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637 of 653 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2013
I made a video review on You Tube just for posting here on Amazon. Turns out Amazon wants to host the footage rather than link to the You Tube video - soooo... I will just post a link to my video review here.... ---[...]---

I really like the camera. It is very small, yet offers some big features like 60P video, connection for external mic, intelligent optical image stabilization. And the touch screen is very responsive along with intuitive. I have not read the manual, it just made sense on how to use it.

Auto focus is fast and zoom is very long. It could be a bit wider but it will work in most inside spaces. It is bright even in dim areas. The battery only comes with 5 minutes of charge on it, and you need the camera along with the provided charger to charge the battery on the camera. When charged it said I had 111 minutes left. The picture is very clear and crisp with great color.

I called Canon before buying this to confirm that the only difference between HF R400, R40 and R42 was the hard drive - they said "Yes that is the only difference." So with that in mind and knowing that a SD card with 32 GB of storage is like $15-$20 why would you get the 40 or 42 over the 400? To me that is just a waste of $100 or $200. The HF R400 is the better deal.
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187 of 198 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2013
I teach video production. We purchased 5 of these cameras for beginner students due to the wealth of features - especially the audio features, and the low price point.

My only complaint so far is that the battery style has changed. I have a wealth of canon camcorder batteries and chargers from earlier and recent models, and this one uses a new "shape" battery. Bummer for me.

The audio features are wonderful. External mic support. Headphone plug. Manual input control. Great stuff!

The camera also supports a variety of formats, bit rates and frame rates.

We use iMovie and FCPX in our program. The camera is compatible with both, however there is a fix you'll need to be aware of when importing to iMovie (see below). I've read some reviews that claim iMovie will not support AVCHD from this camera. This is untrue. It supports both AVCHD and MP4 directly from the camera. You just need to understand how to find the "switch" when importing (see notes below). My advice is to pick one and stick with it. I prefer MP4 at 24Mbps at 24fps (this matches well with other cameras that I use).

I use a variety of cameras in my profession, and I am very pleased with this model. I highly recommend it for both casual use and entry level film making. Decent video quality. Excellent audio quality. It really is amazing what you can get for $250.

Both AVCHD and MP4 formats work in iMovie and FCPX. 60P in full HD (60 full frames per second in 1080p) will NOT work in iMovie (from this camera or any other). You'll have no problems importing any format (including 60 fps) into FCPX. To import files into iMovie do the following:

1. Turn camera to play.
2. At the top of the screen it will show whether you are looking at AVCHD or MP4 files. Touch that little box. You can now switch between AVCHD or MP4.
3. Switch it to AVCHD
4. Press "OK"
5. Attach USB plug to camera and computer.
6. The camera screen should be filled with warnings about not detaching power, blah blah blah. If you don't see the warnings, it will not connect to the computer.
7. A "Canon" drive icon should appear on your Mac desktop
8. open iMovie.
9. Import -> from camera
10. At the bottom of the import window, you'll see a drop down menu that allows you to switch between AVCHD or MP4.

You can now access all of the files (AVCHD or MP4) on the camera. Full HD @ 60p will appear, but you will not be able to import (they've got a red circle/slash "no" sign across them).

Good luck!
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92 of 99 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2013
I've worked with prosumer video cameras for many years and was looking for a small inexpensive camcorder for my personal use. I have always had very good luck with Canon products and felt that their consumer level camcorders had features that were lacking on other models in this price range, most notable a jack for an external mic.
The video quality on this model is excellent. The performance in low light is slightly grainy but very good and better than usual for a camera in this price range with a small sensor, and as good as some far more expensive ones I've used. The audio quality from the built in mic is very good. I sometimes have to record training sessions where I use a wireless Lav mic on the presenter so having an external mic jack is a nice feature and is often only found on more expensive models. It appears that with this model if you are making a long continuous recording, it won't record a file size larger than 4gb. I recorded an hour long presentation and it created 2 files, it's not really a problem because you can easily combine them with editing software.
I was also impressed with the zoom, it was very smooth and you can adjust the speed of it. The image stabilizaton works very well. I liked the touch screen and found it to work well and be very user friendly. The set up and menus were easy to navigate. The next models up from this have WiFi and a built in hard drive, but given the cost of SD cards, I felt this one was a better value if you don't need WiFi. There are a variety of video settings for various types of shooting conditions and for special effects, as well as manual white balance settings. You can also fine tune the audio for different types of shooting. The small size and being lightweight and well constructed were nice.
I haven't used the software that came with it, I usually use a card reader to transfer files to my PC. The battery life is decent and while the replacement Canon batteries are pricy, many of the generic ones are much cheaper, but when you use them the camera doesn't tell you how much time they have left on a charge. As someone who is used to using prosumer camcorders that cost significantly more than this one, you tend to get spoiled and it is sometimes frustrating go to use a less expensive consumer model, I was overall very impressed with this model and very pleased with it's image quality, performance and features.
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89 of 98 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2013
If you're a professional you might find a lot of bad qualities in this model, like no internal storage, no ability to add a wide angle lens, etc...

