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Canon Legria FS21 - Canon Legria FS21

By James Morris


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The expanded joystick capabilities of Canon's high definition Legria models has been brought over to the FS21, although the range of settings available is far fewer. Flicking the joystick up provides immediate access to turning the LED video light and a chosen digital effect on and off, as well as toggling backlight compensation. It also enables the exposure control and manual focus, which are then configured by flicking the joystick left or right. The final option accessible via the joystick is the Pre-REC function. This continually buffers video to memory, so a few seconds ahead of when you press record are tacked onto your footage, vastly reducing your chances of missing an important moment.

The remaining settings are accessed via Canon's now familiar Function button. But here again the range is less than with higher-end models. Alongside the standard Program AE mode, there's shutter priority mode and the usual array of scene modes, including Portrait, Sports, Night, Snow, Beach, Sunset, Spotlight, and Fireworks. However, there's no aperture priority mode available. You also get a subset of Canon's Image Effects. There are Vivid and Neutral options, for increasing or reducing saturation respectively, plus a soft skin detail mode. But there is no direct control over sharpening, and no custom option. Few camcorders offer sharpening control, although Canon's high-end models do.

An extra full menu level is also available, but this only includes settings that you probably won't want to access after initial setup, except possibly switching the camcorder's AV/headphone mini-jack between its two functions. Overall, whilst the FS21 may not provide as much manual control as Canon's premium camcorders, it still offers easier access than most models in its class, in particular JVC's. However, it's also worth noting that none of the manual settings are available in Dual Shot mode, neither via the joystick on its own nor using the Function button. So if you want to take photos at the same time as shooting video, you will be confined to using the camera entirely in auto mode.

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May 30, 2009, 6:46 pm

Well, you should have mentioned that there is the Legria FS200 available. It is essential the same as the FS21, but without internal memory and with a little bit less advanced zoom("only" 41x compared to 45x, optical zoom is the same because they have the same lens). Pricewise it´s on the same level as the mentioned JVC camera.

I think I would rather pickup the Canon because it has an external microphone jack, something that most camcorders in this price class don´t offer.

And the MOD-Files are automatically renamed as MPG when transferrend via the USB-port of the camcorder.

James Morris

May 31, 2009, 5:15 pm

@Lupti I'm sure I will be reviewing the FS200 sometime soon! We review pretty much every camcorder out there here. The FS200 has a different CCD to the FS21, so I really can't infer things like image quality from one to the other. In my testing, the FS21's MOD files were not automatically renamed MPG. That comes with one of the bundled apps, which not everyone will use if they already have capable software installed - adding more software can often prevent what you already have from working properly.


June 4, 2009, 3:36 am

Ok, you´re right, the FS200 has a lower resolution sensor. However, there is still the Canon Legria FS20 out. It costs only around 20 € or $ more and comes with the megapixel sensor and 8GB internal memory. Beside the size of the internal memory it is identical to the FS21. However, I would agree that the FS21 and especially the FS22 are somehow overpriced. I don´t think that so much internal memory is worth this price premium.


July 10, 2009, 1:36 pm

The software provided by Pixela is a disgrace, completely dysfunctional. You cannot get pictures into a PC. Canon say there is no alternative software. Pixela don't answer the phone. We have a whole day's recordings for a business event locked inside. Very disappointed is an understatement.


May 28, 2011, 3:46 am

I'm using PIXELA with a canon s200 on a windows7 64bit machine and it doesn't work well at all. If freezes when importing footage especially when stitching together clips larger than 2gb .You have to go to the library edit program to do this, and the new larger files do not replace the smaller ones, but are placed in a different directory (which you cannot customize). In case you're wondering why the need to stitch these shorter clips together, if you don't and just use the smaller ones, it drops frames when transitioning from one clip to another. PiXELA seems to work a little better in win xp 32 bit, but I still have problems with it not creating the larger clips. This software is aweful, and canon does not suport it, and neither does the company that makes it as far as I can tell.

I've been looking for an alternative, and so far have only found Corel Digital Studio 2010, which seems to work ok, but is a huge piece of bloatware and they want $40 for it. Amazon has it for sale for $6 and says there is a newer version out for $30, so I'm not sure what the version difference is, cause I downloaded the free 2010 trial from Corel, and it seems like that would be the latest. I may try to buy the $6 version and see if it will let me register the downloaded copy with that serial number.

Meanwhile I'm still looking for something better if anyone has suggestions. I'd especially like to find something that would do native splitting and trimming of AVCHD files. Then I plan to use Vegas Pro for the real editing and rendering.

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