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4.1 out of 5 stars
Canon VIXIA HF R500 Digital Camcorder (White)
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154 of 158 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2014
Color Name: Black
I have owned several camcorders in the past and would not consider myself a photographer or expert by any means. Maybe a prosumer would be an accurate term. I like to get the most out of my buck and this camera delivers. It is easy to use, has a great touchscreen, easily understood settings, and takes high quality video. See my youtube review (search ldsreliance) for a comparison between a decent 480p video camera and this Canon shooting on medium-high settings.

On its highest settings (1080p, 35 Mbps MP4), it will shoot for about 2 hours on a 32GB Class 10 SD card. It is very lightweight and small. Another great feature that is absent in a lot of camcorders of this range is an external mic jack. Since I make youtube videos in my spare time, this will come in handy if and when I invest in a nice external microphone for better audio.
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76 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2014
Color Name: White
Solid All Around Performer. The Vixia r5x series works great outdoors in sunlight, and in studio settings with proper lighting. The manual exposure and manual focus are huge pluses -- You get +-6 stops to adjust, more than enough to compensate for blown out highlights or crushed shadows.

The MP4 mode looks amazing, and was very nimble to edit. 35Mbps is generous, and very stable even on my Class 6 SD card.
The AVCHD mode shoots what you'd expect at 28Mbps. 60p footage is TRUE 60p, not the half-baked 30p double-frame Panasonic and Sony slip by us's legit and looks fantastic.

If you really want to see what this cam can do, get a set of ND filters and a circular polarizer. I got stunning footage out of this thing when I was able to control the light coming into the lens -- the less this camera has to do exposure-wise the better. Color rendition is spot on, and the 'Cinema' mode does a good job imitating film-motion (wrapped in 29.976fps tho)

BTW, be sure to turn off AF indoors -- it's not too good except outside...

I don't like that the controls are touch screen -- my big fingers keep tapping the wrong things :-) but overall I'm very happy to have this one. The battery life is about 30 minutes, and you can shoot with the AC wall plug -- it just won't be charging the battery when it's running, you have to turn the camera off for it to go into charge mode.

If you're using this in a studio set up, by all means plug it into an HDTV for monitoring; the 3" flip-out screen looks nice but it 'lies' about highlights and color.

You can't beat the features and quality for this price. I went with the r500 because it DOESN'T have the WiFi and onboard storage -- that's just more stuff to go wrong and I don't have time for that.
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154 of 163 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2014
Color Name: Black
Searching around reviews for how this camera will work with Macs and iMovie is a journey indeed. I will give you my experience thus far. I have a 27inch iMac that was upgraded from Snow Leopard to Mavericks. I have both the new iMovie 10.0.3 and thankfully the older iMovie 9.0.4. This particular camera shoots in two modes. You can choose the AVCHD mode or the MPEG-4 mode. Each of these modes. The MPEG-4 mode's video quality can be selected to 4, 17, 24, or 35 Mbps. The AVCHD mode's video quality can be selected to LP, FXP, MXP, and 60P. Now, according to the onscreen menus, the MPEG-4 format is better suited for computers. The primary reason that I wanted this camera is that I wanted to upgrade from a Sony DCR-SX85 which is a standard definition camera. I also wanted to be able to record events and be able to easily transfer the footage to my computer, do some slight editing, and then burn it to a DVD. I'm not trying to make a Hollywood movie here. I just want technological simplicity that looks good. This camera, so far is meeting that need perfectly.

