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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.

MAJOR FLAWS:
-> 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.

MY ADVICE:
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.
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on June 27, 2010
The Canon Vixia HFR10 Camcorder is a wonderful camcorder. Please don't let other people mislead you. Before buying this camera, I have had a long list of video cameras since they first came on the market, including VHS, 8mm, Super 8, mini-DVD (Canon Elura 90) and several other Canon and Sony. This one is by far the best. I have had several photo exhibitions shown here in Atlanta, including one on China and another on the Mediterranean. I had a color full page photostory published with mug shot on the back page of the Detroit Free Press which printed 760,000 copies. I have won first place in photo contests in open competition.

I think that many of these other reviewers made amateur mistakes when using this camera. Their expectations are too high without using proper techniques. First, they didn't mention if they used a tripod or a monopod. I never shoot without using one or the other. Also, I always use a high quality external microphone which I mount on a bracket I got from EBay. Because of face recognition, this beats the other cameras hands down. Although this camera doesn't have lens threads so that filters and attachments can be added, I measured the front end of the lens and found that a 34-37 step-up ring could be added using superglue (Loctite No-Mess Adhesive). After doing that, I was able to attach a wide-angle lens. But one warning. If you do this, you will get fantastic shots that look fine on a big screen or on the camera's LCD screen, but alas, when you put the same video on YouTube, you can actually see the sides of the wide-angle lens so I had to take it off but works fine if you don't transfer the images to YouTube with its greater capture ability.

The county where I live (Gwinnett County Georgia) won the Golden Award for having the best park system in the United States in 2008 beating out Las Vegas and Fort Worth, Texas. I thought, gee, this would be a great project to film all the walking and hiking trails in these parks - a monster project since there are 37 parks in the county but I now have about 20 on You-Tube which were all shot with this camcorder. If you would like to see how great this camera works in the field go to YouTube and in the Search Box enter these five words:
Gwinnett County Parks by Frank and all of my videos will appear. Hope you enjoy the walks with me and any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

It amazes me how many people expect crisp and perfect shots when they don't even bother to use a tripod, monopod or even a chest pod when using their camcorders.
Hope this review has been helpful to you? I should add that I found the software supplied with this camera to be superb when uploading to YouTube. I have CyberLink's Ultra Power Director 8 but haven't needed to use it since the Canon software that came with the camera (Image Mixer 3) does just about everything I would want in an easy to use friendly fashion. I have found their Customer Service to be very responsive if I have any questions.
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on March 22, 2010
I did a lot of research before making my plunge into video. I've been a still photographer for a long time and regard myself as a recovering Silver Based Photographer, but I've greatly come to appreciate digital photography. I wanted a video camera that would fit my profile and allow me to grow without buying a new camera after a short time. Size was also a consideration in my selection criteria as I frequently do things outdoors and like to travel light.

This video camera meets more of my needs than I expected and way surpasses my expectations.

I'l get the shortcomings out of the way as the list is short and they are not too bad. 1) First is no accessory shoe. I got a nice external LED light source, but there is no place to mount it on the camera. My bad for not investigating this. A small Gorillapod is a reasonable accessory to carry, even out doors, so this is minor. The light stays cool, so a partner can also hold the light for you. 'Nuff said on that. 2) No built-in light. Minor, but it would have ben nice. See my comment above and additional comment below.

See? I said it was a short list!

This camera is almost as light as my Nikon Coolpix! Great travel companion. The battery life is good, but I always travel with at least one charged spare. This is just common sense. The view screen is nice and bright, the menus are easy to understand and navigate and the controls are well placed. The internal memory is adequate, but just as you should always have a spare battery, I always carry at least two 32 GB flash cards. Without additional memory, your record times are short.

I found the image stabilization a real nice feature. If you crank in the digital zoom, however, you are going to get shake, just not as bad as without one. A second Gorilla pod for the camera is a great help here. The optics are nice and crisp, the color true (with one exception) and the shutter speeds do not generate much blur. One caution: If shooting in low light indoors and you come outside, the camera responds like you eye and does have a blue cast for a short time. Minor, but it is annoying if you are following action. When I say short, I mean give the camera one or two seconds to adjust before shooting anything serious.

I did not test the soft wear, so I have no opinion on that. Just as with my still digital cameras, I suggest using either an external card reader or one built into your computer to transfer images to your computer. I also use softwear other than the Canon furnished software for editing.

Al considered, this is a great non-pro camera. With a little planning of your shots, there's no reason you can't deliver pro quality footage. It is not a pro level camera because you still lack a lot of fine control and it is not as rugged as a true pro videocamera. Still worth the price and then some!
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on June 19, 2010
I bought this camera looking for a relatively inexpensive HD video camera which was easy to use. Having had a Canon video camera before I thought this was a good choice.

Positives:
1) lightweight
2) simple controls
3) good microphone sensitivity

Negatives:
1) Video quality is poor in dim/indoor light, very grainy and occasionally it wouldn't focus correctly in dim light conditions
2) Turns out video is NOT 1080. That is, rather than shooting video in 1920x1080, it shoots at 1664x936 and upconverts from there.
3) Still picture quality leaves a lot to be desired. Very grainy and not focused

This is a very basic and simple camera. It shoots good video outdoors and in very good indoor lighting, otherwise image is grainy and occasionally poorly focused. Although you don't buy a camcorder for its still picture quality, this camera forced me to carry a dedicated still picture camera. Overall, at first glance it seems like a good option, but after trying it for a couple of days I decided to return it and go for the HF 200. It is $150 more, but it delivers where it matters most. It has better picture quality, images are better focused, it has better image stabilization and improved quality in indoor light. The still shots are considerably better as well.
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on June 2, 2010
I don't have this camcorder but this review is based on using a working one at a store. They let me try it out and even save footage onto my laptop.

