Canon Vixia HF R30 Camcorder Review
The Canon HF R30 is one of the best budget camcorders we've reviewed this year. As with most cheap models, however, the R30 comes with a fairly substantial list of weaknesses, most blatant of which is the camcorder's horrid battery life. Canon's provided battery pack lasted for less than 45 minutes in our test, which means you'll be lucky to make it to halftime of recording your nephew's football game before you have to recharge.
Poor battery life aside, the Canon Vixia HF R30 also struggled in our low light performance tests. Videos looked bland and noisy when we shot in less-than-ideal lighting conditions, but in bright light the Canon handled itself fairly well. Colors were more accurate than many models in the same price range, and the HF R30's set of three frame rate options are unique for a camcorder that costs less than $500. Basically, this camcorder performed better than average for a budget model, but its videos didn't look nearly as good as a high-end or mid-range camcorder would be capable of.
Canon did equip the HF R30 with a robust set of controls and features for a budget model, including a good set of automatic controls, a few basic manual controls, a 32x optical zoom lens, and 8GB of internal flash memory. Unfortunately, Canon's biggest new feature—built-in WiFi—was a bust. The function was too difficult to setup and its features were too limited, leaving us more frustrated than impressed.
Canon didn't make any bad camcorders this year, but its new Vixia models didn't blow us away either. The HF R30 should have performed significantly better than last year's HF R20, but it didn't. And that leaves us with a bad taste in our mouth. Don't get us wrong, the HF R30 is a fine camcorder for the price, but we expected more improvement from Canon.