I did some test footage and decided that I would record it with MPEG-4 on the 24 Mbps setting. This isn't the highest quality, but with my luck and experience...when you start recording things in the highest settings you usually run into multiple problems later when you go and try to transfer it to a computer. AVCHD, from what I understand, is supposed to be the highest format that you can put your videos in. I filmed in both modes and then hooked my camera up to my HD TV and I honestly can't really tell the difference between the two. You can actually search for videos on the web that show the differences between the two and judge for yourself. I happy with shooting in the MPEG-4 format for right now because it works better with my particular program (iMovie) and it looks a heck of a lot better than what my older camera was doing. Now, Mac users, according to iMovie 10.0.3, you can transfer AVCHD video in. BUT...a lot of people have a lot of issues with this. I think iMovie 10.0.3 is really difficult to work with and it doesn't seem to be as intuitive as the older version. I first used this newer version of iMovie to upload MPEG-4 footage and it worked perfectly. Instead of hooking the camera directly to the computer, I just used the SD card (using Scan Disk Extreme Plus 32GB). I had iMovie 10.0.3 open and it immediately recognized the SD card and uploaded the footage no problem. I began to edit, add effects, and finish my project. Now...this is where the problem comes. Transferring or "sharing" your project. It seems like every time I use iMovie 10.0.3 you have to jump through hoops and use various methods to get your footage to iDVD. I don't think I've ever been able to do it the same way twice. It can be done...but what a headache. So, the camera will work with this version of iMovie. I did not try to use AVCHD with this version just yet. I don't know if I even will. For one, the program is such a pain...etc etc. You can transfer your projects to iCloud...but I wouldn't do anything of any great length. You might be uploading for a week. It takes 30+ minutes to transfer something that is about 4 minutes long and my computer gets really hot and the fans kick in (iMac i5). I sure it has to do with everything from the size of the file, how it was filmed, and internet connection speeds.

I also tested this camera with the older iMovie 9.0.3. Now, I haven't used this version in a long time and boy this version is such a breeze to work with. What a major difference! I filmed using the MPEG-4 format and iMovie 9 recognized the card and uploaded the footage with no problem. I was able to edit etc. Transferring to a dvd was just a couple of clicks and DONE! Use this version if you want the same kind of simplicity that I seek.

Both versions of iMovie will recognize this camera using the MPEG-4 format. I use the 24Mbps because it is high quality (not the highest) and I can use the in camera functions/filters/effects while recording with this format. When you film in the highest formats with either will not be able to use any of the effects/filters. For me, the camera gives a better quality video when compared to what I had previously. Even if you wanted to just record your footage and leave it on the SD Card and hook it up to the TV to watch that way...this camera works great for that as well. You get an HDMI cable that will allow you to do just this. That way, you don't have to worry about soft ware programs and burning stuff to DVDs. I personally just like have a physical copy like a DVD as a backup (even though that isn't always full proof either). When hooked up into the TV, the camera really shines because your not loosing quality due to video compression etc.

Now, I've only had the camera for a week now. I am sure you have looked at all the reviews about the features and I don't want to go into an in-depth review on those because there plenty of that stuff out there...even videos that will show you what this camera can do. With my experience thus far, here are a few things that I have noticed and can confirm. First, make sure you get another battery. The battery that this thing comes with will probably last you about 30 minutes. Batteries made by Canon are really $$$. I decided to get one made by Kapaxen. You have various sizes that you can choose from that vary in recording time. I got the mid range one that gives me about 2 hours of recording time. These batteries work perfectly with this camera and they are decoded to give you the information like battery life etc. They were actually recommended to me by a videographer who uses them with their Canon cameras. You can get them really cheap here on Amazon. The camera is about the same size as my old Sony and honestly doesn't feel any cheaper made than that one. These things are light and tight. Small and compact. Drop any of them on the side walk and there going to be toast. There is no view finder...all you got is your view screen. This does present a problem when your filming outside in bright situations. I took it out in the back yard when it was really bright and I had a very difficult time trying to figure out what I was aiming at. You have to open the lens cover manually. The good thing is that the camera reminds you to do this when you turn it on. Film quality in low light situations does degrade dramatically. The film does get grainy and you loose the HD look. But honestly, what mid range camera doesn't loose some quality when recording in low light situations? I can say that it handles it better than my Standard Def I'm happy with that. You don't get an operator's guide. You have to download a PDF. I honestly didn't need to. The on screen menus are very easy to understand and spending a little of time digging around with can pretty much figure out all you need.