For practical purposes, it's a fine camcorder but expensive for what it is. If you have to document something like the result of a car crash or a house on fire, it will work. It will be great for fun video with friends for YouTube or just for fun.

But for more serious video work, this wouldn't be the one. It doesn't actually capture video in true 1080 HD. It actually captures in 1664 x 936, then upconverts it to a 1920 x 1080 format. It even says this in the specifications for this camcorder in the Canon USA website:

Video: Approx. 1.56 Megapixels (1664 x 936)

That's why the video footage isn't crisp, as people here have noted. For a Canon camcorder that actually captures video in 1920 x 1080 native, go with the M or S series.

If the prices for the R series goes down to discount level, it may be worth it. Otherwise, I'd advise passing this one up. Especially if you're a 1080 enthusiast like I am. If I had this camcorder, knowing that it's not capturing in actual 1080 high def would always be a chip on my shoulder.
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on February 8, 2011
I used this over my trip to HI. Pros: the video snap is handy. It takes 5 second snaps that you can stitch together to make one video. The quality of the picture is quite good--even the single photo snaps. The power button, record button are easily found. The battery and SD cards are easy to replace. Very lightweight, compact, easy to track a subject.
Cons: I didn't understand that "event" means movie. If you delete all the events, you delete all your movies. I had to purchase a recovery software to get my movies back. The Mac (IMovie) won't accept the AVCHD format (HD format, native to this Canon). It will change it to .mov. So if you want to create HD movies, you have to use a PC. The buttons can be confusing, esp. the ones by the LCD screen. Note: it is not touch screen, so a bit clumsy. I still have to look at my notes to see how to switch to playback; and how to switch playback between the SD card and the internal memory.
Overall: it's a good picture quality for the money, just clumsy in ergonomics and not intuitive to operate. The icons don't make sense.
ADDED INFO: To delete a single "event": First, download the manual from Canon. Your printed manual doesn't contain this info. See page 52: Press icon to select playing a scene (it's next to Video Snap), highlight the scene, FUNC>Delete(the Trash Can)>Select this Scene>Yes>OK>FUNC. Be very careful that you are choosing Select this Scene. If you don't you may lose ALL your videos.
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on May 30, 2011
Well its my first video camera. I'm so happy. Full HD got some accessories the same time I bought this camera. the memory lasts around 45mins, although if you change the settings the time will be lengthened. I've waited for so long to purchase one glad I did. Paid TT$1800(US$279). I priced one at a few of our local electronic stores and they don't compare cause I was getting a a SD video camera with that relied on external cards or tapes for about TT$5000(US$775). Steel of a deal I ran with it, I'm glad, I bought the silver, came in a week, works great. I'll post up some pics of my set-up just look for the tag "User Pic By K.R".

1. The thing is I can't get the Image Mixer to work. (Can anyone help)
2. Does any one know a video converter for this type of video (so I can use in After Effects)
Thanks
review image review image review image
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on January 24, 2011
For the price, I actually like this camcorder quite a lot, but let me get the gripe out of the way first. Here's the problems:

1. The auto focus makes a clearly audible noise in quiet situations. If there is talking or background noise you won't notice so much, so it's not a huge deal. However, in scenes where the quiet is what you want, it's a problem.

2. The face recognition works, but it's slow, so auto-focus from the tripod is annoying when you don't have someone to hold the camera for you. Also, it makes the auto-focus noise worse.

3. Finding a way to get video off the camera sucks. It's not impossible. It's not that hard. However, you will probably have to pay, and if you have a Mac, you will have to pay more, as the software suites available for mac are hugely expensive. If you have a very recently made Mac with iMovie installed, it's native. If you have an older Mac, you will need to do some reading and find out what you can get to deal with this problem. Notice that this problem is not unique to canon--it's the file format HD camcorders use. This problem is already getting to be not as big of a deal, but depending on the computer and software you have, you might want to think about this.

Also--consider the space of your hard drive and backup media. Gigabytes go pretty fast with video. This is not a downfall, it's just the way it is. Plan ahead for this.

Aside from those issues--the video quality is great, the camera is tiny, and is easy to use. It's ready to film super fast--as fast as those little digi-cams can take a picture, and that's from being off--it's even faster when you have it in standby.

Oh yea--buy some spare batteries. You really will only get 30 to 40 minutes out of a battery, and because of the way you insert the battery, you cannot buy aftermarket batteries that are bigger in size.

Along those lines, don't buy off-brand batteries. They aren't worth it.
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on May 5, 2015
Nice quality camcorder with useful features. The auto-focus makes a clicking noise that prevents this camera from being a good movie-making camera, especially since there is no way to control the manual focus while filming. Still, audio is decent and this camera lasted me many years.
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on February 28, 2011
I am retired and just sold a Canon GL2 prosumer video camera. I wanted something HD to throw in a drawer and use when I wanted something better than my P&S camera video. The price was the selling point. Lots of written complaints about the autofocus noise but unless you are playing the video with the sound up to max I don't think you won't be able to hear it. I like the lack of tape and the size. Took it to a Cowboy Action shoot this last weekend and it did great and kept the gunshots low and still recorded the voices. If I was thinking about doing a professional video I would have kept the GL2. This takes decent video indoors and even in low light. I think for the money it's a great camera. Took a closeup of a flower in the garden and it was an awesome shot, great depth of field and color. I have a remote mic that I can plug in which is an additional bonus.
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