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Canon VIXIA HF M40 Full HD Camcorder with HD CMOS Pro and 16GB Internal Flash Memory
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- 16GB internal flash drive and 2 SDXC-compatible memory card slots
- Genuine Canon 10x HD video lens
- Canon HD CMOS pro image sensor
- Canon DIGIC DV III image processor
- Dynamic SuperRange OIS corrects a full range of motion
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|Item Dimensions||2.9 x 2.8 x 5.2 inches|
|Item Weight||0.77 pounds|
|Lithium Battery Energy Content||808 Watt Hours|
|Lithium Battery Voltage||7.4 Volts|
|Lithium Battery Weight||4 ounces|
|Media Format Digital Video||SD|
|Optical Sensor Resolution||2.37 MP|
|Optical Sensor Technology||CMOS|
|Shipping Weight||2.75 pounds|
|Supported Battery Types||Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)|
|Video Capture Format|
|Video Capture Resolution||1080 x 720|
The Canon VIXIA HF M40 Flash Memory Camcorder features a 16GB internal flash drive and dual SDXC-compatible memory card slots in an ultra-sleek, compact and lightweight body, convenience and capability wrapped in one package. Canon's leading imaging technologies, including a Genuine Canon 10x HD Video Lens and new HD CMOS Pro Image Sensor, deliver high video resolution, outstanding low-light performance, and a wide dynamic range. Sophisticated features such as Smart Auto "read" the visual components of the scene you're shooting and chooses the best settings. Touch & Track allows you to achieve sharp focus and precise exposure for any subject, simply by touching the 3.0" Touch Panel LCD. New features such as Cinema-Look Filters, Story Creator, and Touch Decoration provide an easy and fun way to shoot great video and add creative flair. And a new high-quality internal microphone allows your audio to match the breathtaking realism of your video. Dynamic SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer with Powered IS Instant AF 3.0 Touch Panel LCD Smart Auto Touch & Track and Face Detection HD-to-SD Downconversion and Eye-Fi Memory Card Compatibility Cinema-Look Filters / Story Creator / Touch DecorationSpecifications Standard Definition or High Definition - High Definition Television System - NTSC Video Recording system - MPEG4-AVC / H.264 Image Sensor - 1/3-inch HD CMOS PRO, RGB Primary Color Filter Total Pixels - Approx. 2.37 MP Effective Pixels - Approx. 2.07 MP Lens - f-6.1 - 61mm (43.6 - 436mm in 35mm equivalent), 10x Optical/200x Digital Minimum Illumination - 0.1 lx (Low Light mode) Image Stabilization - Dynamic/Standard SuperRange Optical (lens shift) Filter Diameter - 43mm LCD Screen - 3.0-inch Touch Panel Widescreen LCD (Approx.230K dots) Recording Media - Internal flash drive (16GB) or 2x SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card slots USB Terminal - U
From the Manufacturer
The VIXIA HF M40 allows you to record up to 6 hours of clear high definition video to a 16GB internal flash drive or to two SDXC-compatible memory card slots. With Relay Recording, the camcorder automatically switches video recording from the internal drive to the next available SD card when the memory becomes full. No need then to worry about running out of recording time during a thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime shot. With SDXC memory card compatibility, you’ll have card storage capacity from more than 32GB up to 2TB and ultra-fast data transfer speeds.
You’ll also have the flexibility of copying video from your VIXIA HF M40’s internal drive to the removable SD memory cards. That makes it easy to insert the card into your computer or HDTV’s card reader and view your recorded footage immediately.
The advantages of flash memory go beyond the added recording time. You'll also appreciate the quick response time, because there are no moving parts in the recording process. Press the record button and your VIXIA HF M40 starts recording video faster than you've ever seen before. In addition, when you review, you'll have quick access to your footage.
Another plus is the VIXIA HF M40's low power consumption rate, allowing your battery to last longer. It's just what you need so you don't miss that pivotal play on the field or the moment when they say "I do."
While we certainly hope you keep your VIXIA HF M40 securely in your hand while shooting, if it happens to slip, or you accidentally knock it against something, you'll be happy to know that flash memory makes your camcorder more shock-resistant than other recording storage systems. It also minimizes the chance of data loss if you accidentally jolt or drop your camcorder.
Incorporating a proven technology in Canon’s professional level camcorders, HD CMOS Pro is a 1/3” native 1920x1080 image sensor which delivers outstanding video resolution, superb low-light performance and a wide dynamic range. Unlike image sensors found in competitive consumer camcorders, HD CMOS Pro uses fewer pixels, which are significantly larger (61%)* and more sensitive, resulting in optimized video performance.
