithium ion battery (BP-808)
    • 3-1/2"W x 3-1/16"H x 6-1/16"D (excluding lens hood and grip belt)
    • weight: 20.8 oz. without battery
    • warranty: 1 year
    • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

    Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

    Features and Specs
    General
    LCD Screen Size (inches) 3.5
    Viewfinder 0.24" Electronic
    Total Pixel Count 2,370,000
    Effective Pixel Count for Video 2,070,000
    High-Definition Yes
    Aspect Ratio 16:9, 4:3
    Manual Focusing Yes
    Filter Diameter 58mm
    Optical Zoom 10 x
    Digital Zoom 4 or 20 x
    Night Imaging Low Light
    Image Stabilization Optical
    Built-in Video Light No
    Built-in Memory 32 GB Flash Memory
    Max Recording Time w/ Included Battery 110 min
    Digital Still Camera Features
    Effective Pixel Count for Stills 2,070,000
    Built-in Photo Flash No
    Still Image Aspect Ratios 16:9
    Inputs and Outputs
    USB Port USB 2.0 High Speed
    HDMI Output Mini
    Mic Input 3.5mm
    Dimensions
    Weight With Battery (ounces) 22.4
    Width (inches) 3-1/2
    Height (inches) 3-1/16
    Depth (inches) 6-1/16
    Warranty
    Parts Warranty 1 Year
    Labor Warranty 1 Year
    Image Sensor Warranty 1 Year
    Product Research
    What's in the box?

    Download owner's manual

    • Flash memory camcorder (black)
    • Lens Cap (installed)
    • Lens Hood
    • BP-808 Lithium-Ion battery (7.4V/890mAh)
    • CA-570 Power adapter with attached 5.5' DC output cord (DC output: 8.4V/1.5A)
    • 5' AC cord
    • Stylus pen
    • WL-D89 Wireless Remote Control
    • CR2025 Lithium battery
    • 59" HDMI cable (with mini-HDMI connector on one end and a full-size HDMI connector on the other end)
    • 59" A/V cable with 3.5mm mini-jack plug on one end and RCA composite and stereo audio plugs on the other end
    • 2' USB cable with Mini USB Ver.2.0 connector on one end and Type-A USB connector on other end
    • VIXIA software on CD-ROM
    • VideoBrowser Ver.2.6 CD-ROM
    • Instruction Manual (En/Fr/Sp)
    • VideoBrowser Startup Guide (En/Fr/Sp/+4 others)
    • Register Now card
    • Limited Warranty card
    • Important Information regarding the Lens Hood

    Our Product Research Team

    At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

    Features
    Battery Information
    Inputs And Outputs
    Software

    Features

    Overview: The Canon VIXIA HF G20 Flash Memory camcorder shoots high definition video or digital photos that can be stored on the built-in 32 GB flash memory or on optional SD, SDHC, or SDXC Memory Cards. You can store nearly 3 hours of HD video at the highest resolution on the built-in 32 GB memory.

    Image Sensor: The HF G20 features a 1/3", native 1920 x 1080 HD CMOS Pro image sensor. HD CMOS Pro uses fewer pixels (2,370,000) which are 61% larger and more sensitive than those found in most consumer camcorders. The result is outstanding video resolution, superb low-light performance, and wide dynamic range. The sensor's low-light performance is 20% improved, compared to the Image Sensor used in the HF G10 camcorder (from 2011). The effective pixel count is 2,070,000 for video and photos.

    3.5" Widescreen LCD Touch Screen: The HF G20 features a 3.5" TFT color widescreen LCD touch screen (922,000 dots) to make it easy to compose and review your shots. The bright screen lets you see exactly what your camcorder is recording, and what your widescreen TV will display later. You can rotate the LCD screen 270° allowing the subject to monitor the LCD screen. The LCD screen also features an adjustable brightness control. The LCD Screen's frame contains zoom, playback and menu controls for added convenience.

    Viewfinder: In addition to the 3.5" LCD, the camcorder also features a separate 0.24" TFT color viewfinder with 260,000 dots. You can switch from the LCD screen and the viewfinder by pulling the viewfinder out. You can adjust the viewfinder to your eyesight using the dioptric adjustment lever. The viewfinder includes the same large, comfortable eye cup that is used on Canon's XA 10 professional camcorder for blocking out extra light to improve visibility.

    Recording Media: The Canon HF G20 camcorder captures video and still-images onto the built-in 32 GB flash memory or optional SD, SDHC, or SDXC memory cards (sold separately). Flash memory offers quick response time for recording and playback. By recording onto flash memory, the camcorder's power consumption rate is reduced, allowing the battery to last longer. In addition, by using flash memory, the camcorder is more shock resistant and is less likely to lose data because there are no moving parts.

