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on April 5, 2012
Happy with my purchase and worth the price. Would recommend to others. A few notes since nobody else has reviewed this yet.

Video & audio quality are as expected and very good.

Wireless feature is not usable for me. I have my wireless network locked down in part by MAC address (if you don't know what that means, you can safely ignore this part of the review). Unfortunately, the camera does not tell you what its MAC address is, and it isn't located anywhere on the body. The manual is likewise missing any information on this. And for those of you who say I can just have my router scan my network for it, I live in a townhouse community with like 100 other wireless devices all showing up on scans.

Built-in 8gb of storage is great, but you'll still need to get a memory card if you are going to use this thing for real. I picked up a SanDisk Ultra 64 GB SDXC Class 10 30MB/s (SDSDU-064G-U46) and it works fine with no issues.

Stock battery sticks out the back some since the camera was shrunk down to be small. I'm fine with it, wife hates it. If you choose to upgrade to a bigger battery, this will be even more pronounced. If you plan on recording more than 90 minutes or so, you'll need a bigger battery.

Touchscreen isn't like your iPad - you've gotta press a fair amount to get it to register what you're doing. I find myself having to put my free fingers behind the panel to help hold it since I have to push so much. I've gotten more familiar with this over the past week or two, but I still like to hold the touchscreen. Also, touchscreen isn't the most accurate. I don't have chubby fingers, but it doesn't always click where I want it to. Again, I've gotten better with practice at clicking where I want, but it still sometimes goes goofy. I still prefer a joystick.

Has a mini hot shoe. Haven't used it yet, but be aware if you have full sized hot shoe accessories.

Don't think my griping makes me regret my purchase. Like I said before, I'm happy with the purchase and would buy it again. Photo & video/audio quality are great.
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on May 15, 2012
This is a great camera that I have had for a few weeks now. The features, the camera controls, and the image quality are great on it!

The WiFi capability is a nice convenience . The transfer to my laptop and YouTube worked as expected, though it does require the instillation of the Network Utility Software it came with to work, but that was simple enough to do. I couldn't get uploading to Facebook to work, but that wasn't a big deal to me since the main thing I liked the WiFi for was for uploading to my laptop without needing wires. Maybe they will fix that in an update. The transfer speed is about what you'd expect with a WiFi connection, and it varies depending on the length and quality of the video files being transferred. I've been very happy with it.

The camera functions work nicely too. The LCD touch screen is nice and clear, although it does take a little bit of pressure for it to register your finger compared to tablet touch screens and such. The little stylus it came with works better than your finger, but it does look strange for a stylus. I haven't tried to look at the screen while in direct sunlight, but I've read that it may be an issue if you do a lot of outdoors shooting. There is however a way to turn up the brightness which may help with that issue. The design is great and really feels nice while holding it. The only problem I have with the design is when the camera is off you can hear the Optical Image Stabilizer rattle around slightly while handling it, but it doesn't rattle around when the camera is on, which is good. It was a bit a nerving at first until I read that previous models of this same camera had the same issue. Not a necessarily a deal breaker for me because all cameras are fragile and you should be careful with anyway, this one you just want to be a little extra careful with.

Now the picture quality is the best part for me! The CMOS Pro sensor gives very nice quality video! The low light was very impressive. The picture quality in low light is relatively good for a camera in this price range when used in Full Auto mode, but it is especially good when in the 24p cinema mode. In well lit areas its also impressive with the amount of detail it picks up. The quality of the footage is good enough for basic home movie needs, and also for a semi-pro enthusiast for sure! It also has some manual functions, (like manual focus, shutter speed, aperture, etc.) that are changeable by using the LCD touch display.