Outstanding Video Resolution (800 Vertical and 900 Horizontal TV Lines)
Since the effective number of pixels of HD CMOS Pro is equal to 1920 x 1080, resizing is eliminated, allowing Full HD video to be captured and recorded with professional precision.
Superb Low-Light Performance (1.5 lux)**
Because each individual pixel is larger and more sensitive, each is capable of capturing more light, allowing high quality video to be achieved even in dimly lit conditions. The sensitivity of HD CMOS Pro is approximately 25% better than the Full HD CMOS sensor in the 2010 VIXIA HF S-series.
Wide Dynamic Range
A larger pixel area also allows more light to be stored, resulting in 280% improvement in dynamic range for exceptional reproduction of both highlights and shadows.*** Skin tones are captured in a finer gradation, and stable gamma and Auto Exposure control are also achieved resulting in a more ‘lifelike’ image.
* This is compared to the pixel size of Canon’s 2010 VIXIA camcorders of 1.7µm. The current HD CMOS Pro pixel size is now 2.75 µm, reflecting a 61.76% increase in size.
**Rating measured with auto shutter speed of 1/30 second.
*** This statistic is the result of comparisons with Canon’s HD CMOS Pro, versus Canon’s 2010 VIXIA HF S-series camcorders.
Canon’s DIGIC DV III Image Processor provides stunningly realistic color and sophisticated noise reduction for exceptional low-light performance. It is also the high-speed engine that powers a variety of Canon technologies including Smart Auto, Touch & Track, Genuine Canon Face Detection, and
You will also find that enhanced lifelike tone and detail are captured thanks to 24Mbps Recording, which offers the highest bit rate in AVCHD. The VIXIA HF M40 not only captures images in Full HD, but records and outputs at 1920 x 1080 as well, so you get Full HD from lens to screen.
And with Tele Macro, the VIXIA HF M40 automatically zooms the lens to the telephoto end and sets the minimum object distance to approximately 1.3 feet (from 3.3 feet), giving you the opportunity to shoot spectacular close-ups with the dramatic look of shallow depth of field. Tele Macro is one of 38 scenes available in Smart Auto Mode.
To further enhance focusing capability the VIXIA HF M40 also features Focus Assist. This helps in capturing your subject in
See exceptional detail with a sharp 230,000 dot screen delivering brilliant color together with touch panel control for faster and easier menu navigation. You’ll also have Touch & Track, which allows you to get precise focus and exposure on any subject, whether it’s people, pets, or vehicles, by selecting your choice right on the Touch Panel LCD.
You’ll also be able to use the Touch Panel for Touch Decoration. This feature lets you superimpose select decorations onto the images on your LCD and then records the images complete with the additions. You may add animation effects, hand written and stamp messages or insert a still image to give your video a truly individual look.
Among the 38 scenes available in Smart Auto, a standout is Tele Macro. Tele Macro automatically zooms the lens of the camcorder to the telephoto end, setting the minimum object distance to approximately 1.3 feet (from 3.3 feet). This gives you the opportunity to shoot spectacular close-ups with the dramatic look of a shallow depth of field.
Touch Focus allows the user to pinpoint a specific area to focus on. This function is similar to the Push AF feature found in professional camcorders, but can target a subject anywhere in the frame.
Touch Exposure enables exposure to be locked or compensated for the area touched by the user.
The system is in fact so smart that it will recognize faces turned downwards or sideways. In addition, a specific face may be selected as the main subject for continuous tracking. This feature can be used to search for clips featuring that specific subject's face. In search and playback, use of the Face Index will display frames with the chosen face as a thumbnail in each shot in which it appears. The selected face can be linked as a timeline to further identify footage containing that subject.
Canon camcorders are not guaranteed to support Eye-Fi card functions, including wireless transfer. In case of an issue with the Eye-Fi card, please consult with the card manufacturer. The use of Eye-Fi cards may not be approved in all regions, or from one region to another; please contact the card manufacturer for status of approval in the country/region of use.
Canon makes no representations or warranties with respect to any third party accessory or product mentioned herein.
The versatile VIXIA HF M40 even lets you capture a photo from an already recorded movie. While playing the movie in your camcorder, simply press the LCD to capture a 1920 x 1080 photo onto an SD card or to the internal memory. Additionally, the VIXIA HF M40 allows you to capture 30 photos from one second of video.
Other cinematic looks can be had through the use of Cinema-Look Filters. This feature offers a choice of nine varied built-in adjustable filters which give the look of a variety of cinematic styles by compensating for the color, gamma and other aspects of the image’s quality. The looks can be previewed in the LCD display while shooting.
