Canon VIXIA HF R800 Camcorder 2020 Detailed Review.
Canon VIXIA HF R800 Camcorder: Now that or phones can take high quality, high definition video, fewer people are purchasing handheld camcorders. But for those in the know, a dedicated camera is still, by a large margin, the best way to get the near-production quality video without breaking the bank.
Most photographers know that Canon is a brand that you can trust to produce high-quality photographic equipment, and the HF R800 is the latest in an upper-midrange line of camcorders that come close to production quality but are available at a much more affordable price.
We’ll be taking a look at it to help you determine if it’s right for you. While we’re at it, we’ll give you a detailed overview of the features, and help you understand how it compares to others.
It’s been a while since we got to take a look at a high-end camcorder, so we opened the Canon VIXIA HF R800 like a kid on Christmas morning. If it’s been a while since you’ve used a camcorder, you’ll be as impressed as we were with the new styling.
The unit itself is shaped more like an elongated cylinder. It’s extremely compact and feels good in the hand. There is a very thin bezel on each side. The left side folds out into a large screen display, making it easy to see how your photos are being framed.
The right is, for the most part, reserved for the internal components. While you don’t see much from the outside, it’s these specialized components that make for one impressive camcorder.
Zoom & Image Stabilization
How “zoomed” in an image appears depends on the distance between the lens and the focal point. On this particular camcorder, 75mm is roughly equivalent to what the human eye sees. The larger this number, the more zoomed it is. When it’s zoomed out, this is known as a “wide-angle” field of vision.
It can go as low as 32.5mm. This is bordering on what they call a “fisheye” lens. It doesn’t quite give a 180-degree field of view, but you’re getting as close as you can before the image starts to distort.
The defining feature of any camcorder is how good the video looks. You could compare the HF R800 to any model made just a few years ago, and it would be one of the best on the market. Although there are many expensive specialty cameras reserved for people who need specific functions, the R800 still holds its own against many of them.
In ideal lighting conditions, the videos we took were good enough to put straight on a Blu-Ray disk. We found that they were extremely clear, with very little noise or distortion. When you consider that this is a 1080p camcorder, the image quality is almost surprisingly detailed.
Ease of Use
One of the things you’ll notice from looking at the R800 is that there are barely any controls on the unit. You’ve got the record button by your thumb, and the zoom trigger by your pointer finger.
But all other controls are managed from the 3” touchscreen display. There’s just one small menu button on the display, and from there you can access an entire plethora of controls.
One of our favorite functions is the highlight priority mode. This is an HDR-like feature that prevents any areas of your video from being blown out.
With a reduced loss of detail, more information is preserved. If you want to go for that high contrast look, this is very easy to do in post-processing. The end result is something that looks incredible on a bright LCD TV.
Storage & File Management
You’ll want an SD card to use with the R800. It supports SDHC cards with up to 128GB of space. At the highest quality setting, this will give you 8 hours of video. If you’re planning to upload your video to YouTube or share on the web, the highest quality settings are probably unnecessary.
Want to retain 1080p? You can also shoot your video at 17 Mbps, which will double your storage space to 16 hours of video. If you drop it down to 720p (the lowest quality setting available) you can get an incredible 69 hours of footage on a single card.
The R800 is certainly an impressive model, but it’s sold at an awkward price point. When you’re getting into this range, consumers tend to expect the best.
We would have liked to see 4K resolution, and an included SD card. Instead, Canon produced an excellent 1080p camera instead of an average 4K camera.
If you’re looking for a top-notch 1080p high-definition camcorder at a reasonable price point, you can’t go wrong with the Canon VIXIA HF R800. It’s designed for people who want to produce a professional-looking video without having to spend a long time learning the ropes.
The built-in image stabilization, color correction, and adjustment settings help to address the most common issues before they happen. For the most part, this is a “set and forget” type of camcorder where you can just point it at your subject, and shoot video that can last a lifetime.