However, if this is your first starter camcorder, like me, you might find that this model is actually quite ahead of the game compared to its Sony or Panasonic counterparts in the same price range. The full HD is stunning in a well lit environment. However, I did notice some graininess in low-light environments. That's to be expected though with any camera in this class. The Sony ones are worse and some of them are actually more expensive than this one. The stabilizer is rather impressive though. Shaking the camera does not distort the video quality nearly as much as I've seen in other models in this class; even in the lower video quality settings.

The microphone is not bad for a built-in, but I ordered an external condenser mic from amazon to hook up to this camera and that's usually a worthwhile addition for the extra cash, because sound quality is equally important to me as image quality. This camera definitely isn't a turn off compared to the HF R40 or HF R42 models given that they cost nearly $200 more with the only addition being the internal storage and WiFi. That's definitely not worth the extra $200 for me. Especially when SD cards are so cheap. You could buy nearly 250GB of SD flash storage for that kind of money and the R42 only offers a mere 32GB of internal storage for nearly twice what this costs. Don't be fooled. This is a better bang for your buck.

Ultimately this camera is very light weight, very user friendly with the menus, and has a decent battery, plus mine came with the external charger (which I didn't even think was standard based on the description -- I thought you had to use the USB cable to charge from your laptop). So it works perfect for my needs and the only complaint I have is that I wish the shutter was automatic and not manual (otherwise I would have given it 5 stars).
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89 of 101 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2013
Just wanted to write a quick review for those with Apples/Mac computers.

This records in MP4 to the SD card, so all you need to do, especially if you have a macbook pro, is put the SD card into your MBP slot and you can just drag the files to your computer. You can open it up in quicktime or you can use it for pretty much any video editing program or if you recorded it the way you want exactly, you can upload the mp4 files straight to youtube/fb, etc.

You can be recording in the highest quality MP4 format (35mbps), but if you are recording in lower light situation, the quality is just like a SD, standard definition quality. But, if you record it outside in sunny conditions, it'll show up pretty good.

Also, the AVCHD can be used in finalcutX and imovie. However, if you record in AVCHD format, you can't just create folders on your computer and save the files (like you would with the mp4 files), but you would have to open one of the video editing programs and import them all and make sure it's saved. What I like to do is, once the SD card is full, I would make a folder on my computer or external Hard drive and name it, "Day1" and then dump the files there (MP4 format). Erase the SD card, record more, then make another folder "Day2" and then dump the files there. So that I can use those files later to edit or share, etc. (and also have a backup of everything I recorded).

Just as reference, I do amateur videography and use canon DSLR cameras for photos and videos (t2i and markII) and do everything with Mac computers but I wanted a backup camcorder.

In short, if I were filming ONLY things outside, I'll get this but if I have film indoors, with just average lighting on the subject, I'm a bit concerned it's going to come out grainy. If this is purely for non-professional use and majority is for family things where you might want to share the quicktime files and/or upload them to youtube/fb, this will suffice. (if you don't have a HD TV, you won't even notice much difference anyway)

But the major thing is, this can work on Macs if you ONLY use the MP4 format for recording. (AVCHD files can be used in FinalcutX or imovie)

I used this camera over the summer in Africa and here are some updates.
1. It is super light so it was very easy to carry around. You almost forget that you have a camcorder. However, I felt like if I dropped it, it would break very easily. But luckily, no one dropped it.

2. In bright sunlight, it was a little hard to see but you can just cup your hand around the screen and you could see enough to tape. I don't think there will ever be a time a shot is so crucial that you'll miss it because it's too bright.

3. During the trip, I transferred the MP4 files to an external hard drive and it was very easy to watch them and review them. The files are relatively small too. And after I got back, it was very easy to upload the MP4 files to FB or Youtube. (esp these days, people want to see your clips right away)

Overall, if you want a high quality, cost effective and light camcorder this is good. The quality is good too if you wanted to use the clips for a presentation formally as well. I have a canon dslr as well and of course the quality is a bit different but I wouldn't have too much of a problem mixing the two video formats.
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46 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2013
This is not a full review. This is a helpful TIP to anyone who has been as FRUSTRATED as I've been searching around for a camera that will stream HDMI out LIVE without needing to playback video. The VIXIA HF R400 will do this! It will also let you eliminate on-screen text for the external display. This is FANTASTIC. It is very frustrating how poorly documented these features are for cameras being sold. I ended-up figuring this out by taking the risk to buy it and test it myself.

