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Hey! You should know that Canon has released a newer version of this product: the Canon Vixia HF R20.

Canon Vixia HF R10

Canon Vixia HF R10:
Hands On Review

By Christopher C. Odom

Last updated on 01/18/2013

The Canon HF-R10 packs a mean punch. It literally has everything you could ask for in a high definition camcorder for just under $500, so I'm giving it an A.


Video Quality

The video quality is excellent. Having had previous positive experiences with Canon video cameras, I chose the challenge of lensing a small model airplane in flight for my test footage. The images that I was able to capture, while casually playing with the camera, are absolutely stunning, for a handheld consumer video camera. With other lower-end video cameras that utilize the AVCHD / H.264 MPEG-4 codec, there is usually unfavorable pixelation and artifacts. However, there is no significant amount of image degradation because of compression issues with the HF-R10

Low-Light Video Quality

Both the auto and manual exposure settings had a very high curve in both dark and bright settings. The low-light capabilities are actually better on smaller cameras like this than on larger, more expensive models. The HF-R10 performs well in low-light situations without exception.

Ease of Use

For the average user, this is dead simple. You can flip open the LCD screen, and push a giant button on the body of the camera that reads AUTO. It doesn't get any easier than that! In terms of practicality, being a smaller camera, there is some camera shake, but the Vixia offers a slightly larger lens than the average video camera, which helps eliminate some of the camera shake, as does the optical the image stabilization.

For the prosumer user who wants to shoot in manual mode, the additional features and controls were accessible within reason. Finding the right speed on the variable-speed zoom takes some time to get used to, but it's only a matter of practice. I was excited that HF-R10 has manual controls for focus and audio levels, however, it is a little clunky to operate, as can be expected with any model in this price range. Although the camera lacks an external focus wheel, it does have an enhanced focus mode with an extremely large curve for locking focus.

Special Features

This camera has plenty of interesting features for the average user and video enthusiast alike. What some shoppers might overlook is the fact that this camera has a 20x optical zoom. That means you can make an object appear twenty times closer and it will still be crystal clear. Some consumer cameras have a very short optical focal length and an extended digital focal zoom. The digital zoom will always significantly degrade the image quality. While shooting my test footage, I was still able to zoom in on a model airplane flying in the sky, full frame, crystal clear. Although I would never use it, this camera does have a 400x digital zoom, as well. Can you say, paparazzi?

I was very impressed by the instant auto focus (IAF). Professional camera persons never use auto focus, because it is slow to focus, and tends to never focus on what you want in focus. The advent of face detection technology (which this video camera does have) coupled with instant auto focus allows the HF-R10 to make rapid focus-changes automatically, even on a speeding model airplane captured at full zoom in the bright daylight sky.

For the prosumer user, the camera has everything you need to squeeze professional work out of this consumer camera: 1920 x 1080p resolution, 24 frame mode, cinema mode color and contrast cures, manual focus, manual audio levels, and an external microphone jack.

In addition to a slot for an SD/SDHC memory card, there's a generous 8GB of internal flash memory drive, which is plenty of room. I was shooting my test footage in 1080p/24 fps mode and still did not use even half of the video camera’s internal memory. (Also available are the HF-R11, which comes with a whopping 32GB of flash memory and a memory card slot, and the HF-R100, which captures to a card only. All three HF-R-series camcorders are otherwise indentical.)

Audio Quality

The Dolby Digital Stereo audio quality is pristine. I was equally excited to be able to adjust the audio levels manually, as I was by the Canon Vixia HF-R10’s ability to adjust the levels for me.

Transferring Video

To get your media from the camera to your computer, you simply plug it into the USB port, select computer on your LCD screen, and then you’ll have access to your media. However on a MAC, you’ll have to either import the footage into iMovie, or use “Log and Transfer” in Final Cut Pro. If you’re interested in editing the footage on a MAC, both iMovie and Final Cut Pro transcode the footage into a format that is immediately editable once imported or transferred.


The Canon Vixia HF-R10 is definitely at the top of the food chain in its category of low-cost consumer video cameras. The camera is very accessible for average point-and-shoot users and video enthusiasts alike. If you’re looking for a video camera under $500, the HF-R10 comes highly recommended.

Canon Vixia HF R10 Reviews

Canon Vixia HF R10 Reviews by Camcorder HQ Users

  • 1.0 out of 5
Image quality is horrible (Michael Stephens — 11/04/2010)
I purchased this camera thinking that since it’s a Canon and it uses a CMOS image sensor instead of CCD technology that the quality of the video would at least be decent. I wasn’t expecting the pristine quality that you would get from a high-end professional level camera, but that I would at least have video quality that was fairly clean. What I found is that the image quality from this camera is horrid. The video is grainy and has discoloration, blurry edges, and white specs that frequently appear throughout the video. The image looks great on the small attached LCD screen, but when the video is transferred to a computer you can really see the how poor the video quality actually is. This image frame, which was captured using the camera’s highest quality settings, shows what the quality of a decently lit video looks like when viewed at full resolution, I've watched the video review on this site and read the text review and I'm not seeing the same quality of video that the review was speaking of.
  • 4.0 out of 5
Good Camcorder for the money (JeffP — 11/01/2010)
The Canon HF R10 is an excellent camcorder for the money. You will not find too many camcorders the have mic and headphone inputs in this price range. PQ is very nice, IS works well, The buttons on the body itself are flat and alittle hard to find without looking. If you have big hands like me you cannot fit your hand thru the grip. My favorite mode is Cine 24P. Auto works well. The custon WB is off with either a green or blue tint. Zoom levels are great. Overall I would purchase again.
  • 5.0 out of 5
Excellent camera (Various_Authors — 08/11/2010)
I've had this camera for 2 days and I love it. Clattering noise? Bad autofocus? You must have a defective camera. This camera is great and the PQ is awesome. Also I did not need to install the included software in order to download the files to my PC. Just follow the instructions and a dialog box opens and asks if you want to download files or folders. The files download to a folder of your choosing, in .MTS format, which I can open with no problem in both After Effects and Sony Vegas 9. Check out two videos I've already shot since I got the camera yesterday.
  • 1.0 out of 5
canon must be overrated (camille rich — 06/15/2010)
Shake and autofocus both extremely terrible! This occured on video after video could not even stand to watch Also, Pixela software makes you use their software only (what come in box) They then make their own file. You cannot batch files you have to batch one by one into a MOV. file etc. Ridiculous and sneaky on canons part