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Canon releases six Vixia HF camcorder models

By dpreview staff on Jan 9, 2012 at 14:00 GMT

Pre-CES: Canon has updated its camcorder range with three M-series and three R-series Vixia HF models. The more advanced M-series cameras feature an enhanced version of the HD CMOS Pro chip used in last year's models and share a 10x optical zoom lens. The Vixia HF M52 and M50 feature DNLA-compliant Wi-Fi connectivity along with 32Gb and 8Gb of internal memory, respectively. The less expensive M500 misses out on both features.

The R-series models follow a similar pattern, with the R32 and R30 offering Wi-Fi capability and 32Gb and 8Gb of memory, with an R300 model stripping out both. The R-series models have smaller sensors, allowing a 32x optical zoom. There will also be an optional waterproof case for the M-series models. 

Press Release:


Features Include a Newly Designed HD CMOS Pro Image Sensor to Improve Resolution, Enhance Low-Light Performance and Expand Dynamic Range

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., January 9, 2012 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced a new line of six VIXIA High Definition flash memory camcorders – three compact VIXIA HF M-series models and three entry-level VIXIA HF R-series models – for 2012. Focusing on the social network experience, Canon has enhanced select models with Wi-Fi connectivity, the option to capture videos in MP4 or AVCHD file format and full Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) compatibility, unleashing on-the-spot creative video sharing and still-image uploads. The MP4 file format option helps make content easier to share across mobile devices and to social networks online, while DLNA connectivity allows wireless transmission of videos to DLNA-compatible HDTVs. Encouraging users to shoot and share, the Canon VIXIA HF M52*, VIXIA HF M50*, VIXIA HF R32* and VIXIA HF R30* models have the ability to upload videos directly to social media sites such as YouTube and Facebook over a Wi-Fi network, or to mobile devices such as an iPhone or iPad[i] utilizing a free Movie Uploader app.

“Imaging devices are a key component of the interactive social experience, therefore, they must connect,” said Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Imaging Technologies and Communications Group, Canon U.S.A. “We are excited to include Wi-Fi connectivity and DLNA technology, among other new features, in our new VIXIA models that will allow consumers to easily share high-quality videos with friends and families."

Canon has included a range of features and functions to help users capture stunning video to share including improved low-light image capture, a new Intelligent Image Stabilization (IS) system and the ability to capture MP4 video recordings. Canon has included dual codec recording, giving users the option to record in AVCHD, for the highest quality viewing on an HDTV, or in MP4 format, for easy sharing with mobile devices or social networks. The new 2012 VIXIA models feature a 20 percent improvement in low-light performance compared to previous models as a result of enhancements made to Canon’s HD CMOS Pro Image Sensor. The sensor boasts a minimum illumination rating of 1.2 lux, Canon’s lowest lux rating to date in a consumer HD camcorder.[ii] Another enhancement to select models in Canon’s 2012 VIXIA lineup is the ability to export content directly to an external hard-disc drive through an optional USB adapter[iii] for simple file sharing and archiving without the need of a computer.

Advanced Technologies and Features:

  • Share and view videos via Wi-Fi: Select models of the VIXIA HF M- and R-series camcorders include the ability to share, view and store videos wirelessly, including the ability to upload videos directly to YouTube and Facebook:
    • Share: When connected to a Wi-Fi network, videos can be uploaded directly to YouTube or Facebook. When on the go, use an iPhone or iPad and free Movie Uploader app to connect a VIXIA camcorder to a cellular network to enable video uploads.
    • Watch and Store: Select 2012 VIXIA camcorders allow users to wirelessly transmit videos to a PC for storage, an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch through a free Movie Uploader app enabling quick storage on these mobile devices, or on-the-spot playback for friends and family. Users can also enjoy wirelessly viewing on a DLNA-compatible HDTV or through other DLNA-compatible devices such a game console.
  • Audio Scene Select: The Canon VIXIA HF M-series is equipped with a new Audio Scene Select menu that streamlines the selection of custom audio selection. Users select the environment that is being captured – a musical performance, a speech, a forest – and the camcorder will automatically adjust settings, including microphone directionality, frequency response, wind screen, volume level and microphone attenuator. While users will still be given the option to make these adjustments manually, the new audio settings menu makes the optimization of the audio levels quick and easy for casual users.
  • Export to External Hard Drive: Consumers are starting to use external storage devices more and more to supplement limited amounts of memory on laptops. Select models of Canon VIXIA camcorders allow a direct transfer of video content from the camcorder to an external storage device, a process which historically required a computer as a conduit. Data transfers from the VIXIA camcorder to an external hard drive are accomplished through an optional USB adapter.
  • Intelligent IS System: Canon has enhanced its Image Stabilization (IS) system, which automatically detects the needs of the situation being captured. The new Intelligent IS system will change intuitively through one of four IS modes – Dynamic, Powered, Macro and Tripod – so that the user has fewer things to worry about while shooting video. When the record button is pressed and the subject is walking, the Intelligent IS system will employ Dynamic stabilization to help reduce camera shake automatically. However, if the subject is detected to be very close to the camcorder, Macro (or Hybrid) stabilization will activate to counter shift camera shake; if the subject is far from the camcorder at extreme telephoto distances, Powered IS will activate to help counter slow, large-scale camcorder shake.

