Sunday, March 18, 2012

Quick Look at Canon VIXIA HF R300

I have a Canon camcorder and I'm happy with it. No complaints. No need to update either. Actually, I can't. I have exceeded my allowable camcorder purchases to X = 3. I got the Canon, the JVC, the camera on my smartphone, the Samsung waterproof and the camera on the Samsung Galaxy Player 4.0.

Oh, yeah. forgot to tell you all about that one. For another time. Anyway, having all of the above for just about any recording contingency kinda puts a damper on the justification of running to the camera store.

Moderation in all things is a good way to go. But if you haven't upgraded in a while and you are on the frugal side of the fence I would take a look at the Canon Vixia HF R300.

Who Is It For?

Well, looking over the specs I'd say that if you are a full time vlogger on a budget, activist or have a journalism bent this could work for you.

Tech savvy parents with kids at sporting or dance events would also do well with the 32x optical zoom. 
Yes, I know it says 51x advanced zoom on the camcorder but that is some finagling mixing the optical with the digital zoom which is crap and you should never use the digital zoom.
Recording Format

This is going to be tricky to explain but I'll give it a go. This camcorder records in AVCHD/MPEG-4.That is a high definition format. You'd want to uses this format if you are going to project the videos on a HD television, you want to make DVD/Blue Ray copies or you want to create a professional video for education or business purposes.

You want to be sure that your video editing program can handle this specific file format. Mac users, this definitely mean you have to check it out ahead of time before you buy. Most of the current video editing program support AVCHD/MPEG-4.

This camcorder also records in MPEG-4 aka MP4. Straight MP4 doesn't have to be high definition; it can be but I have two camcorders that record in MP4. One is high def, the other isn't. Folks might want to use MP4 if you know you are going to upload to a video web host or if you are going to watch videos on your mobile device.

Straight MP4 will give you more recording time and greater compatibility with various editing programs. But there is a hitch. Per Canon, you can't record longer than 30 minutes or 4GB at a time.  I can't determine if this is standard definition MP4 or the HD version. I'd have to dig in to confirm.

Other Specs of Interest

  • F/Stop: f/1.8-4.5 - this bad boy is going to be okay in low light situations. I'd would have a tripod or some kind of support handy but yeah, f 1.8 does a camcorder body good.
  • Manual, Automatic Exposure and a Cinema filter
  • Optical Zoom: 38.5-1232mm You are so going to need a tripod.
  • Can accept up to 64GB of SDHC and SDXC memory card. 
  • External microphone jack and headphone jack.
  • Able to transmit via Wi-Fi SD memory card.

Wi-Fi You Say?

Yep, you can record video and send them to a location on your home network or presumable to a cloud service. Some of y'all are going to get yourselves in big trouble. All I can tell you is to make sure the Wi-Fi is off or password secure your network

What you will need is a Wi-Fi SD memory card. These have been around for years. If you find an open access port you are good to go. if you have an iPhone/iPad you can use that as well.

Bottom Line

This is the entry level version of the current Vixia series. You can have a much or a little control as you want and the video is going to rock. If you need pristine HD you got it. Want good enough and small file size you can have that too.

(Eh, this really depends on your needs. For some of you recording in HD is the way to go and then later if you decided to knock it back to MP4 that is fine. You can't record in standard definition and then change your mind later.)

For a list price of about $350 it could be a good investment for the right person.

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