On an aside, the video quality was excellent as well. The video looked great compared to other cameras in its class.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2013
This is my first HD video camera. I bought it to video my son's high school baseball games to create a recruiting video. I had one day to learn how to use it and begin compiling the video. It was easy to use and in a matter of 20-30 minutes I was getting good results. Camera has pretty good range (my son plays center field and anti-vibration features. If you plan on using the extended zoom, definitely use a tri-pod. Still photos are average quality, but then I bought it for the video, not the stills. Software editing program that comes with the camera is not that great so I bought Power Director 11 Ultra for editing and all is well. Especially like the ability to record in MP4 instead of having to convert video. Video is very sharp and clean HD - great quality. Easy to connect and view via HDMI from the videocam to my HD tv. I'd recommend to a friend.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2013
I was looking for a video camera to tape my kids' gymnastics and school events. This camera is nice and light but yet, heavy enough to feel steady in your hand. It fits nicely in my hand and the controls are all within my reach. The videos are nice, bright, and sharp and I get about 1 hour and 20 minutes of use when the battery is fully charged. The only thing I don't like is that the lens cover isn't automatic - it alerts you to open it when you turn the camera on but doesn't do the same when you turn it off, so it can be easy to forget before throwing it into a bag or purse.
Someone else mentioned that you have to touch the screen several times to get a certain function to work and I found this as well... BUT, I also have trouble with other touchscreen items and think it is me, not the camera.
So far, I love this camera. Deep down, it was my first choice but the guys at the store talked me into another brand. After just one day of use, I was back and making a return. So glad I decided to go for this one :)
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
November 15, 2013 Update

Lately I have been using the Slik Mini-Pro Dq Table Top Tripod with the Vixia as much as possible. What I do is spread the legs without extending them, and tilt the head 90 degrees. After the camera is attached, I press the ends of the legs of the tripod against my chest. What this does is put the screen where it is easily seen, and give the camera a very sold base. Now no more chance of motion shake, no wavering of the camera, etc. The camera is stable and once I have the horizon properly aligned it stays there. I have one hand holding the legs of the tripod tight against my chest and the other hand is operating the controls. If I want to follow the action in a sports event, for example, I keep the tripod anchored in place in turn/twist my body as necessary to follow the action.

This works very well and gives me much more professional looking video.

The tripod is small, about 8"x3", so it is easy to carry along with your camera. Much simpler than using a large tripod that you have to set and which keeps you in one position. I can walk wherever I want with my tripod, either in hand or pressed in place. If in hand, it is just a matter of lifting the camera with tripod attached and press the legs against my chest.

Because this works so well, I am using the Vixia more than I anticipated.

Original Review

This is my first camcorder.

I now have 3 cameras that shoot video: Canon 60D, a DSLR; Canon SX280HS, a point and shoot that I bought for traveling and when out an about in town and don't want to carry all my camera gear; and now the Vixia HF R400.

The video shot by all 3 is usable but that shot by the Canon 60D is the best, which is not a surprise. It is known for shooting excellent photos and video. But what did surprise me is that the video shot by the SX280HS, selling for less than the Vixia, seemed a bit sharper and clearer than the video shot by the Vixia camcorder.

This is not meant to discourage interest in the Vixia. If you want a basic camcorder for family video and YouTube, the Vixia is a relatively inexpensive way to achieve your goal.

But you may also want to consider the Canon SX280HS from Amazon. It costs less, shoots video that is at least as good as the Vixia and takes photos of a much higher quality. The Vixia has a longer optical zoom reach--35X vs 20X--but the difference is not all that great when you consider the difficulty of focusing when you go beyond 20X.

I am not sending the Vixia back to Amazon, but I anticipate using it less than the SX280 because the SX280 is a much better multi-purpose camera. I can walk around with it confident that when the opportunity arises I can take both very good video and very good photos.

I bought the Vidpro ST-60 Sport Digital Camera/Camcorder Case for the Vixia and it is a very good fit, even with the slightly larger extended battery, and there is room in the case for a spare battery, battery charger, SD cards, etc.
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46 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2013
The camcorder is smaller than I expected.

Feels cheap compared to the Canon miniDV camcorder I purchased in 2005. My older camcorder was more solid.

For this camcorder, I am using the SanDisk Extreme 32 GB SDHC Class 10 UHS-1 Flash Memory Card 45MB/s (SDSDX-032G-X46).

If you need extra batteries, the Canon branded BP-727 battery costs over $90. I recommend the Wasabi Power Battery and Charger Kit for Canon BP-727 and Canon VIXIA HF R30, HF R32, HF R300, HF M50, HF M52, HF M500, HF R40, HF R42, HF R400. This battery has good reviews and costs only $25.99. Keep in mind that if you purchase this battery, there is no battery remaining indicator on the camcorder's LCD screen.

If you are considering between the R400, R40, and R42, get the R400 if you don't need wifi. The R40 and R42 has built in memory (8GB and 32GB respectively) but it is cheaper to buy the R400 and an SDHC card.
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