Top critical review
112 people found this helpful
Multiple Flaws in this model. Avoid it
on December 18, 2010
I was planning to buy this camcorder as a gift for a friend. Then I did my homework. I browsed owner-posted comments in camcorder forums. I borrowed a friend's R10 and tried it out for the day. I went to a camcorder outlet store and spent several hours trying out competitors to this camcorder. I compared the R10 spec's against its competitors. I spent way more time researching this than you'll ever want to.
I concluded nobody should buy this camcorder.
This camcorder has several critical flaws, and has only a couple minor advantages over its competitors. By the way, I happily own several Canon camcorders (HF S100, and HF M300) so I have nothing against the Canon brand.
-> Poorly isolated microphone records ANNOYING "ticking" noise movement of autofocus mechanism. (This is reported by hundreds of owners in multiple online forums.) Your video ends up with annoying background "woodpecker" sound, very noticeable in video of quieter scenes. (You can solve that by only using your camcorder to record video of woodpeckers!) It is impractical to try solving this with an external mic, because the R10/R11/R100 has the mic input but no mic mount (are you gonna walk around carrying a camcorder in one hand and a boom mic in the other?)
-> Short spec sheet claims "full 1920 x 1080 recording" but that is a lie because camcorder is limited to 1664 x 936, which it then interpolates up to 1920 x 1080. That's pathetic! (and the result doesn't look as crisp as true 1920 x 1080). Yet for about $40 over the price of the R10 you can buy the Canon M300, which has a sensor that can capture at true 1920 x 1080, and has twice the effective pixels in video mode.
-> This camcorder supports no mounting of any attachments; there is no standard cold (or hot) shoe, or mini Advanced hot shoe. In many shooting situations, you'll end up with lousy video because you couldn't attach the accessory needed to get good video.
-> It doesn't even have a filter thread to add filters or lenses! Yet it doesn't even include a integrated wider-angle lens, as seen in some competitor camcorders. Try shooting video of a couple sitting next to each other across the dinner table from you; this camcorder can maybe get ONE of their two faces into the frame, due to lack of wide-angle lens. Yet for a few bucks more you could buy a Canon HF M300/M30/M31/M32 to which you can attach a host lenses/filters such as a wide-angle lens, and also attach other accessories (to mini Advanced hot shoe) and then retain and re-use those accessories when you eventually upgrade to something like the Vixia HF S200/S20/S21
-> The pathetically small 720mAh battery dies way too soon (some owners say under 45 min). This camcorder doesn't use the current standard Canon camcorder batteries (BP-808, BP-819, BP-827, etc.) that are available in a wide range of capacities, and at low cost in non-OEM form.
-> Suffers from washed-out grainy video in low-light (or even medium light), a drawback common to most all Canon camcorders in the HF and FS tiers. Dynamic range also rather limited.
MAJOR ADVANTAGES to the R10/R11/R100:
-> No touch screen! Most competitor camcorders (of similar small size) unfortunately have touch screens that are usually cumbersome to use as result of too many touch locations jammed across a very small (often rather unresponsive) LCD touch surface. I have a Canon camcorder w/o touch screen and a Canon w/a touch screen. I can literally make menu/function adjustments 3X as fast on the non-touch screen Canon. I like the LCD mounted button and 4-way Navi button found on the R10 camcorder.
-> This is a relatively cute looking camcorder and it comes in multiple colors.
-> For English-as-second language customers, this (and most Canon camcorders) support quickly changing all menus to display in one of many available language options, ranging from Euro-languages to Asian languages such as Japanese, Korean, Chinese Simplified or Chinese Traditional, etc.
If you want Canon brand and in this size and tier, consider a camcorder in the M300/M30/M31/M32 series, because they are only approx. $40 more but are a far better camcorder. However, in this size and tier of camcorders, many would recommend other brands such as the Panasonic or Sony, because some camcorders (in same size and tier class) from both those brands are considered superior. You might consider something in the Panasonic HDC-SD60 series, or Sony HDR-CX110 or HDR-CX150.
Finally, I think that the typical NON-techie type consumers looking at these low-end camcorders, will discover they don't like dealing with the CPU-intensive highly-compressed "raw" AVCHD format (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 ) files that are spit out by many mid and higher tier consumer camcorders. They will be frustrated to find native AVCHD format files won't play on their PC using most media players. More frustration will result when they discover they need a VERY fast PC to edit full HD AVCHD and render it to a conveniently playable format. I think that non-techie type consumer is better off selecting a camcorder that saves its video (which might be H.264) directly in *.mp4 multimedia container format file, immediately playable on their PC by a multitude of media players.