Canon Vixia HF R10 review: Canon Vixia HF R10

There's just one performance downer, the short (about 45 minutes) battery life that seems to plague all of Canon's 2010 Vixia models. On the upside, the lens doesn't incur fringing like many of the cheap camcorder lenses do, and the autofocus is reasonably fast and accurate in good light. I do wish it could focus closer, though.

The models with internal memory are capable of down converting video and saving to standard-definition MPEG-2 files, which you'll be able to upload wirelessly if you have the requisite Eye-Fi card. Interestingly, the manual states that "This product is not guaranteed to support Eye-Fi card functions (including wireless transfer)." That's somewhat annoying given that Canon touts it as a feature. They also support relay recording, the automatic overflow of video from one medium to another if you run out of space.

All things considered, there's a lot to like about the camcorders' design and features. It has a sturdy, basic design that is in many ways superior to its more expensive Vixia siblings. The membrane buttons inside the LCD recess let you toggle between capture and playback modes; take 2-, 4- or 8-second video "snapshots;" down convert video from HD to standard definition for wireless upload via an Eye-Fi card (Web); and control display and playback options. I really like the connector layout, with the Mini-HDMI, USB, component, mic and headphone jacks all on the back of the camcorder. The external mic and headphone is rare in a camcorder for this price range, which make this model especially attractive to the education market. Because the camcorder lacks an accessory shoe, though, there's no place on the camcorder to attach the mic.


  Canon HF R100 / R10 / R11 JVC Everio GZ-HM340 Panasonic HDC-SD60/ TM55 / TM60 Sony Handycam HDR-CX110 / CX150
Sensor 2.4-megapixel CMOS 1.37-megapixel CMOS 3-megapixel CMOS 3-megapixel ExmorR CMOS
1/5.5 inch 1/5.8 inch 1/4.1 inch 1/4 inch
Lens 20x
f1.8-3.6
40 - 800mm (16:9)
20x
f1.8-3.5
46.4mm to 928mm (n/a)
25x
f1.8-3.3
35.7 - 893mm (16:9)
25x
f1.8-2.6
37 - 1075mm (16:9)
Image stabilization Electronic Electronic Optical Electronic
Min recommended illumination (lux) standard: 5.5
low light: 0.4
n/a standard: 1400
low light: 4
Color Night View: 1
standard: 11
low light: 3

EVF

No No No No
LCD 2.7-inch 211,000-dot 2.7-inch 123,000 dot 2.7-inch 230,400-dot 2.7-inch 230,000-dot touch screen
Primary media 0GB/8GB/32GB flash; SDHC 16GB built in; SDHC 0GB/8GB/16GB flash; SDXC None/16GB built in; SDHC
HD recording MPEG-4:
1080/60i @ 17 Mbps; 1440x1080/60i @ 12, 7, 5 Mbps
(all video interpolated up from 1664 x 936)
AVCHD: 1080/60i @ 24, 17, 12, 5 Mbps AVCHD:
1080/60i @ 17 , 13, 9 Mbps; 1440x1080/60i @ 5 Mbps
AVCHD:
1080/60i @ 24, 17Mbps; 1440x1080/60i @ 9,5 Mbps
Manual shutter speed and iris No No Yes No
Accessory shoe No No No No
Audio 2 channels;
mic, headphone jacks
2 channels 2 channels 2 channels
Body dimensions (WHD, inches) 2.4 x 2.5 x 4.9 2.1 x 2.4 x 4.4 2.0 x 2.6 x 4.4 2.0 x 2.3 x 4.3
Operating weight (ounces) 11.3 9 (est) 10.5 9.3
Mfr. price $499.99/$549.99/$699.99 $499.95 $499.95/$529.95/$499 $429.99/$499.99
Ship date March 2010 February 2010 March 2010 January 2010

A big photo button and zoom switch, plus the power switch, sit on top of the camcorder. The zoom has a nice feel, and it's fairly easy to maintain a steady rate.

Canon doesn't burden the comparatively low-resolution display with touch-screen operation, instead sticking with joystick-based navigation and a refreshingly easy-to-traverse menu system. The Func button on the bezel pulls up options for the camcorder's limited set of shooting capabilities. Exposure modes include Program; Cine, which adjusts gamma in conjunction with 24p shooting; and Portrait (wide aperture); there are no real manual exposure controls on this model. A fly up menu allows you to set a prerecord interval, adjust exposure compensation, manual focus, set mic level and enable face-detection autofocus.

I don't normally recommend opting for any model with built-in memory--it usually seems an unnecessary expense--so I think R100 is the best deal of the lot. However, given its resolution issues, the Vixia HF R series strikes me as being more of high-end standard-definition model than a low-end HD model. While people really do want cheaper HD, and there are some claims that many people can't really tell the difference between HD and SD, the whole thing simply doesn't feel right to me. If video quality on the cheap matters to you more than the features, check out Panasonic's competitors instead.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Optical Sensor Type CMOS
  • Type Built-in
  • Width 2.7 in
  • Depth 4.8 in
  • Height 2.4 in
  • Weight 11.3 oz
About The Author

Lori Grunin is a senior editor for CNET Reviews, covering cameras, camcorders, and related accessories. She's been writing about and reviewing consumer technology and software since 1988.