Overall, I really like this camera! I would recommend it to anyone who wants a good quality camera, with great picture quality, for a descent price. Also, you might want to look at the other models this camera comes in, depending on what you want out of it. I got this one, the Vixia M50, cause it had the WiFi capabilities and a small 8gb of internal storage. The Vixia M52 is the same as the M50 but with more internal storage, and the M500 doesn't have WiFi or internal storage. All of them can take SD cards to expand their storage capabilities, however. So I'd recommend looking at the other models depending on what you want. The M500 is the cheapest of the three with the M52 is the most expensive, and the M50 is a nice middle ground (another reason I got it). Great camera!
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on July 31, 2012
I had an M30 previously which I was mostly happy with so I bought this as a replacement. I was disappointed there isn't a flash like on the M30. I like the convenience of having a single device for video and pictures. I'm not too disappointed because the M30 didn't take great pictures to begin with. Also the low light capability is much better on the M50 so pictures look better even without flash. I'm especially impressed with the low light capability. In bright sunlight with the M30 or M50 the video is spectacular. But with the M30 shooting in indoor lighting produced grainy pictures. I'm an amateur and really just want a camera to capture the precious moments. A lot of these moments occur indoors and I don't have special lighting to enhance the video. I found that with the M30 that even turning on all the possible lights still resulted in a degraded video. This doesn't happen with the M50. Colors are still vibrant. The battery life is better. On a full charge I can record 2h of video which is enough to cover a full day with intermittent 3-7 min interval recordings at a recent family trip. I didn't like the removal of the physical picture taking button. Now it is on the touch screen. This makes it hard to capture the spontaneous, nonposed photos because the touchscreen can be unresponsive at times, other times I wanted to take photo but actived a reticle on the screen so the picture was missed. What I'm doing now is just continuously holding the photo button and hoping I can capture a good image. Again I don't consider this a big loss because the picture taking capability of the M30 was just OK to begin with. The touch screen is mostly responsive. Luckily I stick with the auto settings so don't fiddle much with it. You can do all sorts of enhancements to the video on the camcorder itself but I find it superfluous. The wifi couldn't connect to my router which I suspect I can get to work if I change some router settings but also seems superfluous. Otherwise good camera. Great video with good lighting, good video in low lighting.
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on August 3, 2012
If I start writing about the good things, I can write a page, but just wanted to mention the one thing I was dissappointed in. The WiFi and DLNA features are bad... I cannot throw videos over WiFi to m TV without the pictures getting stuck and showing up frame-by-frame. Also copying videos to my PC over WiFi was pathetic. It took hours and finally timed out. When I used the USB cable, the same videos copied over in less than 5 minutes...

If you are buying this for the WiFi and DLNA feature (like I did), you will be dissappointed. Otherwise, everything is really good about this camcorder, especially the battery life!
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on July 2, 2012
Pros:
- Excellent (specially indoor) video quality
- Touch screen use (very low 'missed touch')
- WiFi feature (very useful, can transfer video, picture without a cable)
- Nice sound recording
- Nice face tracking
- Build in memory (8GB) - very useful
- Fair battery life (2 hrs)
- Nice easy to use Zoom
- It takes actually good photos as well, I was surprised at its photo quality
- It has touch to focus on the screen

Other feature such as DLNA media streaming, External mic, additional hotshoe haven't explored

Cons:
- Focus sometimes is a bit slow
- Very low light will have bad video quality (average night light indoor is good)

Overall cann't compliant at all!
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on September 28, 2012
I don't have a lot of experience with camcorders except a very old one that used tape and my iphone 4s. While the iphone 4s had beautiful daylight video, it was horrible at night, didn't have a lot of space and couldn't zoom. This canon M50 is excellent. The quality on HD is fantastic. I couldn't get the wifi part to work because the network program had an error on my computer. I don't know how to fix it but it's faster transferring with USB anyways.

The HDMI connector to my tv also didn't work. I think a pin was bent back in the cable. I could buy a new one for $4 but don't really need it. Still not sure if it came that way or cause of my tv.

The video quality of the canon is excellent while viewing on my computer. It looks like bluray. My wife is impressed. I think the quality is as good or better then my iphone 4s during the day. At night it's definitely better then the iphone 4s. Battery life is only 1 hour if recording in HD.

