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Canon VIXIA HF R20

High-definition camcorder with 8GB flash memory (Black)

2 Reviews

Item # 280HFR20K

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Our take on the Canon VIXIA HF R20

Record stunning HD video directly to internal memory
Canon's HF R20 high-def camcorder makes it easy and fun to capture HD videos of your friend's 30th birthday party and colorful 3-megapixel photos of your Spring vacation. It records onto a built-in 8GB internal memory, which can hold up to 3 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.


Record stunning HD video directly to internal memory
Canon's HF R20 high-def camcorder makes it easy and fun to capture HD videos of your friend's 30th birthday party and colorful 3-megapixel photos of your Spring vacation. It records onto a built-in 8GB internal memory, which can hold up to 3 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.

Smart, automatic features make filming a breeze
This cam has a 28X advanced zoom, combining optical zoom with a little bit of digital zoom to get you closer to your subject from far away. The smart auto mode intelligently detects and analyzes faces, brightness, color, distance, and movement, then automatically selects the best settings for the scene. Tap anywhere on the 3" touchscreen while recording, and the 'R20 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. And the quick start feature on the 'R20 lets you start recording in less than a second simply by flipping open the LCD panel.

Fun extras help you create and share your videos
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 highlights from your vacation or a friend's party. The fun Touch Decoration feature lets you superimpose a variety of creative images and animations onto your video, such as shooting stars, thought bubbles, freehand drawings, stamps, and decorative frames. When you're ready to show off your video, hook it up to your HDTV using the 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 8GB internal flash memory
      • internal memory holds up to 3 hours of HD video at the lowest quality setting
    • also takes optional SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards
      • dual memory card slots automatically switch from one card to the next when memory is full
      • in-camcorder dubbing lets you copy video from one memory card to another
    • maximum video resolution: 1920 x 1080
    • 3.28-megapixel CMOS image sensor (2.07 effective pixels in 16:9)
    • advanced DIGIC DV III image processor
    • 20X optical zoom lens (28X advanced zoom; 400X digital zoom total)
    • 3" touch-panel widescreen LCD
    • records in Dolby Digital® 2-channel audio
    • electronic image stabilization
    • face detection mode recognizes up to 9 faces in each frame and automatically adjusts focus and exposure for more accurate portraits
    • Touch & Track allows you to get precise focus and exposure on any subject
    • selectable 24p Cinema Mode for more filmlike video
    • Pre-Record shoots up to 3 seconds of video before you press the record button so you don't miss the action
    • Quick Start lets you begin shooting as soon as you open the LCD
    • Touch Decoration lets you add a variety of images and animations to your videos
    • Smart Auto Mode chooses setting 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
    • includes Pixela Video Browser editing software
    Connections and Dimensions:
    • high-speed USB interface (cable included)
    • mini HDMI and component video outputs for connection to an HDTV (cables included)
    • microphone and headphone jacks
    • comes with an AC adapter/charger and rechargeable lithium ion battery (BP-110)
    • 2-3/4"W x 2-3/8"H x 4-13/16"D
    • weight: 9.5 oz. without battery
    • warranty: 1 year
    • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

    What's in the Box:

    • Flash memory camcorder (black)
    • BP-110 Lithium-Ion battery (3.7V/1120mAh)
    • CA-110 AC Power adapter with attached 68" DC output cord (DC output: 8.4V/1.5A)
    • 5' HDMI cable (with full-size HDMI plug on one end and a mini-HDMI plug 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
    • Stylus Pen
    • Pixela Transfer Utility disc
    • Pixela VideoBrowser disc
    • VIXIA Instruction Manual/Photo App/Music Data Disc
    • Quick Guide (En/Fr/Sp)
    • Transfer Utility/VideoBrowser Installation Guide (En/Fr/Sp)
    • Register Now card
    • Limited Warranty card
    • Notice for installing USB driver

    Canon VIXIA HF R20 Reviews

    Average Customer Review(s):

    (2 Reviews)

