With all the hype with today’s smartphones with full HD video recording capability, there’s still the need for dedicated video camera. We recently took the Canon Vixia HF R40 for a spin. Check our full review after the break.
Announced back in CES 2013, the Vixia HF R40 is an update to last year’s model. Bringing in some new goodies like a DIGIC IV image processor, 35Mbps AVCHD recording and full HD 1080p at 60 frames per second. It also has 8GB of internal memory, built-in WiFi, optical stabilization, and simultaneous video format recording.
What’s In The Box?
Right out the box, aside from the unit itself, Canon included an HDMI cable with is nifty along with the usual suspects like the mini USB cable, charger, manuals, battery and a CD. There is no SD card included but you can shoot right away with its 8GB internal memory.
Design and Construction
The Vixia HF R40 does not differ much in terms of design from its predecessor or even other camcorders out there. It is sleek and suitable for long hours of video recording. It has its usual controls and adds a 3-inch touch screen for ease of use.
Since it is made out of polycarbonate material, the Vixia HF R40 is lightweight, making it comfortable to use for long periods of time. It feels solid with some creaking but nevertheless, still ergonomic. The usual zoom lever and the record button are within reach and can be used with a single-handed operation.
At the front, we have the Canon HD Video Lens that is capable of 32x optical zoom and the stereo microphones. On the right is swiveling screen, while on the left is the adjustable strap and the DC port for charging. At the back we find the battery, the record button and two LED indicators for power/charge and access (reading).
On top we have zoom lever that you will push right to zoom out and pull left to zoom in while recording as well as the speaker. Nothing interesting at the bottom, just a hole for the tripod, some certifications and numbers.
Once you flip the screen, the 3-inch touch panel will greet you. Within the panel are the power button, the playback button, the microphone jack, headset/AV-out jack, the HDMI and the micro-USB port. Hiding behind a cover is the SD card slot capable of supporting SDXC up to 64GB.
Screen and UI
The 3-inch screen is touch-enabled, giving you more control on the device. Honestly, the screen is nothing to write home about but it gets the job done. Colors look a bit dull and the resolution is low, but for an affordable device like this, it’s not a real deal-breaker. Viewing angles are also limited but you can tilt the screen so it’s not a big problem. It should give you a decent preview of what you are shooting, and also a quick playback. Under direct sunlight, the screen tends to have a bluish tint but images are still viewable.
Paired with a simple touch-friendly icon-based interface, you should be able to tweak your video using the screen with less hassle. That means you’ll be able to do what you desire with a few mis-strokes and eureka moments. Over-all, the screen is quite responsive.
The Vixia HF R40 delivers above average quality footage in broad daylight but suffers from a great amount of noise in low-light situations which is quite reasonable. Nevertheless, it is enjoyable to use thanks to its really handy OIS feature that does its job quite well. You’ll definite prefer to document your memorable moments with this instead of a capable smartphone.
Here is a sample during a typical Manila morning recorded with Auto mode in AVCHD at highest quality setting.
Aside from basic recording, the camcorder also has cinema-look filters that adds a nice touch for creative recording, some scene modes for specific setting in a certain situation, a baby mode for keeping track of your baby’s growth, and some stamps and pen editing of you feel the need to play with your captured moments.
Also, a dual-recording mode is available. It records in both format: AVCHD and MP4.
It’s a camcorder, but it could also take some photos with resolutions of up to 1920×1080 which is the same as the videos. It’s not good for a quality photo but it’s there, and you might find in handy sometimes.
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Battery life was so-so for this. You’ll get around an hour or so of continuous recording per full charge. And the battery takes a long time charging using the camcorder. So having a larger battery which is an optional accessory is something to consider.
After spending some time the Vixia HF R40. Using it to goof around, play with the effects, capture funny and special moments, and to observe what’s around you, it is a good camcorder all in all. With a decent specifications, decent performance, decent features and a decent price, it’s a bang for your buck.
3-inch 230,000 dots Touch-screen LCD TFT
1/4.85-in CMOS 3.2MP sensor
DIGIC IV Image Processor
F/1.8-4.5 with 32x optical zoom (2.8mm-89.6mm) and 53x advanced zoom
Optical Image Stabilization
8GB internal memory, expandable via SDXC up to 64GB
1920×1080 still image recording
AVCHD 1080p/60p with Dolby Digital 2ch
35 Mbps MP4 1080p with stereo AAC-LC
3.5mm Microphone jack
Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz 802.11b/g/n
Dimensions: 53 x 57 x 116 mm
Weight: (Body only) 235grams
What we liked about it:
* Above average daylight performance
* Exceptional OIS
* Dual-recording mode
What we did not like:
* Mediocre low-light performance
* Short battery life
Canon Vixia HF R40 currently retails at P24,998.00.