Canon FS100 videocamera

A new toy, a hitech video camera. After having used for two years a Samsung VP-D361 mini DV cam and being quite disappointed with the quality of that device (auto focus was off most of the time, and it failed on me when I was in China in the Forbidden City, the tape motor could be heard and fire-wire transfer is awkward) I decided to look at a better quality but affordable camera. For me quality means reliability, small, low weight, easy to carry and easy to add to my current video setup and reasonable video quality. Since my video equipment is not the latest and the greatest HD 1080p home Cinema type, the preferred video editing software is Premiere Elements 4, most of the movies are of the holiday memory kind and the budget limited to 400 euro I quickly abandoned the higher quality HD camera’s like the Canon HV30, HG10 or HF10. Those cameras, especially the flashcard based HF10 did meet the demands of being small and low weight and exceeded the video quality demands, but are quite expensive (900 euro) and generate video files in a format not easy to work with, like the AHVCD format on the HF10. A flashcard is quite attractive, no moving parts, so it is reliable, small and so easy to read the video files into the PC environment.

So I looked around and saw Canon, who also made my excellent Powershot A710is digital camera, announced the consumer flashcard based FS series video cameras. The FS100 is the one I selected, the cheapest of the series because no flash memory is built in. And I like that, flash cards are getting cheaper and higher capacity every day. It is not a HD camera, but a modest 1 million pixel camera with 16:9 wide screen or standard 4:3 dimensions. I have added an 8 GB Transcend Class 6 SHDC and a 16 GB Class 6 SDHC card.

After having to wait several weeks after pre-ordering it, showing my faith in Canon to deliver a quality device, it arrived this week. I paid 319 euro for the camera via internet at the dutch store fotokonijnenberg A good shop, recommended! No doubt it will fall in price a bit, but right in my budget. As you can see in the gallery above, it is quite a small and light device. The video quality did not disappoint me. It is not the best of course, but value for money. With enough light a sharp and (typical Canon) colorful image. Indoor the noise makes it not that good, the built in LED lamp helps a bit.

If you want to see a sample, proofing that zooming and autofocus works quite well, but shooting from the hand makes a shaky image, look here. Download the file and open it with e.g. Windows Media Player I should have used a tripod! This is the file straight from the flash card, type .mod, which is actually an mpeg2 file. Windows Media Player (and Photoshop Elements) understand this format, as do dvd players like WinDVD.

My first impression of the device is that it works well in normal light conditions. Convenient to operate due to light weight and small dimensions, but hard to keep a steady image. Flash cards are the way to go, like with my digital camera. like it, recommended!

Edit: on request a fragment shot inside (a church in Jordan).

Edit: Flash format video fragments here. I have taken the camera on two vacations (Jordan, Turkey) and around my hometown. 

Edit: My experiences with editing are described here. SDCOPY, Virtualdub, Premiere Elements helped me.

20 thoughts on “Canon FS100 videocamera

  1. Hi Hans!

    I’ve just read your blog about the Canon FS100 camera. It was usefull to read about a real life experience! I also decided to buy this kind of camera. Before I buy, it will be great to see any samples, so i try to download your MOD file. I got an error, that the file does not exist.

    Could you provide me some samle file what you creat? Please send me a link if it possible, where can i download it directly? Or use any FTP?

    Thanks a lot!


  2. Thanks for the nice review!

    Somehow it’s always hard to find reviews with reliable samples, this review looks very reliable *and* promising. I’m really considering buying this camera. If you could put an indoor video-sample with the review as well I would be REALLY REALLY grateful. Indoor light conditions can be so much different from the pretty bright sunlight in which you recorded this sample. Could you please do so? Thanks already! 😀

  3. I will try to find an indoor sample. But be warned, filming in low light situtions is the weak point of cameras in this price range, the noise problem is severe.

  4. Dear Hans,

    Thanks for the reply! I’m aware of that problem, yet it is one of the key reasons why I would like to purchase a camera. Unfortunately the budget isn’t any higher (I’m just a student ;)) and of course I’ll keep in mind it isn’t a professional high-budget-range camera.

    Like I said before: thanks already!

  5. Hi, I have the FS10, but want to recommend the FS100 to a high school student. I’m hesistant because I have not been able to capture both video and audio files in Canon’s mod format into Adobe Premiere Pro. I can get video, but it’s silent. Am I supposed to be going through the Pixella software included with the camcorder first? I have already recommended that the student use Premiere Elements for whichever camera she ends up getting. Any help would be appreciated.

  6. Dear Hans,

    Just wanted to let you know that I’m still frequently checking this page for an indoor sample 😉 I really hope you can help me out.


  7. Hi Hans,

    I just read your review and tried to download the indoor shot but unfortunately it gives me a 404 error.
    Is it possible that you reupload the file or send it to me?

    Thanks in advance

  8. I have a camera canon fs100 but i cant get my videos on my computer because i lost the cd.Can someone tell me where i can find this program on internet? Let me know please!

  9. Personally I have never used the Canon supplied software.

    Since you have a FS100, take the SD card, insert in a cardreader into the PC (if its SDHC you need a SDHC compatible reader, for example the one supplied by Transcend or buy one cheap at DealExtreme) and copy the .MOD files. Rename to .mpg and Windows Media Player show the files fine.

    Read my notes on SDCOPY and Adobe Premiere Elements here and see how I edit the videos.

  10. I brought the Canon FS100 and it was brilliant but when I went to edit the footage I found that .MOD files are not compatible with Windows Movie Maker 2.6, so I tried downloading a conversion software but the sound didn’t work so i don’t know what to do now as i have a project to hand in soon.
    Hope you can help X

  11. I have the Canon camcorder FS100.
    I have problems getting it to use (read, write and initialize) SDHC memory cards. (Maybe because of the size 16GB and 32GB).
    Has anyone experienced the same problem, and more important, has a solution.
    (or maybe just an explanation, so I can searche the solution elsewhere).

  12. Regarding the 16gb cards- make sure to format them in the camera. I have two Transcend SDHC cards that work fine. Regarding the name change from .mod to .mpg- on Windows XP, using the native Windows player, make sure you are online when you try to run the first time, a file has to be downloaded. Regarding the name change from .mod to .mpg on Apple OSX 10.4, download and use VLC, a third party player, the native OSX player will not play or find a file to allow it.

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