    Canon VIXIA HF R20 video camera

    Daletek from Denver, Colorado on 2/11/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I bought a Canon VIXIA HF R20 and for the price it was a steal. I like it because it's perfect. It only has 8 gB of internal memory but like its cousins in the line it has ports for accepting external SD memory cards. I actually prefer it this way. I loaded up the memory slots with 2 64 GB memory cards. Very expensive memory add-ons to sure, but now I feel loaded for bear. It has all the fancy feature of it's bigger brothers in line, so I feel I'm still getting the most for my money. The video images are startling good and vey pleasing. Overall I'm happy with this model especially with the way I've added to it and that was my choice from the beginning. However, each to his own taste and you may prefer something else. I'm just saying that for the money and when I can afford a better camera, I'm quite happy with this one...again, for the price!

    Pros: Excelent over all for the money. I also bought two spare batteries (with memory to spare) and a case to carry everything, so I can photograph all day. I consider it a good investment. Get one before they're all gone.

    Cons: Like all it's kind in the diferent small models, the speakers from the player are small and tinny. Of course, the videos sounds better through your TV or Computer when played back. Nothing much can be done about sound on so small a unit as this without compromising the size and weight. Just something you have to live with in a small camera.

    Canon Vixia HF R20

    Montana73 from Montana on 5/5/2011

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    What a kick butt camcorder. I'm jazzed and can't wait to make some memories on it. Pros: Small, compact, easy to use, point and shoot. I plan on using this for everything from hunting to my wedding (in that order). Actually, it really is small but full of bells and whistles camera. I couldn't beleive the shots I can take with it. Cons: Could maybe use a little bit in the sound dept but it isn't bad by any means. I've seen worse. I use to have a 8mm camcorder when I was in the service and worked great but weighed a ton.




    Hands-on research

    Product Research

    General Features
    Video Camcorder Features
    Digital Still Camera Features
    Battery Information
    Inputs And Outputs
    Software Requirements

    General Features

    3.0" Widescreen LCD Touch Screen: The Canon VIXIA HF R20 features a 3.0" TFT, color widescreen LCD touch screen (230,000 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's touch screen contains zoom, playback and menu controls for added convenience.

    Note: This camcorder does not feature a separate viewfinder.

    Recording Media: The Canon HF R20 camcorder captures video and still-images onto its built-in 8 GB internal flash drive or on 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.

    Note: The built-in memory contains about 70 MB of music files and 5 MB of image files.

    Dual Memory Card Slots: The HF R20 is equipped with two slots for inserting SD or SDHC 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).

    Recording Formats: The camcorder records movies in AVCHD (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264) video compression format with Dolby Digital 2-channel audio. Still photos are recorded in JPEG image compression.

    Image Sensor: The HF R20 features a 1/4.85" CMOS image sensor with approximately 3,280,000 gross pixels for excellent detail and clarity when recording video and exceptional digital still photography performance. The effective pixel count is as follows:

    • Movies: approximately 2,070,000 pixels (1,470,000 Dynamic IS Mode-Wide Angle)
    • 4:3 Photos: approximately 2,410,000 pixels
    • 16:9 Photos: approximately 2,070,000 pixels

    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 card, as well as lower power consumption for longer battery life.

    Genuine Canon Video Lens: The HF R20 comes with a Genuine Canon 20x HD video lens with a 20x Optical zoom, 28x Advanced zoom, and 400x total digital zoom (20x optical x 20x digital zoom).

    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.

    Optional Lens Attachments: The lens has a 34mm diameter thread for attaching optional converters and filters. The optional WD-H34II wide-converter lens decreases focal length by a factor of 0.7x, giving you a wide perspective for indoor shots or panoramic views. The optional TL-H34 tele-converter increases the focal length of the camcorder by a factor of 1.5x.

    Dynamic Image Stabilizer: Dynamic Image Stabilizer (Dynamic IS) provides continuous adjustment throughout the entire zoom range to correct a broad range of motion. Extra compensation is applied at wide angle focal lengths to eliminate unwanted vibration that is common when walking. You can select Dynamic or Standard image stabilization, depending upon the degree of camcorder shake, or Off when using a tripod.

    x.v.Color: The camcorder can be set to x.v.Color to record video that uses a color space with an extended gamut to achieve deeper colors, closer to real life. Video recorded with x.v.Color can only be played back properly on HDTVs compatible with x.v.Color via an HDMI cable.