Popular VIXIA Features:

The 2012 VIXIA lineup retains many popular features that make it easy to record outstanding HD video, such as Canon’s Smart AUTO mode that intelligently detects and analyzes brightness, color, distance and movement to automatically select the best of 38 available pre-set setting selections for the scene being recorded.  Canon’s Touch & Track feature allows users to select any subject on the Touch Panel LCD screen with their finger, which the camcorder will then track to ensure sharp focus and proper exposure. The camcorders also include built-in Cinema-Look Filters that give the look of a variety of cinematic styles by compensating for the color, gamma and other aspects of the image’s quality. Select 2012 VIXIA models have Relay Recording for seamless uninterrupted video recording from one memory source to the next.  When the primary recording media is full, the camcorder continues to record the scene by switching to the next memory source, so that users won’t miss a moment of action.

As an integrated part of Canon’s Intelligent IS, the Powered IS feature provides a higher level of compensation for subtle hand movement at the telephoto end of the zoom range. In addition, all VIXIA camcorders with built-in memory feature HD-to-SD Downconversion, which enables users to convert recorded high-definition video to standard-definition files while preserving the original HD footage. These down-converted files make it even more convenient to share video online or create a DVD.  Each new model is also compatible with Eye-Fi SD Memory Cards, allowing for wireless uploading of video content to a computer, social networking site or video sharing website. 

VIXIA HF M-series

The Canon VIXIA HF M52*, VIXIA HF M50* and VIXIA HF M500* Flash Memory camcorders offer consumers stunning HD video in an ultra-sleek, compact and lightweight body, now 15 percent smaller when compared to 2011 M-Series models. Recording Full HD 1920 x 1080 video, the VIXIA HF M-series features a Genuine Canon 10x HD Video Lens and Canon’s enhanced HD CMOS Pro Image Sensor for high video resolution, outstanding low-light performance and a wide dynamic range.

All three models include Canon’s newly designed Flat Touch Panel 3.0-inch LCD screen for a large display and an improved menu system and button layout, and now also record in MP4 file format to make content easier to share across mobile devices and online social networks. The VIXIA HF M52 and VIXIA HF M50 incorporate 32GB and 8GB of internal flash memory, respectively, and feature HD-to-SD Downconversion. They also include Wi-Fi connectivity, which enables the ability to upload videos wirelessly to YouTube and Facebook through use of an iPad or iPhone app. The models also include DLNA connectivity which enables wireless access to a DLNA-compatible device.  The VIXIA HF M500 records directly to a SDXC-compatible card slot. The new VIXIA HF M-series is also compatible with the new Canon WP-V4 Waterproof Case, great for vacations, underwater videography, or any wet conditions. The VIXIA HF M52, VIXIA HF M50 and VIXIA HF M500 Flash Memory camcorders are scheduled to be available in March for an estimated retail price of $749.99, $649.99 and $549.99, respectively. 

VIXIA HF R-series

The Canon VIXIA HF R32*, VIXIA HF R30* and VIXIA HF R300* Flash Memory camcorders offer the ideal combination of price and performance for the budget-conscious consumer who doesn’t want to sacrifice on features such as Full HD 1920 x 1080 video. All three models, which are 21 percent smaller when compared with the R-series models from 2011, include a Genuine Canon HD Video Lens with 51x Advanced Zoom, 3.28-megapixel Canon Full HD CMOS Image Sensor, a 3.0-inch full-flat Touch Panel LCD screen, Touch Decoration, Smart AUTO and Advanced Video Snapshot.  New for the 2012 R-series lineup, all three models feature Canon’s Intelligent IS with Optical Image Stabilization allowing the camcorders to automatically switch between stabilization modes for optimal image quality while recording. All three models feature MP4 file format recording while both the VIXIA HF R32 and VIXIA HF R30 include Canon’s Relay Recording, HD-to-SD Downconversion and Wi-Fi uploading capabilities. The VIXIA HF R32 and VIXIA HF R30 models incorporate 32GB and 8GB of internal flash memory, respectively, and the VIXIA HF R300 records directly to a SDXC-compatible memory card slot. The VIXIA HF R32, VIXIA HF R30 and VIXIA HF R300 Flash Memory camcorders are expected to be available in March for an estimated retail price of $549.99, $449.99 and $349.99, respectively.

