Canon Vixia HF R30 Camcorder Review
Handling & Portability
The outright design of the Canon HF R30 is small and simple. The camcorder feels good in your hand, its strap is more comfortable than what you normally see in this price range, and the body design is fairly unassuming. The touchscreen is of decent size (3 inches), but the resolution of the screen isn't great—and that makes everything look somewhat murky and unappealing while you're trying to frame your shots.
The menu system on the R30 is what really bothers us, as the basic design of the camcorder's body isn't too bad. But the menus are confusing and spread out into a variety of different locations, thus making it very difficult to find the setting you're looking for. Canon's new "home" button, which brings you to a main menu screen, is an interesting design implementation, but it's not handled well. We hate that the home button is hidden inside the LCD cavity, forcing you to turn the camcorder and find the button every time you want it pressed. Why not put it right on the touchscreen (or on the LCD panel) like every other menu button on the camcorder?
Poor battery life is the Canon HF R30's most glaring weakness, and the camcorder did such a bad job on this test that it shocked us. We like to see a consumer camcorder last for around two hours recording video at its highest quality setting... the Canon HF R30 lasted for just 43 minutes. That's about half the time the Canon HF R21 lasted in this test last year, and it's a third of the time that most entry-level camcorders go for. Luckily, Canon does sell larger battery packs for the R30 that should get you longer battery life. Maybe this is just Canon's subtle way of forcing you to buy a new battery for your camcorder, but if that's the reasoning behind this poor performance, then that's just cruel. More on how we test battery life.