    Video Snapshot: The camcorder's Video Snapshot mode lets you shoot a series of short 4-second video clips, then combines them with a pre-recorded music track or your own favorite music track, to create an entertaining movie.

    Focus Assistance: The Focus Assist feature provides a 2x magnification of your subject in the LCD monitor before you start recording. When recording begins, the Focus Assist is canceled.

    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.

    Touch & Track: Touch & Track keeps the focus and exposure set on your subject as they move within the frame. After touching your point of interest on the Touch Panel LCD, the camcorder tracks your subject as you shoot. You can turn off Touch & Track to adjust focus and exposure independently.

    Exposure Modes: The HF R20 features several auto exposure modes, plus a manual exposure adjustment for scenes that appear underexposed or overexposed. The available exposure modes include:

    • Smart AUTO: You can take videos and photos easily, by letting the camcorder automatically adjust settings based on the recording situation. Some functions are not available during Smart AUTO mode.
    • Programmed AE: The camcorder automatically adjusts the aperture and shutter speed to obtain the optimal exposure for the subject, while you are able to adjust the other settings.
    • Cinema Mode: The camcorder to record video to give your recordings a cinematic look. You can combine this mode with a 24 fps progressive frame rate to get an enhanced effect of the 24p Cinema Mode.
    • Special Scene Recording Modes:
      • Portrait: the camcorder uses a large aperture, achieving a focus on the subject while blurring other distracting details
      • Sports: for sports scenes or fast moving events
      • Night Scene: for low-light conditions
      • Snow: for bright ski resorts, it prevents the subject from being underexposed
      • Beach: for a sunny beach, it prevent the subject from being underexposed
      • Sunset: for sunsets in vibrant colors
      • Low Light: for low-light situations
      • Spotlight: for spotlight scenes
      • Fireworks: for recording fireworks
    • Manual Exposure Adjustment: When backlit subjects appear too dark (underexposed) or subjects under very strong light appear too bright (overexposed), you can correct by manually adjusting the exposure.

    White Balance: The 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: the camcorder automatically sets the white balance for natural looking colors
    • Daylight: to record outdoors on a bright day
    • Tungsten: to recording under tungsten and tungsten-type (3-wavelength) fluorescent lighting
    • Custom WB: use the custom white balance setting to make white subjects appear white under colored lighting.

    Self-Timer: This feature allows the camcorder to start recording after a 10-second countdown.

    Level And Grid Markers: Capturing level, well-composed shots is simple with the HF R20. Line up the horizon or other horizontal lines with the Level Marker in the viewfinder for level landscapes. Or, use the Grid Marker to help compose the perfect shot. Both markers can be set to white or gray for enhanced visibility, no matter what the background.

    Video Camcorder Features

    Compatible Media: The HF R20 captures high-definition AVCHD video with MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 compression, and 2-channel Dolby Digital audio onto its built-in 8 GB internal memory or an SD, SDHC, or SDXC memory card. The camcorder supports SD cards up to 2GB, SDHC memory cards up to 32GB, and SDXC cards over 32 GB. A 128MB or larger SD card is required for recording video content.

    Recording Modes: The camcorder offers five video recording modes: MXP, FXP, XP+, SP and LP. You can capture the following video recording times using these modes:

    Memory Recording Mode
    1920 x 1080 (16:9) 1440 x 1080 (4:3)
    24 Mbps
    12 Mbps
    7 Mbps
    5 Mbps
    4 GB SDHC Card 20 min 30 min 40 min 1 hr 10 min 1 hr 30 min
    8 GB Built-in Memory
    or SDHC Card
    40 min 1 hr 1 hr 25 min 2 hrs 20 min 3 hrs
    16 GB SDHC Card 1 hr 25 min 2 hrs 5 min 2 hrs 50 min 4 hrs 45 min 6 hrs 5 min
    32 GB SDHC Card 2 hrs 55 min 4 hrs 20 min 5 hrs 45 min 9 hrs 35 min 12 hrs 15 min

    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.