You can express your creative vision through nine different built-in filters to create video with a variety of professional cinematic looks. Choose from:
The brightness of each filter can be adjusted low, medium or high, for even greater control.
Through a menu selection, 1080i video is converted to 1080p and can be output through the camcorder’s HDMI terminal. 1080p output** offers smooth reproduction of fast action, such as sports.
The Mini Advanced Accessory Shoe allows you to attach optional Canon accessories, such as the VL-5 Video Light, DM-100 Directional Stereo Microphone, RA-V1 Remote Control Adapter, or SM-V1 5.1-Channel Surround Microphone.
The built-in Microphone terminal with manual audio level control and the Headphone terminal provide exceptional audio flexibility.
Canon’s new optional WM-V1 Wireless Microphone*** allows you to record high-quality audio without a hard connection from up to 164 feet away (50m). This feature is ideal for wedding or graduation ceremonies, documenting meetings and recitals.
* x.v.Color is a trademark of Sony Corporation.
** 1080i video will output if the TV does not support 1080p.
*** This device has not been authorized as required by the rules of the Federal Communications Commission. This device is not, and may not be, offered for sale or lease, or sold or leased, until authorization is obtained.
HDMI, the HDMI logo and High Definition Multimedia Interface are registered trademarks or trademarks of HDMI Licensing, LLC in the United States and/or other countries
The VIXIA HF M40 offers a built-in stereo microphone to capture high-quality audio. It offers a significant reduction in noise at medium and low frequencies.
The microphone’s direction can be adjusted four different ways to match your needs and taste. Choose from:
Monaural: Single point direction
Wide:Provides a more enhanced, separated stereo effect than normal
Synced with Zoom: Directionality is adjusted to match the zoom position
In addition, the frequency response characteristics of the microphone can be adjusted between low, mid-range and high frequencies.
Normal: Provides a balance throughout all frequenciesThe Automatic Attenuator feature prevents high volume distortion and optimizes audio quality in situations when sound levels quickly change, such as when loud music plays in the background. It automatically keeps the audio clean and even.
Low-range emphasis: Excellent for recording live music with impact
Attenuate low frequencies: Reduces ambient noise and the sound of traffic outdoors, such as wind, cars, etc.
Mid-range emphasis: Ideal for capturing people's voices
Low and high range emphasis: Record live music with balanced lows and highs
The built-in Microphone terminal with manual audio level control and the Headphone terminal provide exceptional audio flexibility.
Canon’s new optional WM-V1 Wireless Microphone* allows you to record high-quality audio without wires from up to 164 feet away (50m), ideal for ceremonies and recitals.
For the ultimate home theater experience, 5.1-Channel Surround Sound** allows you to capture audio quality that matches the stunning realism of your high definition video. The sound is captured from all directions (five different pickup sensors) so your home movies will look and sound more lifelike than ever before.
* This device has not been authorized as required by the rules of the Federal Communications Commission. This device is not, and may not be, offered for sale or lease, or sold or leased, until authorization is obtained.
** Optional SM-V1 5.1-Channel Surround Microphone is required.
Take full advantage of the brilliant clarity and drama of HD video in the beauty of the underwater world with your VIXIA HF M40 thanks to the optional Canon WP-V3 Waterproof Case. Compact, light and custom designed especially for the VIXIA HF M40, it's waterproof to 130ft (40m). It has direct control buttons for record start/stop, telephoto and wide zoom, photo capture and preview, to let you make the most of the VIXIA HF M40's capability.
Story Creator assists you in the process of creating an organized and sophisticated video. Choose one of five different themes – Travel, Kids & Pets, Party, Ceremony, and Blog – and the camcorder provides a list of suggested scenes to shoot. After capturing your video, Story Creator helps you categorize and rate your scenes, making it easy to review, select and playback your favorites.
Auto Gain Control Limit allows you to set the maximum gain limit for the image sensor's sensitivity. With this function, brightness and noise can be balanced as required, and image quality can be maximized in low light situations.
Intelligent Lithium-Ion Battery accurately indicates remaining battery time down to the minute, so you won’t run out of power when you need it most.
Pixela Video Browser Software* is bundled with the VIXIA HF M40. You can easily perform a variety of functions, including AVCHD Editing in which you can trim, reorder, and combine scenes, as well as add music, titles, and transitions. This software also allows you to play your AVCHD movies on your computer and will let you share copies of your movie with friends and family through flash memory to hard drive copying. Transfer and store your movie onto your computer's hard drive with the software and easily convert your high definition video to standard definition video as well. Pixela Video Browser will also assist you in converting video to the optimum resolution for transmission over the Internet.