    Dual Memory Card Slots: The HF G20 is equipped with two slots for inserting SD, SDHC, or SDXC memory cards. When the memory card in slot A becomes full while recording movies, the recording will continue uninterrupted on the card in slot B. When the built-in memory becomes full while recording movies, the camcorder will automatically switch to the memory card in slot A (Relay Recording), and then to the card in slot B. You can also record the same scene simultaneously to both cards (Double Slot Recording).

    Recording Formats: The camcorder records movies in AVCHD (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264) video compression format with Dolby Digital 2-channel audio, using the built-in microphone. You can record in 5.1-channel surround when using the optional SM-V1 Surround Microphone. Still photos are recorded in JPEG compression.

    DIGIC DV III: DIGIC DV III, Canon's advanced HD image processor, delivers enhanced image quality, true color production for both video and photos, and a sophisticated noise reduction system for exceptional low-light performance. Its high-speed engine powers a variety of Canon technologies, such as the Genuine Canon Face Detection and Advanced Auto Exposure system. DIGIC DV III allows continuous shooting of digital photos, faster processing to the memory, as well as lower power consumption for longer battery life.

    Mini Advanced Shoe: The top-mounted Mini Advanced Shoe allows you to attach a range of optional accessories, such as video lights (VL-5 or VFL-2) and external microphone (DM-100).

    Genuine Canon Video Lens: The HF G20 comes with a Genuine Canon HD video lens with a 10x Optical zoom (35mm equivalent: 30.4 - 304mm) and a selectable 4x or 20x digital zoom for a 40x or 200x total digital zoom. A lens hood is included to reduce the amount of stray light to enter the lens.

    Zoom Speed: The zoom speed can be set to variable or one of three fixed speeds. In the variable position, the zoom speed depends on how far you push the lever. The purpose of the three fixed zoom speeds is a smoother zoom transition, at your choice of speeds.

    Digital Tele-Converter: You can digitally increase the focal length of the camcorder by a factor of approximately 2x and record the enlarged image at full HD resolution.

    Optional Converter Lenses: The HF G20's lens has a 58mm filter thread, allowing you to attach optional converter lenses to increase or decrease the focal length. The optional TL-H58 Tele-Converter increases the focal length by a factor of 1.5 with a minimum focusing distance of 7.5'. The WD-H58W Wide-Converter decreases the focal length by a factor of 0.7, giving you a wide perspective for indoor shots or panoramic views. In addition to converter lenses, you can also attach 58mm protective or natural density filters to the lens.

    Dynamic Image Stabilizer: The HF G20 has a Dynamic SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer system with Powered IS to compensate for camera shake. The Image Stabilization system provides continuous adjustment throughout the entire zoom range, plus extra compensation at wide-angle focal lengths. The Powered IS function compensates for hand movement at the telephoto end of the zoom range. You can select the degree of compensation:

    • Dynamic: Highest degree of compensation; most effective at wide angle zoom. (movie mode only)
    • Standard: Compensates for a lower degree of camera shake
    • Off: No compensation applied. Recommended when camera is on a tripod.

    Operating Modes: Using the Mode Switch on the top of the camcorder, you can select one of the following Operating Modes:

    • Auto: The camcorder takes care of all of the settings while you concentrate on recording.
    • Manual: The manual setting gives you full access to menus, settings, and advanced functions.
    • Cinema: The Cinema mode gives your recordings a cinematic look. The Cinema-Look filters help you create unique movies.

    Video Snapshot: The camcorder's Video Snapshot mode lets you shoot a series of short video clips, then combines them with a pre-recorded music track or your own favorite music track, to create an entertaining movie. You can select the length of the video snapshot scenes: 2 sec, 4 sec or 8 sec.

    Story Creator: The Story Creator feature helps you create and organize high quality videos. You can choose from five themes: Travel, Kids & Pets, Party, Ceremony, and Blog. A list of suggested scenes to shoot is provided, as well as help with selecting, categorizing, and rating scenes.

    Instant Auto Focus (AF): The HF G20 offers Instant Auto Focus, which uses an external sensor, in combination with Canon's auto focus system, to help significantly decrease the time it takes to focus, even in low light situations. The Focus Assistance feature provides a 2x magnification of your subject in the LCD monitor before you start recording. When recording begins, the Focus Assist is canceled. Other Autofocus modes include Medium AF and Normal AF.