    Digital Effects: Available digital effects include two monochrome options and two fader types:

    • Black & White: Records movies and photos in black & white.
    • Sepia: Records movies and photos in sepia tones for a "old" look.
    • Fade Trigger Once/Always: When you start recording, the scene gradually fades in from a black screen. When you stop recording, it gradually fades out.
    • Wipe: When you start recording, the picture begins as a thin vertical line in the center of the screen which gradually expands sideways until it fills the whole of the screen. When you end a scene, the image is wiped from both sides of the screen.

    Note: You can choose to activate a fader only once or every time you press Start/Stop to begin or end a scene.

    Wind Screen: The camcorder automatically reduces the background sound of wind when recording outdoors when Wind Screen is turned to "Automatic."

    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, 1/4x) in either direction, and Frame-by-Frame Playback (approx 0.5 sec). During these playback modes there is no sound.

    3D Flip View: The 3D Flip View is a fun way to display the video recordings in a 3D layout. The videos are organized by recording date, and can be reviewed by swiping your finger left and right or up and down across the touch screen.

    Playlists: You can create a playlist to play back only the scenes you prefer and in the order of your choice. Moving or deleting scenes in the playlist will not affect the original recordings.

    Photos From Recorded Movies: You can record a single still photo or a series of photos from a recorded movie. The size of the captured photos will be 1920 x 1080.

    Digital Still Camera Features

    Still Image Recording: The HF R20 is also a high performance digital camera capable of capturing stunning 4:3 JPEG still images on the 8 GB internal memory or an SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card. Photos are recorded in one size for each aspect ratio: 2016 x 1512 (4:3) and 1920 x 1080 (16:9). The number of photos that can be stored on a 1 GB memory card is 455 for 2016 x 1512 (4:3) and 670 for 1920 x 1080 (16:9).

    Viewing Still Images: There are 3 ways to view still images: Single image, Slide show (one after the other automatically in order of recording), or Index screen showing 6 images or 15 images at once. When you have a large number of photos, you can jump through the photos quickly using the scroll bar.

    Exif Print (Exif 2.2): The Canon HF R20 conforms to "Exif Print", a worldwide standard. Vital camera settings (such as: exposure mode, white balance, exposure time) and scene data are recorded to the image file when it is captured. Printers compatible with "Exif Print" are able to use this information to produce high quality photographs, exactly the way they were intended at the time of capture. This intelligent communication process also allows the printer to correct for poor lighting or mistakes, resulting in photos which can be even better than the originals.

    Battery Information

    Li-ion Battery Pack: The Canon HF R20 comes supplied with a rechargeable BP-110 Lithium-ion Battery Pack (3.7V/1120 mAh). The camcorder also comes supplied with an AC power adapter and charger (CA-110). The battery recording and playback times are as follows:

    Usage Time Memory Type Recording Mode (in minutes)
    Built-in 80 80 85 85 85
    Memory Card 80 80 80 80 85
    Built-in 50 50 50 50 50
    Memory Card 45 45 45 45 50
    Playback Built-in 130 135 135 135 140
    Memory Card 130 130 130 130 130

    Charging Times: The BP-10 battery charges in 150 minutes when charging through the camcorder with the supplied AC adapter. The charging time is 115 minutes when using an optional CG-110 battery charger.

    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.

    Quick Start: When you close the LCD panel with the camcorder on, the camcorder enters the standby mode. In standby mode, the camcorder consumes only about 1/3 the power used when recording, saving energy when you are using the battery pack. When you open the LCD panel, the camcorder is ready to start recording in approximately 1 second, allowing you to immediately record your subject.

    Inputs And Outputs

    HDMI Output: The HF R20 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. It is also compatible with x.v.color.

    Note: An HTC-100 HDMI cable is included with the camcorder.

