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This review is of the HF R50 but should be applicable to the HF R500 and HF R52 as they are all the same camera but have a few minor differences:

The HF R50 (this one) has 8 gigabytes of on board flash storage.
The HF R52 is the same camera but with 32 gigs of on board flash storage
The HF R500 is the same as both the 52 and the 50 but lacks the internal storage (requiring a memory card that's optional on the other two) and also lacks the WiFi.

The bottom line is that if you want this camera get the HF R500 as it's really the same as the more expensive 52 and 50 and only lacks the built in memory and completely useless wifi feature. More details are below:

I am a big fan of Canon's cameras in this price range and use them extensively for my own video production. I own the old HV20, HF100, HFS200, and the HFS20. In fact I haven't needed to buy a new one in over 5 years because these cameras work so well for me. I picked this one up to see what Canon has done more recently.

Video quality hasn't improved all that much from where things were a few years ago. And it may be that there's just not much to improve upon at this price point. Low light is still pretty bad and grainy, but daylight shots are nice but a little over saturated in some of the auto modes. There still are some manual white balance and other controls to get a nicer image.

I really like how the camera feels. It's /very/ light weight and fits very comfortably in the hand. Improvements in the size of the sensor have dramatically improved the camera's ability to maintain a steady shot even while handheld.

I also like the zoom - especially since it's possible to disable the digital stabilization and remap the focal length of the sensor to dramatically increase the optical zoom length. It's the equivalent of an 1853mm lens on a 35mm camera! The image isn't all that sharp at that zoom level but it's certainly passable and impressive for a device so small. I do suggest putting it on a tripod as it'll be nearly impossible to hold steady when zoomed in that far.

Battery life has also improved over older models. The battery can power the camera for over 90 minutes which is dramatically better than the standard battery on prior models.

All three models have memory card slots that take SD cards.

The WiFI feature is pretty much useless.. It does allow camera control via a smartphone or tablet, but the video comes in choppy and delayed by a few seconds making realtime control impossible. And while it does stream fluid video that can be recorded on your smartphone or tablet via WiFi, it's horribly compressed and looks terrible. You cannot stream to anything other than the app, so using online services with the camera are out of the question.

With SD cards so inexpensive and the WiFi feature so useless, there's really no need to go with the 50 or the 52 unless you'd like to have some extra emergency storage. Otherwise the HF R500 is the best value of the three.
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on January 2, 2018
Works as advertised! I couldn't beat the price. I am having some trouble setting up the remote features, I believe it is an issue with my phone or my setup not the cameras fault. I will try it with other devices and I am sure it will function well with wifi. It has some great features that I will spend a time to learn and some I will never use but too much is better than not enough.
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on May 24, 2014
Just bought a new Canon HF R50 with wifi.
Out of the box this is a pretty camera. I ordered the "SanDisk Ultra 64GB SDXC Class 10/UHS-1 Flash Memory Card Speed Up To 30MB/s" here off of Amazon for a great price. The battery charged quickly, I popped in the memory card and decided to just use that to store video/photos. I figured I'd save the 8GB on board for emergencies since you manually have to switch over. 64GB is plenty anyway and the chips are priced cheap enough that I could have a couple on hand if necessary.

We used it last night... easy-peasy to set up and use and no complaints.

So.... TODAY... ahem.
I want to pull the video from the camera, and also check out the WiFi features.
This is where my nightmare begins.

I plugged the camera in to the USB cable operating under the assumption it's better on the chip to not keep pulling it in/out. Nope. PC doesn't even blink. Try again. Nada. Lightroom, Windows, nothing. None of my video or photo software has a CLUE that I've plugged in a device. Whaa??

Reboot. Nada. Okaayyy. So I stumble around a bit, go online grab every manual and PDF I can find but nothing tells me WHY Windows does not acknowledge the camera as a device. Weird. I've had three Canon Cameras including two Rebels and they are both easy to use. I do find information about a "Transfer Utility LE" for videos shot in AVCHD. But I shot in MP4 last night. I go to Canon's website and download ImageBrowser EX. But, while it was downloading I decided to just pull my chip and upload the video to my PC. I will explore the software. I remember using it with my first Canon Rebel years past so I am familiar with it.