For a mid-range HD camera that is easy to use and has a budget friendly price. This is a great camera to have. I would of loved to be able to get a Canon G2! The camera is not perfect but it fits my purposes well. I hope that spending a little more time with talking about how this camera functions with iMovie and Macs that it helps to clarify some of the questions about that and helps those users. I know I spent a lot of time looking around for information specifically addressing those issues and I only got vague and conflicting information. I did read one review in which a person said that after they filmed the footage that they couldn't find it afterwards? I'm not sure if they are speaking about finding it on the camera or with the computer. I can tell you that when you film something, you have to hit the "play" button on the side of the camera. This is covered with the view screen is closed. Once you press that button you have to select which recorded formats you want to view. There is a little slider at the top of the view screen that will allow you to see the videos that you shot in AVCHD and MPEG-4. When you first get to that screen...all the "video boxes" are greyed out which could lead people into thinking that the camera hasn't recorded anything.

Anyway, hope this review helps address some issues and features. I tried to get all the stuff out there that I was so desperately seeking. So far, I like what the camera does and look forward to taking it on our upcoming camping trip. If I discover any major issues/problems...I will update. For now, I recommend this camera!
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89 of 93 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2014
Color Name: WhiteVerified Purchase
We bought this on pre-order and it showed up the day it was released. I was so thrilled! We tried it out the very next day at my son's soccer game and it was awesome. The set up is VERY easy and user friendly. Just make sure you buy or have a SD card on hand. The charging took a few hours, but that was expected.

The best part is the focus when you're zooming. I loved that I could easily follow my son on the soccer field and when watching it back, it doesn't feel like you're getting dizzy watching a home movie. The stabilization feature is awesome for moving kids and moving soccer balls. You can start and stop each video clip really easily. And taking still photos is so simple!

We bought this mainly for our baby being born in a few weeks and wanted to make sure we could easily use it and understand the settings before he comes. Overall, for $300 (plus a new SD card, camera bag, and the warranty) I feel like we definitely got our money's worth. It's also VERY light weight, even lighter than my cell phone.
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59 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on June 22, 2014
Color Name: BlackVerified Purchase
***Update*** Here is a video with my complete rig using the Canon Vixia HF R500

I researched for a few months looking for the right camera to do remote reporter type work. This camera does it all in a low priced package. I combined it with a Tacstar SGC-598 shotgun mic, and a Chromo Inc.® 160 LED CI-160 Dimmable Ultra High Power Panel led light and mounted it on a Heavy Duty Photography L Bracket . Then I bought a set of Sennheiser HD 202 II Professional Headphones. For under $400 I was able to get a complete remote setup to handle anything I needed. This camera is a powerhouse. The video is phenomenal. The controls are a dream with the touch screen.

For those that have had bad luck or were not satisfied with this camera I am sorry. But for those that understand at this price point what you are capable of getting this camera rocks the chart.

Pros -

Mic jack, Headphone jack, hdmi out that allows you to use a monitor or tv "while" you are recording, audio on screen meter, volume input controls, tons of manual options, 1080p 60 fps, also does 720p which is great if you want to make videos for YouTube.


Hard to see touch screen in 12 noon bright sun. (I can deal with that)

If you are looking in this price range then you need to stop right now and forget the rest. This is your camera. I posted a picture in user submitted with my camera setup. Hope this review helps.
review image
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2014
Color Name: BlackVerified Purchase
I bought this camera as I wanted a cheaper, lightweight alterative to using the video record mode in my Canon I wanted the ability to have longer record times. To date, my feelings about this camera are mixed. Here are the pros and cons I've noticed:


1. The camera is lightweight and comfortable to use. The zoom button on the top is a little awkward for zooming out, since you have to pull back on the button with your index finger. But otherwise it works fine.
2. The ability to use an external microphone is a HUGE advantage for Canon cameras, as built-in camcorder mics are rarely very good.
3. The battery life is pretty good. I can get about 60 minutes out of the supplied battery under normal conditions. Larger (off brand) batteries are available for 90 minutes or more...though sometimes the you get less time than the screen indicates.