    Manual Focus Ring: The HF G20 has a manual focus ring that helps you achieve the focus you're looking for. The focus ring response can be set to fast, normal, or slow, plus the focus direction can be set in either direction.

    Face Detection: The camcorder can automatically detect people's faces and use this information to adjust the focus and set the best exposure and color control settings for beautiful videos and photos. When there are a number of people in the picture, one person will be determined to be the main subject. You can also select the main subject manually.

    Exposure Modes: The HF G20 features several exposure modes, each depending upon how much control you have over recording-related settings:

    • Smart Auto: The Smart Auto setting automatically selects the best settings for the scene you want to shoot. You get spectacular recordings every time without worrying about the settings.
    • Programmed AE: The camcorder automatically adjusts the aperture and shutter speed to obtain the optimal exposure for the subject.
    • Cine Mode: The Cine Mode gives your recordings a cinematic look. You can select a 24fps progressive frame rate to enhance the effect.
    • Shutter Priority: You choose the shutter speed to freeze or blur the shot while the camcorder selects the appropriate aperture for the scene. You can select shutter speeds of 1/8 to 1/2000, or 1/6 to 1/2000 in PF24 mode.
    • Aperture Priority: You choose the aperture to affect the depth of field and the camcorder selects the appropriate shutter speed for the scene. You can select aperture settings of f/1.8 to f/8.0.
    • Special Scene Recording Modes: The camcorder features the following Preset Scene Recording Modes to match special conditions: Portrait, Sports, Night Scene, Snow, Beach, Sunset, Low Light, Spotlight, and Fireworks.

    White Balance: The camcorder's white balance system helps you accurately reproduce colors under different lighting conditions so that white objects will always look truly white in your recordings. You can choose from the following modes: Automatic, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Tungsten, Color Temperature, and Custom WB.

    Cinema-Look Filters: The HF G20 allows you to record with the following cinema-look filters: Cinema Standard, Vivid, Dream, Cool, Nostalgic, Sepia, Old Movies, Memory, and Dramatic B&W.

    Digital Effects: When shooting videos, you can select a fade or wipe to begin and end a scene. The fader can be activated only one time, or every time you start/stop recording.

    Self-Timer: This feature allows the camcorder to start recording after a 10-second countdown. When using the wireless remote control, the delay is two seconds.

    Wireless Remote Control: The HF G20 comes with the WL-D89 Wireless Controller. With this remote, you can control the following functions of the camcorder: Start/Stop, Play/Pause, Menu Navigation, Display, Photo button (for taking still images), and zoom in/out.

    Recording Modes: The camcorder offers five video recording modes:

    • MXP: 1920 x 1080, 24 Mbps, 2 hrs 55 min (max recording time with built-in 32 GB memory)
    • FXP: 1920 x 1080, 17 Mbps, 4 hrs 10 min
    • XP+: 1440 x 1080, 12 Mbps, 5 hrs 45 min
    • SP: 1440 x 1080, 7 Mbps, 9 hrs 35 min
    • LP: 1440 x 1080, 5 Mbps, 12 hrs 15 min

    Still Image Recording: The HF G20 flash memory camcorder is also a high performance digital camera capable of capturing stunning photos onto the built-in 32 GB flash memory or optional SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card. Photos are recorded at 1920 x 1080 only. The number of still images that can be recorded on a 1 GB SD memory card is approximately 670.

    Video Snapshots/Photos From Recorded Movies: You can record video snapshot scenes and still photos from a recorded movie. The size of the captured photos will be 1920 x 1080.

    Pre-Recording: When Pre-Recording is activated, the camcorder starts recording video continuously into a temporary 3-second memory. When you press the Start/Stop button, the scene recorded will have started 3 seconds before you started shooting. This is especially useful when it is difficult to predict when to start recording.

    Built-in Microphone: You can change the directionality of the built-in microphone to control how sound is recorded. The options include: Monaural, Normal (stereo), Wide, and Zoom.

    Built-in Speaker: The camcorder has a built-in speaker so you can review the soundtrack as well as the picture when you're using the LCD screen to playback a recording. The built-in speaker is monaural.

    Playback Functions: The camera uses the following special playback modes: Fast Playback (5x, 15x, or 60x) in either direction, Slow Playback (1/8x or 1/4x) in either direction, and Frame-by-Frame Playback. During these playback modes there is no sound.