You can see samples of the canon M50 posted online in HD. I have a newborn baby and this camera is suppose to help take videos of her growing up. I hope to use this for at least 5 years then maybe upgrade.
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on July 18, 2012
This camcorder is great. I've had it for months now, and the only negative thing I can say about it is the location of the battery is poor. It feels okay when recording, as you can rest your thump along its right side, directly over the record button, but it just looks ridiculous. Battery life is long. At least an hour of recording. The less expensive Canons have smaller batteries and about half of the recording life. Video quality is great. I just leave it on the auto setting, and let the camera do its thing. I have a Mac, and uploading the videos into iMovie couldn't be easier. I've heard there's problems with the included software, but you won't need to use it if you have iMove on your Mac.
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on May 6, 2012
I am by no means a professional videographer; most of what I know about filmmaking comes from commentary tracks on Joss Whedon CDs (you can learn a surprising amount from them!) However, the video I have shot for professional productions was called "the best footage I've gotten from a scientist or engineer" by the producer. So, call me an amateur with a respect for the medium.

I'm coming from a Sony VX-2000 prosumer unit, which I have at work (bought for the above mentioned pro production). I also used it for taping performances of community theatre. DV (even HD) has a terrible problem with color compression; it uses 4:1:1 compression, with some kind of de-emphasis of the red channel. This results in horrible vertical bars 4 pixels wide under pure red (such as Rosco 26), unless you post-filter it. I was excited by the AVCHD (H.264) format of the M50, which uses 4:2:2 color compression. And indeed, it looks great with stage lights.

The Vixia M50 is not a prosumer model, but it works well for me. So far I've used it for a stage show (Carbon Leaf, who use mostly LED lighting, which is very pure in color) and outdoors at the National Arboretum. (Also in a clean room with fluorescent lighting, where the manual white balance came in very handy.)

Indoors, I found the image stabilization very effective. I'm going to get a monopod to help, but even totally handheld it did quite well. Here's a an example holding the camera up by hand for the whole time:

[...]

(The house lights were on for that one, so you don't get to see the deep colors. Also the posterization of the back wall is a Vimeo compression artifact. Finally, that's board sound, not from the camera mic, although the camera mic is very good. Sound was added in post; I haven't tried the 1/8" stereo audio in on the camera.)

About the microphone, I am unable to hear any motor noise on the camera's sound track, even recording in a quiet room and listening in headphones. To my ear, the frequency response has no obvious peaks or valleys, and its sensitivity is fine. The auto gain control is very fast, which means don't use it for recording live music or you will get serious "breathing". It's probably fine for speech. The maximum level it can take before overloading appears to be sufficient for live rock (at least for a band like Carbon Leaf, whose FOH guy cares about the sound quality so it's not deafeningly loud).

Here's a clip using the camera mic (standing *behind* the main speakers, so it's a bit muffled.)

[...]

You can hear the gain control working. This also shows the camera's response to stage lighting. This was in program auto exposure, recording to MP4 at 9MBPS (actual data rate is 8.2 MBPS according to Quicktime Player). If I were really shooting a concert and not just learning about the camera, I'd put it on manual exposure and use an AVCHD mode at higher bit rate.

As for outside use, of course a viewfinder is far preferable to a screen. However, I had no problem seeing it while shooting outdoors at the National Arboretum. I know it was sunny by the redness on my neck at the end of the day. When you go to adjust the LCD brightness, it puts a grayscale bar on screen so you can optimize the contrast range. Very nice. I had occasional trouble framing a shot when trying to find a bee or butterfly at high zoom, but mostly it was usable.

The zoom is my least favorite feature. It is too touchy. I never much liked the zoom control on the Sony VX-2000, and this is much worse. And with no zoom ring, you are stuck with using the motorized control. It's very hard to get a smooth and slow zoom.

Another downside is the autofocus is sometimes slow to notice that the shot is completely out of focus. It will hold focus fine once locked, but I wish it were quicker to recognize a very blurry scene.

The touch-to-focus feature of the display screen is nice, and it does a good job of following whatever you've selected. I was worried all the touching would cause jiggles, but it's not really noticeable in a handheld shot. I haven't tried it on a tripod yet.

I get about the full two hours of battery life, and the charger is quite fast.

MP4 files can be moved around as is, and work fine. AVCHD clips have a whole directory structure and as such are harder to deal with. I have a 4 or 5 year old version of Final Cut Pro, which doesn't recognize AVCHD. The current iMovie does, though. I've used that so far, with success. You can just put the SD card right in your MacBook and copy the whole AVCHD directory onto your disk, and then iMovie can open that as a camera archive.