1. The low light level performance leaves much to be desired, as others have already noted. The indoor performance in even well-lit rooms often results in graininess. Running under different settings for low light conditions helps marginally, but that introduces other issues with focusing and blur. Granted, it's a small lens and I would never expect this to perform as well as an SLR in low light conditions. But this little Canon seems very sensitive to anything less than bright light conditions.
2. While outdoor performance is much better than indoor performance, seeing the image on the screen is often quite tough in sunlight. You find yourself looking at your own reflection as much as you can see the image. You sometimes just have to hope you're capturing the image and that it's in focus. It leaves this SLR-user wishing for a viewfinder...but you can't expect that on a sub-$300 camera.
3. The menu, while not too challenging, is not laid out very well. If you are using headphones, for example, you have to click through a lot of steps just to change the volume in the headphones. It also helps if you have baby-sized fingers, since you have to be precise on where you tap the screen to access the menus. It's not for the clumsy or the sausage-fingered.

Overall, it's an OK camera, but not one I would buy again (and I'm a dedicated Canon user). I think I'll stick to shooting most of my video with a Canon SLR camera instead.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2014
Color Name: BlackVerified Purchase
I almost didn't get this camera because as most people do I like to check out the negative reviews before buying. The ones complaining about the low light are... Well have unrealistic expectations.

It's a 300$ camcorder; that being said it handles different lighting situations in class as a top end smart phone. It simply doesn't have the aperture to work well in low light like a high end camcorder, the " grainyness" comes from the camera compensating for the lack of light using iso. Where it excels over a cellphone would be the awesome zoom and image stabilization. It's easier to handle and record with it than my DSLR though in extreme low light I will be using my DSLR to shoot video if needed.

All in all I got this mainly for my daughters activities. It works awesome in well lit scenarios! As mentioned not a top performer in extreme low light but you shouldn't expect it to be for its size and price. To those who complain about the low light... Sorry you didn't get a Ferrari for the price of a Hyundai, that must be a huge disappointment. Also the audio recording is just fine though haven't tested at a concert yet.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2014
Color Name: BlackVerified Purchase
This is truly a very excellent camcorder. My last camcorder was an Sony ES900 which was 20 years ago and is tape driven. But with technology changing and the fact that I need something simple I can use for my YouTube channel, this caught my attention. I can just record onto an SD card and then put the card in my new HP TouchSmart computer and just transfer the recording as a mp4 file onto my desktop. From there I can load it into Windows Movie maker, make my additions and edits, publish a final and then load onto my YouTube channel when doing my YouTube addresses. The battery took only about an hour to charge. The SD 64 card can record up to 8.5 hours of recording material and the battery it comes with is good for two hours of recording time. I don't need that much for my needs, but I printed the 200 page instruction manual offered by Canon and as I perused through the manual, I noticed this camera has a lot to offer. You should check out the Canon site and download the manual to get a full insight to what this camera can do. Here is the link:

This works very well under low and normal lighting conditions. Very intuitive design. The quick start guide gets you going fast enough and you download the pdf file of the 200 page full manual, you learn this camera is a little power house to all it can do. I thought of buying the lesser version for $100 less, but as I kept reading on the Canon line of cameras and even the Sony brands while comparing on the net between the various major stores over a few weeks, I decided to go with this one for the money. I knew what I needed and for me this camera met those expectations. So far so good. No complaints and no problems with the technology.

I also bought the accessory package sold on Here is the link:

You'll save money buying all the extras as a package deal. The only problem is the stand long tripod which is a bit flimsy in my experience with tripods. I bought a all aluminum tripod 30 years ago for $50 and it is still with me today, but then again $50 bought a lot more than it does today as the value of the dollar keeps changing and diminishing in its purchase power over time. Such is capitalism and what interest rates do to the value of our money over time. Otherwise its a good deal.

This camera does not come with a SD card. You'll need to buy one. I bought the SD64 which can record 8.5 hours worth of recording time onto it which is more than enough to meet my needs. I can easily download the contents to my computer in the form of mp4 files and clear the SD card easy enough to make fresh recordings using the VIXIA HF R500 anyway. All of it will fit into the camera bag that comes with that package kit I mentioned. I even bought a stereo lavalier mic for interviews and that all fits into the bag including an 30 foot extension cord for the mic. Not bad for the money I spent.

I also bought the 4 year Smart Gaurd extended warranty to safegaurd my investment. I do this with all my computers and I would recommend it. I eventually have to send my computers in for work from normal wear and tear and even with a 2 or 4 year warranty plan, the plans pay for themselves in the end. I expect to have this camcorder for at least 4 years unless I drop dead and at my age that could happen. (chuckling) but if I live so long, then I have the added protection if the camcorder gets damaged or through wear and tear needs repairs.

