If you are looking for a professional-grade camcorder for your job, Canon Vixia HF G20 and Canon Vixia HF G21 are interesting options that you can put into consideration. These cameras are available in the same price range. Below, you can read the detailed comparison of Canon Vixia HF G20 vs G21 to help you decide which camera to buy.
Continue reading the discussion below to find more information about:
– The size and weight of each camcorder
– The storage options available on each camcorder
– The display and viewfinder quality of each camcorder
– The features of Canon Vixia HF G20 vs G21
– The comparison of their performance and image quality
– Which model that is generally better and more recommended
Canon Vixia HF G20 and Canon Vixia HF G21 indeed look quite similar to each other (see also: Canon XA30 vs Sony PXW-X70). They have a similar overall design, with an LCD screen on the left-hand side and an electronic viewfinder on the rear. Both models come with solid, durable hard-plastic construction and a black finish. However, Canon Vixia HF G20 is smaller and lighter than Canon Vixia HF G21.
Canon Vixia HF G20 measures 3.0″ x 3.1″ x 6.3″ (77mm x 78mm x 161mm) and weighs about 1.4 lbs (620 grams). Most people prefer a camcorder that is compact and lightweight whenever possible. Besides allowing for space-friendly storage, a compact and lightweight camcorder will also be easier to bring around and less tiring for your hand. So, if you want a camcorder with low dimensions, Canon Vixia HF G20 is a fine choice.
Canon Vixia HF G21 measures 4.3″ x 3.3″ x 7.2″ (109mm x 84mm x 182mm) and weighs about 1.9 lbs (880 grams). This model is larger and heavier. As the effect, it will eat up more space in storage, and it will be less practical to bring around. That said, actually Canon Vixia HF G21 is just a thud larger than its sibling, so it is still a viable choice if you can tolerate the slightly increased dimensions.
Internal and External Storage
When buying a camcorder, storage is one of the most important factors that people usually consider. Some people need a camcorder with internal storage so that they won’t need to invest in memory cards, whereas some others prefer multiple memory card slots for expandability. Canon Vixia HF G20 vs G21 have different storage options.
Canon Vixia HF G20 is the better one here because it comes with both internal and external storage. It has a total capacity of 32GB in the internal storage, which should be sufficient for approximately 12 hours of HD video. This is generally good enough for most jobs, especially if you move your videos to a computer regularly.
In addition, Canon Vixia HF G20 also has two memory card slots that support SDHC and SDXC. So, you still have the option to expand the storage. The camera has the Relay Recording Technology, which allows a seamless transition between the two slots during recording, so that the video can continue smoothly when one card is full and the camera needs to move to the other card.
Canon Vixia HF G21, on the other hand, does not have any internal storage. Although most users will use memory cards even if their camcorders have internal storage, the lack of one can be an inconvenience. You need to buy a memory card separately because it is not included in the box.
Nevertheless, Canon Vixia HF G21 also has two memory card slots supporting SDHC and SDXC. With two memory card slots, you can expand the storage capacity as much as you want. It also has the Relay Recording Technology to ensure a smooth, seamless transition between the slots.
Display and Viewfinder
The next difference between Canon Vixia HF G20 vs G21 is found in their display screens and viewfinders. Interestingly, the G20 is better in the display screen, whereas the G21 is better in the viewfinder.
Canon Vixia HF G20 is equipped with a 3.5-inch touch-panel color LCD. This display has a resolution of 922,000 dots, which is really good. It is sharp, bright, and detailed. Canon Vixia HF G20 also has a 0.24-inch viewfinder with 100 percent field of view coverage, but the resolution is only 260,000 dots. The viewfinder is still handy and effective.
Canon Vixia HF G21 comes with a 3.0-inch LCD panel. Not only it is smaller, but also it has a lower resolution. The display only has a resolution of 460,000 dots, so the preview images are somewhat more grainy. However, Canon Vixia HF G21 features a 0.24-inch viewfinder with an impressive resolution of 1.56-million dots and 100 percent field of view coverage. The viewfinder is such a joy to use, thanks to the excellent sharpness and detail.
