Canon VIXIA HF R30

Review: Canon VIXIA HF R30

This compact video camcorder is easy on users — and the budget.

The Vixia HF R30 is one of three entry-level flash memory video camcorders Canon ­released in March 2012. Its 3.28-megapixel, high-definition CMOS image sensor captures ­images with amazing clarity, even in low light. At less than nine ounces with measurements of 2.1 by 2.2 by 4.5 inches, this handy little handheld is an ideal choice for all students.

End-User Advantages

When it's inconvenient to use a tripod, users can rely on the VIXIA HF R30's intelligent image stabilization system, which transitions between four IS modes to optimize stabilization for the shooting condition.

The camcorder's internal 8-­gigabyte flash drive holds up to three hours of HD video. Memory is expandable thanks to an SD card slot that supports cards as large as 64GB, giving users up to 24 hours of additional recording capacity. Sharing and transferring photos and videos to PCs and mobile devices can be accomplished in a variety of ways, such as over Wi-Fi or through SD cards and card readers.

Good audio is an often forgotten feature of good video. I have found that most viewers will tolerate average video quality if the audio is good. The VIXIA HF R30 accepts an external microphone, but its on-camera mic performs well too. It eliminated or minimized wind noise in most of my test shots. 

The camcorder ­offers three recording options, giving users of varying skill the flexibility to film in the manner that's most ­comfortable for them. In Auto mode, it auto­matically uses the best settings for every shooting ­situation. When in Manual mode, users control the ­settings. When Cinema mode is activated, ­users can add a cinematic look to their movies using filters.  

Why It Works for IT

This camcorder feels sturdy in the hand and is very well made. With no moving parts, flash memory ­tech­nology can withstand sudden jolts or drops, which means fewer ­repairs. The choice to record in ­either Advanced Video Coding High Definition or the more popular MP4 format means that recordings are compatible with all operating systems and integrate well with a variety of video editing software applications.

The VIXIA HF R30 also offers the ideal combination of price and performance for budget-­conscious schools that don't want to skimp on 1920x1080 (marketed as "Full HD") video. For the cost of one high-end camcorder, a school could buy six VIXIA HF R30 camcorders.

Disadvantages

The VIXIA HF R30's resistive LCD touch-screen interface felt a little temperamental to me. I struggled a bit with how firmly to press the touch screen in my early testing, but eventually I got the hang of it.

I also noticed that the battery drained in less than 25 minutes, which seemed especially fast since it takes about two and a half hours to fully charge. Users should buy an additional, high-capacity battery that they can swap in if they are going to be shooting for longer than that.

Oct 16 2012

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