    Battery Information

    Lithium-Ion Battery Pack: The Canon HF G20 comes supplied with a rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery Pack (BP-808). Optional batteries are available, such as the BP-808, BP-819, or BP-827. The camcorder also comes supplied with an AC power adapter and charger (CA-570). The battery recording and playback times are as follows:

    Battery Pack Function LCD Viewfinder
    BP-808
    890 mAh
    Maximum Rec 105-110 min 110-120 min
    Typical Rec 60-65 min 65-70 min
    Playback 145-150 min
    BP-819
    1780 mAh
    Maximum Rec 215-230 min 235-245 min
    Typical Rec 135-145 min 145-155 min
    Playback 305-310 min
    BP-827
    2670 mAh
    Maximum Rec 330-345 min 350-370 min
    Typical Rec 200-210 min 215-225 min
    Playback 455-475 min
    Note: The times above are based on using a Memory Card. Times may be slightly different when using the built-in memory.

    Charging Times: The BP-808 battery charges in 150 minutes when charging through the camcorder with the supplied AC adapter. The charging time for the optional BP-819 is 260 minutes, while the BP-827 charges is 385 minutes.

    Auto Power Off: After 5 minutes without any operation when powered by the battery, the camcorder automatically powers off. Approximately 30 seconds before the camcorder automatically turns itself off, a warning message appears in the display.

    Inputs And Outputs

    HDMI Output: The HF G20 features a mini-HDMI (Type C) terminal that offers a high-quality digital connection that combines audio and video in a single convenient cable. The HDMI port is compatible with HDMI-CEC (Consumer Electronics Control), allowing you in many cases to control the camcorder with the remote control of the connected TV. The HDMI can be set to output 1080p signals. A 59" HDMI cable is included.

    Component Output: The camcorder has a proprietary terminal for plugging in the optional CTC-100 component video cable. Since the component video cable outputs video only, the supplied STV-250N AV cable should also be used for the audio output.

    AV Output: The camcorder features an AV output to playback audio and video on your television using the supplied STV-250N composite video/stereo audio RCA cable. You can select between a 4:3 aspect ratio or a 16:9 aspect ratio for the video out based on your television's aspect ratio. The AV Output also doubles as a headphone output (selectable in the menu). The built-in speaker will be muted when headphones or the AV cable are plugged in.

    USB 2.0 Connection: The camcorder features a USB 2.0 High Speed terminal for fast transfer of photos and videos.

    Microphone Input: In addition to the camcorder's built-in microphone, the HF G20 features a 3.5mm microphone input for connecting an external microphone (sold separately). With the optional SM-V1 Surround Microphone, you can record in 5.1-channel surround audio.

    Remote Control Input: The camcorder features a 2.5mm sub-minijack terminal for connecting an optional Zoom Remote controller (ZR-2000). Functions available with a connected Zoom Remote controller include power on/off, start/stopping a recording, zoom, focus adjustment, and switching between manual and auto focus.

    Software

    Included Software: The Canon HF G20 camcorder comes supplied with two CD-ROM application discs. PIXELA VideoBrowser Ver.2.6 for saving movies, organizing your video library, editing videos, and creating discs. The VIXIA Disc contains Image Browser EX for saving photos to your computer and organizing them. Also included on the VIXIA disc are Music Data (for background music during playback), and Image Mix Data (images to mix with live video for the Image Mix function).

    Compatibility: The Pixela VideoBrowser Ver.2.6 is compatible with Windows OS only. Image Browser EX can be used with Windows 8, 7 (SP1), Vista (SP2), and XP (SP3), as well as Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7 and 10.8.

     
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    5 out of 5

    Camcorder

    Written By Canon camcorder, California on Saturday, May 03, 2014
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    Very well built durable camcorder with excellent low light quality. The onscreen menus could be more user friendly as well as technological advances would be nice but a quality camcorder.
    Pros:
    Low light Image quality
    Cons:
    Not wifi
    2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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    Repairing your average mechanical or electrical failure can cost as much as buying a new device. With SquareTrade, you're covered — including parts and labor.

    Protection from Drops, Spills & You

    Drop it? Spill on it? Run over it? No worries. We cover accidents caused by you and people you know.

    2 Year Protection Plan
    2 Year Protection Plan with Drops & Spills coverage
    Your Price: $145.99
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    3 Year Protection Plan
    3 Year Protection Plan with Drops & Spills coverage
    Your Price: $194.99
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    For a more in-depth review and enhanced detailed information on the Canon VIXIA HF G20, please visit the Crutchfield website product page (/ISEO-rccbcspd/p_280HFG20/Canon-VIXIA-HF-G20.html ).

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    Compare with other Canon models

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    • Canon VIXIA HF G20
    • Canon VIXIA HF G20
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