New Optional Camcorder Accessories

The new Canon WP-V4 Waterproof Case helps protect any of the 2012 VIXIA HF M-series camcorders in depths of water up to 130 feet, allowing users to capture exciting HD footage even underwater.  This compact and lightweight housing seals the camcorder, allowing easy on-camera operation and control for all water sports activities such as scuba diving and whitewater rafting.  The Canon WP-V4 Waterproof Case is expected to be available in March for an estimated retail price of $549.

[i] Users can transmit wirelessly MP4, AVCHD and MPEG2 files to Facebook and YouTube via an iPad or iPhone on a wireless network. When connected to a wireless network such as one in a home or internet hotspot, users can upload AVCHD and MPEG2 files to Facebook and YouTube via a personal computer, or MP4 files via Wi-Fi connection directly to Facebook, YouTube, Canon Image Gateway, Twitter or via email. Wi-Fi connectivity is available on the Canon VIXIA HF M52, VIXIA HF M50, VIXIA HF R32 and VIXIA HF R30 camcorders.

[ii] At 1/30 second in slow shutter mode

[iii] Optional UA-100 USB adapter sold separately. The function is available on the Canon VIXIA HF M52, VIXIA HF M50, VIXIA HF R32 and VIXIA HF R30 devices.


Total comments: 10
Michael Kearney
By Michael Kearney (Jan 10, 2012)

What I find most interesting is that Canon is not upgrading their flagship camcorder, the G10, instead allowing to to sit tight for perhaps another year. I'm curious as to what's led to that decision.

By photogerald (Jan 10, 2012)

@vfk - the battery mounts at the back of the camcorder (same as last year's M-series) so you will be able to use a larger capacity battery, but it appears that now the battery will stick out the back regardless of which battery you use. I suppose this is the tradeoff of reducing the size of the body by 15%.

By photogerald (Jan 10, 2012)

@marike6 - if you purchased your M41 less than a month ago, then you probably got it at a large discount. Most US retailers were selling it for $399, which is $300 off the regular price. This was your "heads-up" that a new model was on the way.

By Lundy (Jan 9, 2012)

With this weak feature set, compariative to vDSLR, cell phones, P&S, it's almost like the are tring to run this market segment into the ground themselves.

1 upvote
Dennis Linden
By Dennis Linden (Jan 9, 2012)

I picked up an M40 on clear-out anticipating this new model. I used the camera extensively in low light last week. It's good for the price. I was a bit disappointed that the P mode is actually Pf - or I like to say fake P. It is derived from 60i. If you are shooting sports in high contrast situations a 30P or 60P is pretty darned useful. This deficit can be overcome by taking over manual control and use Tv modes. When watched on a new LED monitor, the output is very nice indeed.

I think what we are all looking for is not available. I would like to see the 1/3" sensor in this camera with a 20x zoom lens - 20-24mm equiv at the wide end. True 30 or 60P. built in ND filters, external microphone and headphone jacks with a lot more manual controls for about $500 USD.... Sorry, what I am asking for still costs $3000 - $5000.

So, what these cameras will do is take great HD video of travel family and special events.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
By mugupo (Jan 9, 2012)

That is a weak move by Canon, their last year camcorder wasn't among worst they had for many years. Yet they didn't really add anything new and keep the same sensor? I like the video quality from last year hm40, but with no extra function the very short zoom lens, and doesn't zoom that fast for that distance. low color lcd, for the price just get the sx40, far better for the money.

1 upvote
By Lupti (Jan 9, 2012)

Seriously, Canon must be kidding. Still no 1080p50/60, even last year P&S cameras feauture this, but not Canons new camcorders, they have instead silly gimmickry like WiFi. And again rip-off for just a little internal memory.
If Canon continues it´s way on the video market there will be a rude awakening one day. They are already behind competition, nearly all reviews critizised the lack of true FullHD in their last years camcorder line up, but it seems that Canon does not bother.

By vfk (Jan 9, 2012)

One question I have is the battery location. I noticed some Canon camcorders have "bottom loading" batteries. While it makes the camcorder smaller, you cannot stick an oversized extended battery there.

Also with the wifi.... how does it affect battery life? Those of use with Eye-fi know what I'm talking about.

Joe Ogiba
By Joe Ogiba (Jan 9, 2012)

What is up with Full HD ? Everything has Full HD today including the iPhone 4 S. Show me a Canon with 1080p60. I guess I will be using my Panasonic TM700 3MOS 1080p60 camcorder and GH2 for many more years.

By marike6 (Jan 9, 2012)

I had a feeling this was coming when I saw the Vixia (Legria) HF-M41 was discontinued on B&H's website. Not even one month has passed since I bought my M41, and now this!!! That's the way it goes, I guess, but sometimes I wish retailers would give us a heads-up on upcoming new models, and the discontinuing of "old" models. Anyway, since I bought a GH2, I haven't used the Canon once.

Total comments: 10