So - video transfer is complete. One task accomplished now to figure out this Wifi business.

I downloaded the associated Apps (iOS Camera Access Plus for monitoring and Movie Upload), entered the camcorder SSID and PW as provided by the camera in the App and could not connect. Grr.

I struggled with this for two hours. Why? Because the App clearly indicates a specific place for me to enter the SSID and PW so obviously that is where I should enter the info, right? Wrong!!!

iOS users (and Android users follow a similar path): on your Canon HF R50 (in record mode) hit the Home icon, streaming icon, and 'Monitor from Home' icon THEN go to your Smartphone's Settings, Wifi and select the matching SSID that you see on the LCD display of your camera. Voila - home monitoring enabled!

Now launch the App and you can monitor from home :) I plan to use it to launch the camera when we record our band... If I remember how. :)

The next section Monitor While Out works similarly -
From the Camera's LCD Screen in Record Mode Select the Home icon, streaming icon, and Monitor While Out icon - once the code pops up on your screen launch the Camera Access Plus App and select MWO. That code should populate. However - it also asks for a password. On this I am stumped. I tried the same password that was provided for the camera's SSID and that did not work. I will keep working on that but as that is not what I purchased the camera for it is not as big of an issue to me. If someone figures it out I'm interested.

Movie Upload APP (which I tested but did not actually upload with) works thusly:
Put the camera in PLAY mode first.
On the LCD Screen of the Camera hit the HOME icon, browse to the Wifi icon.
Next connect your SmartPhone to the Camera (Settings/Wifi etc)
Then launch the Movie Upload App. You should see the camera. Don't do what I do and hit "end" because you think you're done. That disconnects the phone/camera connection.

You can playback video through your browser (Smartphone/pad/PC) without transferring it... It totally works. This will be fun for people who want to check out the video when we're at venues. I can show it back on my iPad or iPhone which is more convenient than the camera.

I think because these features are not clearly explained everyone thinks it's a bust. I looked hard to find details and couldn't find them anywhere. I had to figure it out myself.

Better/clearer instructions would have saved me time and headache. I even checked the App website which offered no input. SMH

I'm excited about the camera AND the fact that I overcame all of the conundrums to figure this out. Hope this helps someone new to the HF R50. :)

By the way - the video and audio IS really great - even in not-so-great club lighting - and I'm very pleased with the results of the camera.
I've not taken any stills with it but will test that out. I have a Rebel Ti so that's not what I need this for.

I took one star off for the headache of figuring out the software but the camera itself is wonderful!
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on November 25, 2017
great little camera - software is a little confusing, two apps depending on whether u are shooting mp4 or the hi def mode- either way, very happy.. crystal clear zoom!
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on May 11, 2016
Great for the price. Haven't used it for anything other then simple videos of me performing on my saxophone. I got this one since it has the mic input. I'm using it with the Zoom H5. Does the job. Of course you can get better picture buy spending another $100 or more.
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on October 14, 2016
This is a great camera for the money. It is discontinued from Canon, but worth your investment; it takes great movies/pictures with excellent zoom features. However, the WiFi features requires Universal plug-n-play (UPnP).
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on December 8, 2016
Really good camera but is a little hard transfer files directly from the camera to the pc.
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on March 14, 2017
It's been well over a year since I've had this camera, and I still love it and use it often. I would only suggest buying multiple battery-packs if you plan on filming for more than three hours, such as if you're on a vacation.
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on March 26, 2016
No issues to far, video came in good quality and camera was solid. The camera itself is light and a LOT smaller than expected.
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on May 18, 2015
VHS was still the main type on the market last time I bought a camcorder. So, I was very happy with how much the technology has improved, obviously. I had envisioned something a little larger, but after due consideration I decided I was the one who needed to change, not the camera. After all, if it does everything I want it to and it fits in the palm of my hand quite easily, why should I want it to be bigger. The only negative about the weight is, when you use the zoom, it tends to rotate the camera a little. I think with time I should be able to overcome this problem. One of the best features is having an external mic input. I spent 10 to 20 hours looking for this feature in a lower price range camera, and trust me, it's almost impossible to find.
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