Customer Review

47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Budget camcorder has features and quality output that rival much more expensive models., November 14, 2012
This review is from: Canon Vixia HF R300 Full HD Flash Memory Camcorder with 51x Advanced Zoom (Electronics)
I have been using a Sony HC-3 High Definition Camcorder since 2006 with very good results. The HC-3 records to mini-DV tapes. I purchased the R300 to save time by not having to deal with the hassle and expense of finding and using tape. To transfer two hours of video to my computer from the HC-3 it takes an additional two hours. The Canon HF R300 records to files of a number of different resolutions, compressions and formats. Many can be used without any re-encoding before being either uploaded to YouTube or written to Blueray discs. This is a huge time saver for me and the primary reason that I purchased this camcorder.

It does come stock with a very small battery and I understand other users frustrations. I have always purchased at least a couple of extra batteries immediately for every camcorder that I have ever purchased. Taking video and especially high definition video has always been a power hungry application. Most of the video that I take is actually in auditoriums; the first thing that I do is try to find a good spot that has both a good view of the stage and a power outlet. I have always had issues with batteries giving out on me at the most inopportune times.

I purchased my Vixia in a bundle that included an additional OEM medium capacity battery, a case, and an 8gig SD card. I immediately purchased two additional generic high capacity batteries and a wall charger for $24 including shipping. With three extra batteries I have the battery capacity that I need even if I am not able to park myself next to an outlet during an event and I got it all at a price that I cannot even mention here on Amazon because it was so low.

My Sony HC-3 has a 1/3" CMOS sensor and it had the best low light capabilities of any consumer camcorder in 2006. The Canon HF R300 has a smaller 1/4.85" CMOS with more pixels, so it is at a disadvantage because each pixel is receiving a smaller amount of light at a given brightness level. However there have been improvements in both pixel sensitivity and density over the years and the Canon HF R300 while not quite as good as some higher priced camcorders in low light... is more than adequate for what I use it for. The results are very similar to my Sony HC-3. For what I use it for the most the 30x zoom lens is a very big plus as compared to the 10x lens in my Sony HC-3 and the more expensive Canons. I am willing to give up a little in low light sensitivity for the more powerful zoom.

For my purposes the ability to plug in an external microphone or the line out of a PA system or mixer is essential. Every camcorder that I have purchased over the past 30 years has always had the capability to plug in an external sound source or microphone. The Sony HC-3 did not initially have a mic jack but both bluetooth mics and a mic jack adapter was available which added the mic or line input through the hot shoe. An external mic jack is generally available on most high end camcorders, but on less expensive camcorders this is one of the first options to be dropped. So I am very grateful that the Canon HF R300 has both an external mic jack and a headphone jack.

Every camcorder in this price range is going to have a few compromises. Mine came bundled with adequate batteries and I purchased additional high capacity batteries and a wall charger for a nominal amount so I do not consider that to be a negative. My assumption is that Canon will most likely include a larger battery on this coming years model. I would have appreciated a hot shoe for powered accessories such as a light or bluetooth microphone. This camcorder has a lot of options and adjustments that can be accessed through the menu system; it would have been nice if a few of these could have been accessed through programmable buttons. I also would have loved a LANC terminal so that I could control the Zoom and other functions from a tripod.

Overall this is an incredible camcorder for the price. It has too many features to list in my review. I especially appreciate the choice in file formats, frame rates, resolution and compression. This allows a user to easily burn a DVD that will play HD video in a blueray player without re-encoding. It also allows one to upload HD content to YouTube without re-encoding. This is a feature that is a big improvement over the prior years comparable Canon Camcorders. Inexplicably this major improvement is not mentioned in most reviews, but will save me hours of time and frustration. This is an incredibly versatile camcorder with a lot of hidden bells and whistles. It records very good video and has an easy to use automatic mode, but enough options to keep a more experienced user happy.

**** follow up after several months ****

After using the Vixia R300 for several months... I am happy to report back that it has performed flawlessly for my purposes. The most useful "upgrade" that I made was buying a stereo bluetooth sender and receiver set designed for using headphones wirelessly with your stereo. The range can be up to 300 feet depending on whether there are obstructions or other sources of interference. One plugs the line out of a PA system into the sender and the receiver's stereo output into the mic jack on the R300. You then monitor the sound using a pair of headphones.

There are several options for setting the sound levels using the internal controls on the R300 and the volume controls on the bluetooth wireless headset adapter. Since the headset adapter has aa female input and so does the camcorder you need to buy a short 1/8" stereo mini-cable with males on both ends for the camcorder side and a rca to stereo mini adapter for the line out side. I also set up a wireless microphone with the same system for situations where there is no PA. It all works extremely well... far better than the proprietary sony system that I have been using for the past several years with my Sony HC-3 HD Camcorder.

My only frustration is that I have not been able to find a 12v car adapter that can be plugged into the camcorder. This is a minor issue, because I can use a small inverter with the normal charger. I would like the option of plugging the camcorder into a small portable 12v source when it indicates that my battery life is nearly up. The charging plug on the camcorder is some type of proprietary plug that does not seem to be readily available, otherwise I would just make up my own.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 26, 2013 2:30:52 PM PST
Do you know if you can make a continuous recording greater than 30 minutes.? I have shot services at church and it shoots continuously but the results are separate files of 30 minutes eash. I am shooting in avchd mode not mp4

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 14, 2013 10:02:17 AM PDT
S. G. MILLER says:
In the editing software that I am using it doesn't make any difference whether the recordings are split into more than one file. There is no noticable pause or any other indication that there has been a split in the final product. Depending on the choices you make for your output files there may be a way to keep the files from being split at 30 minutes, but since this is not an issue for me... I haven't looked into it.

Posted on Jul 25, 2013 7:35:36 PM PDT
Barbara Joy says:
Can you please help me on how to run the PA into this for recordings of band rehearsals? My email is TimelessFinery@gmail.com I would appreciate any help you can give me for live sound video recordings :) THANKS so much!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 29, 2013 8:28:45 PM PDT
S. Leigh says:
Barbara Joy, I think what you need to look for is an RCA out from the PA mixer. They are usually red and white. Then you can use an adapter that goes from RCA male to 3.5mm male like this one: SF Cable, 12 feet 3.5mm Stereo Male to Two RCA Male Splitter Cable
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Location: Kent, WA United States

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