Support for 27 languages including: Czech, Danish, German, Greek, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Hungarian, Malay, Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Finnish, Swedish, Turkish, Russian, Ukrainian, Arabic, Farsi, Thai, simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, Korean, and Japanese.
* The bundled application is compatible with Windows XP (Service Pack 2 and 3), Windows Vista and Windows 7.
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Top customer reviews
Keep in mind that most reviewers of camcorders look at specs and then make a subjective judgment about the quality of the video. The CamcorderInfo.com folks (with whom I am not affiliated) do extensive lab-based testing to measure, for example, color accuracy, noise, and low-light performance in controlled and consistent conditions. The fact that they rate this camera so highly is high praise indeed. They also have a great 11 page review on the M40 if you are interested.
So why did they like this camera so much? Put simply, its sensor. This camera's sensor is larger and more optimized for HD video than the competition. Most of those other cameras use a quarter inch sensor, while this camera has one that is one-third of an inch size. When you calculate sensor area, that is a heck of a difference. Canon has also optimized the hardware and software to focus this sensor on HD resolution...so it does it well. Many other cameras not only have a smaller sensor, they integrate it so it can record HD *and* higher than HD resolution still pictures. Canon did not do so here. Yes, you can take still photos with the camera, but at full HD resolution only (1920×1080) - not larger. Canon appears to have decided to not sacrifice video quality to get a higher megapixel rating for still pictures. Hey, you are buying a *video* camera...right? :)
So what are they then doing with such a large sensor? Grabbing more light, suppressing visual noise, and getting better color accuracy. Even more impressive is that this camera has the exact same sensor as CamcorderInfo's "price be darned" consumer camcorder of the year - Canon Vixia HF G10 ($1499). Yes, buy an M400, M40, or M41 and you will get a sensor that is in the best consumer video camera of the year.
So what do you sacrifice? Primarily, 60p. This camera shoots at 60i...with modes for 30p and 24p. Some other mid-range cameras shoot at 60p. Does that make them better? Well, that depends on your usage. If filming indoors is important to you (e.g., birthday parties, school plays, indoor sports), then 60p of dark video isn't all that useful...and bright 60i video with accurate colors cannot be beat. Personally, I have filmed my daughter's gymnastics in a moderately dark gym and even with the fast movement, the video was jaw-dropping.
You also give up the aforementioned high-resolution still pictures, but frankly, I think that's a gimmick. The zoom is also limited to 10x...which is another concession Canon made to otherwise bring you a top notch video camera at this price. For me, 10x is overkill even from the cheap seats at my daughter's events, but your mileage my vary.
Frankly, I think that this camera is getting discounted because many consumers purchase either based on price alone or by looking at specs. Specs like 60p jump off the page. The fact that this camera's sensor is so superior to much of the competition is a far more subtle advantage...that perhaps may hurt the sales of this line. Well, hey, that's good news for you. When I first started looking at the M41, it was $799. I just picked it up for $499...and an M40 for $449. Awesome stuff. Get a camera that beats the rest of the mid-range and its price is below the mid-range. :)
So what's not to like?
1) The software. You get two packages - a video transfer utility and a video browser/editor that also includes a transfer capability. You can only choose to install one. I opted for the video browser/editor, which installed fine on Windows 7 Pro 64bit, but then would not work....and I am apparently not the lone ranger. Thus, I uninstalled and just installed the transfer utility...which just moves the files. It's also not very configurable. Of course, you can also just connect the camera to your PC and drag the files off yourself, but that's a bit more work...and the transfer utility does a good job of keeping track of what you have already copied off.
This software issue really disappointed me, but to be frank, the software included with most cameras is pretty bad. Sony sells a fantastic video editor - Sony Vegas (multiple editions), but does not bundle it with the Sony cameras that I considered. In fact, the software that they do bundle is apparently also not compatible with 64 bit OSes...so factor in that you will probably need to buy editing software if you want to play around with the video. Actually, the M400/40/41 line allows you to cut videos, introduce fades, and add titles in the camera, but I'd prefer to do it on my PC with more capable software. No worries, you have your choice of a wide range of very capable video editing packages for well under 100 beans...and most of them trump anything that would ever be bundled with a camera.
2) The battery...which is very small. In fact, it is significantly physically smaller than the recessed cavity into which it fits. I smell Canon's marketing and sales departments at work with this decision. Oh well, the included battery works well for my use (i.e., 60 to 90 mins of filming), but I could easily see how someone else may feel compelled to get a second larger capacity battery.