Most of the features of Canon Vixia HF G20 vs G21 are similar. They both have Intelligent Image Stabilization, manual exposure control, several AF modes (instant, medium, face priority), as well as USB, HDMI, microphone, and audio/video output connectors. There are just two notable differences in their features.
Canon Vixia HF G20 has the decoration function, which enables you to put the time and date of the recording directly in the video. This is a very important feature for some people. In some cases, editing the video is considered illegal and hence is not allowed, even though it is only for adding the time and date. With the decoration function, you can add the time and date without having to perform any editing.
Next, Canon Vixia HF G20 has a mini advanced accessory shoe. This is quite useful for attaching an external flash or microphone.
Canon Vixia HF G21 doesn’t have the decoration function. So, you can’t add the time and date of the recording directly into the video. Some post-production editing will be required if you need to add the time and date.
Canon Vixia HF G21 has two accessory shoes. One is a cold shoe, located on the front. It is pretty useful for a microphone. The other one is a mini advanced accessory shoe, which you can use for an external flash.
Lens and Zoom
These two camcorders are fitted with different zoom lenses. If you don’t need much zooming, the G20 remains as a fine choice. But if you need high magnification levels that won’t compromise the image quality, the G21 is probably a better choice.
Canon Vixia HF G20 is equipped with the f/1.8-2.8 10X Zoom HD Video Lens with optical image stabilization. It has a focal length of 4.25-42.5mm (35mm-equivalent: 30.4-304mm). It is definitely a fine lens. It consistently delivers clear and sharp images, even if you are shooting without a tripod and your hands are somewhat shaky. The performance in low-light conditions is impressive.
However, the zoom range of Canon Vixia HF G20 is limited. It only has a maximum optical zoom of 10X. Well, this is fine if you usually don’t need to shoot from far distances. It also has a maximum digital zoom of 200X, but of course digital zooming will make the footage blurry.
Canon Vixia HF G21 comes with a slightly better lens, which is the f/1.8-2.8 20X Zoom HD Video Lens. It also has optical image stabilization. The focal length is 3.67-73.4mm (35mm-equivalent: 26.8-576mm). Just like its sibling, the lens quality is really good. The images are consistently sharp and clear.
One advantage of Canon Vixia HF G21 is that it has more powerful zoom. The maximum optical zoom is 20X, so it is handy for shooting from far distances. Meanwhile, the maximum digital zoom is 400X, convenient when you need some extra magnification.
If we take a look at the specs of these camcorders, there are some differences that may affect their image quality. However, in practice, both Canon Vixia HF G20 and Canon Vixia HF G21 have excellent image quality without any significant discrepancy.
Canon Vixia HF G20 is armed with a 1/3-inch HD CMOS sensor that has an optical resolution of 2.37MP. Canon Vixia HF G20 can capture Full HD (1920 x 1080) footage at 60i frame rate. The images are really sharp and detailed, with decent brightness, contrast, and overall color quality. Canon Vixia HF G20 is ideal for professional jobs as well as amateur film projects.
Canon Vixia HF G21 has a 1/2.84-inch HD CMOS sensor with an optical resolution of 3.09MP. Theoretically, Canon Vixia HF G21 can deliver better image quality. Indeed, it supports Full HD (1920 x 1080) recording at 60p and 60i frame rates – the 60p is known to be smoother than the 60i frame rate. However, the videos captured by Canon Vixia HF G21 are not dramatically better than its sibling. The smoother frame transition is not really noticeable.
Canon Vixia HF G20 vs G21
In general, Canon Vixia HF G20 is more recommended because it is more compact, it has both internal and external storage, and it comes with the ability to add the footage time and date directly. The overall performance is great, and it can capture Full HD videos with excellent sharpness and colors.