The camera has a bunch of stupid features like "story creator" that I will never use. If I could create my own shot list and upload it to the camera that would be awesome, but story creator is useless to me. The Wi-Fi streaming is also useless. I think it can work with a Mac laptop, if you install their software. I went to do so and it required me to change to an admin user to install. On Lion? Really? I haven't seen that bit of lazy programming since 2005, so I do not trust the software on my machine. Didn't install.

So, a few things I wish were better, but great images, great convenience, and a price I can afford.
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on January 17, 2013
I can't be happier with this camcorder. It is everything I hoped it would be and more. I have had it for about 2 months and have used it on and off during that time mostly for indoor events.

I think everything it does it does well. To be fair, I am just a basic user and have little experience/knowledge with such things...

I spent a lot of time trying to find a camcorder that works well in low light (indoor) AND has good battery life. Due to this being the step up model it has the mid sized battery so gets better battery life than the M400 series AND it has a bigger sensor which means it is better in low light.

CONs:
---------------------------------------------------------
1. The touchscreen could be a little bit more responsive. It works great but you almost need to press rather than just touch to make it respond. Just takes some getting used to.

2. HD files are not playable on all devices but you can record in or convert to MPEG4 which is more universal. I noticed an option to convert the HD files to MPEG4 in one of the menus on the camcorder which is nice. I haven't tried it but presumably it will let you record in HD and then downconvert a copy of the video to be played on simpler devices.
---------------------------------------------------------

PROs:
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1. Low light performance! When the light is low I have noticed that the resulting video is less dim than real life. It is also not overly noisy/grainy like some camcorders are in low light. I am very happy with it!

2. Battery. It seems to last between 90 minutes and 2 hours. For my needs so far this is fine and it is easy to get a spare battery if needed. PLUS, you can operate it while plugged in (for kids' indoor games or plays, etc).

3. Wireless + DLNA. This is so cool, I can watch videos DIRECTLY off the camcorder on my android devices and my Sony BlueRay player! FYI, Wireless is limited to only 4 saved networks.

4. View screen articulates. You can swivel the screen to any angle which has proven useful, especially when holding over my head or when viewing from the side of the camcorder. You can flip the screen over and put it in the closed position with the screen facing out for side viewing. I do this more than I thought I would.

5. Image stabilization. This feature is amazing to me. I held this camcorder for about 10 minutes recording 2 songs in a concert and believe it or not my hands were getting pretty shaky by the time I stopped. I was amazed to see how much my hands were moving but the screen was locked on the frame in view. I swear I moved my hands up to 1/2 inch and the video was solid! I have also recorded some fast events where I 'whipped' the camcorder around to follow the action and the resulting video is reasonable good. Not so bad as typical 'home video' shakyness. Enough about that...

6. Compact and sturdy for what it is. I do not feel like it is cheap feeling. Fits in my hand nicely.
---------------------------------------------------------

Overall I am super happy!
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on November 30, 2012
I read the reviews and chose the Canon VIXIA M50 for its low light performance. I am a knowledgeable amateur photographer but I have not touched a video camera since our 8mm Sony died many years ago. The camera arrived the day before our first grandchild and got a thorough workout in the hospital and in our daughter's home, in bright interior light and dim. With no time to study the manual I shot mostly on full Auto in mp4 at 9Mbps. Other reviewers have described the camera's functionality in detail. I found the camera easy to use: the controls are, for the most part, intuitive and the camera's ability to identify and focus on faces is most helpful. Perhaps because I shot indoors with a 35-60mm lens on my SLR for many years I don't share the perception of others that the M50 lacks adequate wide angle capability. Even in a crowded room I was able to frame the shots I wanted. The resulting images are sharp and steady, flesh tones accurate across a range of lighting, and conversations clear.

Mac users should not feel slighted on the software: it's useless. Video Browser is difficult to run and has limited functionality. (Image Browser would not install correctly.) Windows 7 Pro handles the import function with greater ease than Video Browser and there are many better editing packages on the market. No clue what Image Browser is supposed to add.

The pdf manual is comprehensive; the one in the box tells you how to turn camera on, charge the battery, and what the buttons do.

Bottom line, a 5 star camera that comes with an excellent manual and two 1 star coaster CDs
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