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Canon Vixia HF M41 image samples

The Canon Vixia HF M4xx series, which includes the M41, M40, and M400, delivers the high-quality video you'd expect for the price.

Lori Grunin
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Lori Grunin
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1 of 6 Lori Grunin/CNET

Sharpness

Overall, the M4xx series' video looks relatively sharp--and looks even better played directly on a TV, like most of its competitors. There is some aliasing on edges, generally a result of the interlaced video format. (frame grab)
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2 of 6 Lori Grunin/CNET

Distortion

I don't normally shoot a distortion shot for camcorders, though I'll probably start now; given how narrow the lens at its shortest focal length (43mm), I was surprised by the amount of barrel distortion there is. (frame grab)
34468173_SIC5_540-grab.jpg
3 of 6 Lori Grunin/CNET

Low-light quality

The camcorder's low-light video looks quite good; a little soft, but with a nice balance between sharpness and color saturation and accuracy in its noise reduction. (frame grab)
34468173_SIC2_540-grab.jpg
4 of 6 Lori Grunin/CNET

Color and exposure

Overall, the camcorder's exposure and color rendering look very good, with a broad tonal range--there's no excessive clipping in the highlights or shadows. (frame grab)
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5 of 6 Lori Grunin/CNET

Color

This is just an example of the color processing difference between video and stills. Note how the saturation is pumped up for the stills.
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6 of 6 Lori Grunin/CNET

Bokeh

Though the M4xx series uses the same sensor as the more expensive HF G10, the lenses are very different, and it shows in a variety of ways. In this case, the more pentagonal aperture renders less pleasing out-of-focus highlights. Because the camcorder was stopped down to its smallest aperture it emphasizes the effect. (Frame grab)

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