Oh, one other thing that was not made obvious in the write up, the lens is protected by a inbuilt mechanical flip down screen. All you do is flip a side switch and the metal protect retracts and hides revealing the lens. Makes me think of some an old German 35mm still camera I owned some 40 years ago and boy where those cameras built. Not saying this is built to those hard standards, but the flap retract technique reminds me of the older German cameras from my youth. I mention this because I wondered why I did not see any mention of a camera cover for the lens when I was reading up on the Canon camcorders. It's built in.

Also this camera will stand on a tripod and it has 3.5 mm jacks for both a headset and external mic in case you want to do interviews with it using a external lavalier mic which is what I'll be using mine for to help me with my YouTube channel work. I mention the 3.5 mm jacks because that was not made clear in the write up on the camcorder. The mic jack is also stereo too. So make sure to get a stereo mic. Here is the URL concerning the lavalier mic I bought for this camera and it is a low cost stereo mic. Nice for the prices I might add.

Hope I mentioned some things not mentioned in the write up or by others you found helpful.

PS: If you want to see an example of what this camera can do, go to this YouTube link of a channel address I just did using all the equipment I talk about in this review. Notice how nice the sound is using the lavalier microphone I provided the link to and the quality of the video?
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2014
Color Name: Black
Great camera for "professional" use. It may or may not be a broadcast quality camera but I am using it to record interviews and shoot video for a video "report" I'm producing to supplement a written report. I also used it to shoot video to supplement a social media project involving the production of short (2 min) "testimonials" for an advocacy campaign. I will definitely be using it to develop digital content for my clients.

Two big pluses - it produces very good quality video, depending on your settings, and it is very easy to use.
I'm using the Canon wireless mic system (good investment) and while I have to tuck the receiver in my pocket as there's no hot-shoe attachment on this camera, it's still easy to get set up fast, shoot and move on.
I'm using a monopod to ensure steadiness and give me lots of maneuverability. The camera has a simple mic input as well as a plug for your ear-buds - something my much more expensive Nikon DSLR doesn't have.
The menu is fairly easy to use although it's not completely intuitive. You have to spend time playing with it, which anyone using new video gear should do anyway before they get into the field.

One odd thing which I haven't been able to correct: When I stand folks up in front of a specific environment to do my interviews, usually with some kind of relevant activity in the background, everything is in crystal clear focus - foreground and background. That's really distracting. Generally you can adjust this with other kinds of lenses or settings but I haven't been able to do this.
Generally, the interview subject should be the focus and other background activity should ideally be a bit "softer." But that's not the case with this camera. It has impacted how I shoot my interviews. And while it's not that big of a deal for my project, I'm going to go back to my Nikon for other video projects. Using my 100mm portrait lens handles that issue easily. I wonder if the more expensive versions of this camera can utilize manual focus to manage this? But this camera, in spite of indicating it does have manual focus, doesn't really give you that option. It's simply a characteristic of this lens.

But, it is small and easy to use. Unobtrusive in that it looks so "amateur" nobody really takes notice, unlike when I whip out my Nikon. It will probably make a great second camera in my work.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2014
Color Name: WhiteVerified Purchase
I purchased the Canon Vixia HF R500 as an upgrade from my Canon Vixia HF R21. The R500 does not disappoint with video quality or features. The addition of 60p recording is wonderful since I mainly film moving objects with my camcorder. There is no longer any motion blur during recording.

I only knock one star off of this review because this camcorder tends to pickup ground vibrations a lot more than the HF R21 did, while mounted on a tripod. The R21 did not show vibrations much, if at all.


60p recording
Capacitive touch screen (can't stand resistive)
Looks good in white
Battery life is really good, even at 60p


Picks up vibrations a lot more than my older camcorder
Manual shutter open (older camcorder had auto open)

Bottom line: I would recommend this camcorder to anyone looking for a good, budget friendly camcorder with full HD 1080p recording at 60p. Just note: 60p recording is a memory hog.
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