3) The lens...which maxes at 10x, but some folks claim suffers from vignetting at greater than 5x when the aperture is wide open. It's also not very wide. You can address some of these issues with an aftermarket wide angle lens (bulky) and by playing with F stops in manual mode when you are shooting against a monochromatic background, but Canon could have done better. That said, these issues don't really bother me and the camera's low-light capabilities are perfect for me...so I am in a forgiving mood. ;)
4) The LCD screen...which is resistive (not capacitive), so it takes either a firm push or you must use a fingernail. On the positive side, you can use it while wearing gloves. Also a plus - it's bright. Brighter than the LCD on the more expensive G10, albeit with fewer pixels.
5) The Menus...which are not very intuitive. I had to read the manual cover to cover to see what the camera could do...and now that I know, I'll plod through menus looking for what I need. Amazing, because the menus on my Canon 40D are awesome.
So, if I didn't scare you away...and low-light is a big deal to you...which model should you get?
That depends. If you have plenty of high-speed SD cards, the M400 may be the ticket. It has no internal memory. Instead, it has two SD card slots and supports relay recording between the cards. Actually, all three models have two such slots...and support relay recording. The M40 adds 16 GB of internal memory and the M41 ups that to 32 GB and gives you a viewfinder, which is nice for sunny days.
I originally bought the M40 since I didn't want to find myself in the stands and realize that I didn't have an SD card in the camera, but then returned it and picked up the M41 since my wife seemed to miss having a viewfinder. That said, I hear many folks who have the viewfinder still end up using the LCD most of the time. Whatever you choose, you essentially get the same camera otherwise...with the awesome sensor from the HF G10.
On the other hand, if you shoot almost exclusively fast moving action in decent lighting conditions, you may be better served by a camera that supports 60p and/or suffers less from vignetting...but check the CamcorderInfo web site to see how each camera does shooting video rather than relying on specs alone.
So why 5 stars with these warts? Because I just don't see any other option anywhere near this price that will give you such a fantastic low-light sensor and the resultant high-quality video. It's the current mid-range low-light king...and I feel that it's only fair to rate it based on the current competition in the price range. If low-light capabilities are not a priority for you, then I would drop the rating to 4 stars. If you were familiar with the term vignetting before this review and look for it in the corners of your pictures and videos, you probably would rate lower.
BTW, if you *do* decide to buy either an M400, M40, or M41, do yourself a favor and switch the camera off AUTO mode. AUTO mode is locked to 1440x1080 at 7 Mbps...and this baby can do 1920x1080 at all the way up to 24 Mbps...but not in AUTO mode. Many other useful menu items are hidden in AUTO mode...like the one that changes the powered IS from "push and hold" to "toggle on/off".
Now I am the most anal person you will probably meet and maybe set my expectations too high at times, but I started flipping through some of the HD channels on t.v. to do a little comparison and noticed too a bit of graininess if I stood right up to the television. Now I know nobody watches t.v from three inches away, I just wanted to compare what was being broadcasted to what I was able to film with this camera. I must say, this camera's footage is nearly spot on in many instances (TNT in HD, FOX in HD, USA in HD) I'd like to believe I have a good signal from my cable provider into my television, so in overall video quality, I'd give this camera 5 stars.
So why not 5 stars overall for this camera? Well, maybe I'm used to my iphone's touchscreen too much, but the touchscreen on the viewfinder drives me nuts. I might be old school (34 years old), but I really prefer actual buttons to navigate menus and such. I used to own a Canon Vixia HF100 and really enjoyed the navigation stick and buttons. I would say I have average sized hands, and find it a bit hard to get the right menu selection with my finger at times.
Now I did go with the 16gb version and have no regrets though I can't ever see myself opting for using its internal storage. I like to be able to pop out my sd card and just watch my videos on my PS3 or computer for editing instantly. Don't like the hassle of transferring images via usb. Also, wanted a black body as opposed to the silver one. Yes, I'm that picky. LOL. I like the fact it has two sd card slots, so storage should never be an issue.
I also like that canon took a chance on just making it lower megapixel for ideal HD recording. Let's be honest, if you want to take pictures, use a real camera. I'd much rather have better video quality and sacrifice still photos. I know a lot of people complain about this, but it seems to make sense. You're getting "larger" pixels for higher quality low light recording. It's also nice that Canon included the HD CMOS Pro censor in this model. The same one found in the higher end G10, saving you quite a few bucks.
Overall, I'm very pleased with my purchase and feel Canon has put out a very competitive product with great results. I've already bought a lens hood and extended battery to compliment the camera. (Stock battery is too small and leaves a noticeable gap at the edge. A BP819 should fit the bill nicely. I hope this review was helpful. I know a lot of reviewers commented on its other features, so that is why I omitted some of the other points. Thanks for reading.