Canon Vixia HF R30 Camcorder Review
Low Light Performance
Low Light Sensitivity
Sensitivity was one of the strong points of the Canon HF R30, with the camcorder needing very little light—around six lux—to produce an image good enough for broadcast. Without using any optical zoom, the camcorder required just four lux to reach the same levels, which is another top-notch performance. But all this means is the Canon is capable of producing a bright image without much light. This doesn't meant he image captured in these situations looks any good. The Canon's low light images are blurred, noisy, and certainly can't be called "high-quality". If you want better overall low light performance, you simply have to spend a bit more money and upgrade to a mid-range unit instead of an entry-level model like the HF R30. More on how we test low light sensitivity.
Low Light Noise
The Canon HF R30 had some very big problems with noise in low light. The camcorder averaged 1.8% noise in our low light test, a result that is a bit worse than the Canon HF R21 measured on this test last year. It's also worse than most of the competition in this price range, including the Panasonic HC-V500 and the Sony HDR-CX210. But all entry-level camcorders struggle in low light, so we can't say the HF R30's image looks all that much worse than the competition overall. It's just that the Canon's video looks very noisy in comparison. Check out the comparison crops on this page for a better idea of what we're talking about. More on how we test low light noise.
Low Light Color
We weren't crazy about the Canon HF R30's colors in bright light, but our tests still gave the camcorder a passing grade. In low light, however, the camcorder's color accuracy dropped a lot, and we found the colors looked murky, pale, and unpleasing in our tests. First of all, the color error measured in the R30's low light video was a high 5.0, which is worse than all the models we compared it to (including last year's Canon HF R21). The Canon's saturation level was 63%, which is also a score we don't like, but it isn't much different than the levels we saw from the Panasonic HC-V500 or the Canon HF R21. If strong colors in low light are what you're looking for, then check out the Sony HDR-CX210—it simply rocked in our low light color tests (warning: it didn't do well in many other categories). More on how we test low light color.