    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 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 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. 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.

    Dual SD Card Slots: The HF R20 provides two slots for SD, SDHC, or SDXC memory cards.

    Microphone Input: In addition to the camcorder's built-in microphone, the HF R20 features a 3.5mm microphone input for connecting an external microphone (sold separately).

    Software Requirements

    Included Software: The Canon HF R20 camcorder comes supplied with three CD-ROM application discs: PIXELA's Transfer Utility, PIXELA's VideoBrowser, and the VIXIA disc.

    • PIXELA's Transfer Utility Disc, Ver. 1.0: Use Transfer Utility for saving and transferring movies and music files you can use as background music. (Windows only)
    • PIXELA's VideoBrowser Disc, Ver. 1.0: Use VideoBrowser for managing, editing, and playing back movies. (Windows only)
    • VIXIA Disc: This CD-ROM contains:
      • Instruction Manual: full version instruction manual of the camcorder (.pdf file).
      • Photo Application (Ver. 35): Software for saving, managing, and printing photos.
      • Music Data: Music files that can be used as background music during playback. These files are for exclusive use with the supplied PIXELA software.
      • Image Mix Data: Image files that can be used to mix with live video for the image mix function

    Windows System Requirements (for VideoBrowser disc):

    Operating System
    Windows XP Windows Vista Windows 7
    Home Edition
    Professional Edition


    32-bit version only
    SP3 must be installed

    Home Basic
    Home Premium


    Compatible with 32- and 64-bit versions
    SP 1 or SP 2 must be installed

    Home Premium


    Compatible with 32- and 64-bit versions
    XP mode is not supported

    CPU Intel Celeron D 3.0 GHz or higher
    Intel Core 2 Duo 2.13 GHz or higher
    (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.33 GHz or higher required for handling files recorded in MXP mode)

    1 GB or more

    2 GB or more

    Available Hard Disk Space Install Hardware: 200 MB
    DVD/AVCHD: At least 3 times the volume of data to be written on the disc.
    Blu-ray: At least twice the volume of data to be written on the disc.
    DataDisc: At least the same volume of data to be written on the disc.
    Display 1280 x 1024 pixels or more, 32-bit or more, Intel G965 (onboard VGA) or higher
    Sound Sound card supporting DirectSound
    Others -- Standard USB 2.0 port
    -- Card reader/writer that supports SD/SDHC Memory cards (when exporting files)
    -- An environment in which DirectX 9.0c operates properly
    -- An internet-accessible environment (for software installation and Web uploading)
    -- An environment in which .NET Framework 2.0 or higher operates properly
    -- iTunes 9 or 10 (when using exported file converted for iPod use)
    -- iTunes 9.2 or 10 (when using exported file converted for iPad use)
    -- Adobe Reader (to open the Software Guide)

    Windows System Requirements (for Transfer Utility disc):

    Operating System Windows XP Windows Vista Windows 7
    Home Edition
    Professional Edition


    32-bit version only
    SP3 must be installed


    Home Basic
    Home Premium


    Compatible with 32- and 64-bit versions
    SP 1 or SP 2 must be installed


    Home Premium


    Compatible with 32- and 64-bit versions
    XP mode is not supported


    CPU Intel Pentium 4, 1.49 GHz or higher
    Intel Celeron, 1.7 GHz or higher
    Intel Pentium 4, 2.4 GHz
    Intel Celeron D, 3.0 GHz
    RAM 512 MB 1 GB 32-bit: 1 GB
    64-bit: 2 GB
    Available Hard Disc Space

    30 MB or more for software installation

    Display 1024 x 768 resolution, 16-bit color (High color) or higher
    Sound Sound card compatible with DirectSound

    -- Standard USB 2.0 port
    -- Card reader/writer that supports SD/SDHC Memory cards (when exporting files)
    -- An environment in which DirectX 9.0c operates properly
    -- An internet-accessible environment
    -- An environment in which .NET Framework 2.0 or higher operates properly
    -- Adobe Reader (to open the Software Guide)

    Our Product Research Team

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