Get the R400 or M500 from Canon? - AVS Forum
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Old 04-07-2013, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
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I can't seem to get any straight answers from Canon sales about the exact advantages to the R400 over the M500, besides zoom. Is there anyone who can explain the pros/cons to each model? I'm pretty much narrowed down to one of these two.

Thank you
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Old 04-07-2013, 02:31 PM
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The HF M500 has the HD CMOS Pro sensor - this is the same image sensor that is in their professional camcorders. This will yield the ability to get better low light and overall better image quality:

http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/standard_display/hd_cmos_pro


The R400 is an entry-level camcorder with a smaller sensor that will not have the advantages of a pro sensor.
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Old 04-07-2013, 04:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for that information, I didn't realize that, I only saw they both list 1920x1080. So you'd say if I was looking for the highest picture quality, I should stick with the M500?
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Old 04-07-2013, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonclovis View Post

Thank you for that information, I didn't realize that, I only saw they both list 1920x1080. So you'd say if I was looking for the highest picture quality, I should stick with the M500?

Between those two, yes, HF M500 will have better image quality and low light ability.
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Old 04-07-2013, 08:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks again for the reply. I was a bit confused by the two differences in these numbers, do they relate to quality?

m500 maxes out at:
24Mbps (1920 x 1080)

R400 maxes out at:
35Mbps (1920 x 1080)
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Old 04-07-2013, 09:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonclovis View Post

Thanks again for the reply. I was a bit confused by the two differences in these numbers, do they relate to quality?

m500 maxes out at:
24Mbps (1920 x 1080)

R400 maxes out at:
35Mbps (1920 x 1080)

The R400 also does 60p / 60 progressive frames per second and higher bit rate can help the quality (Mbps),

But I think the inferior sensor will kill any advantages on the specs sheet. I guess I should add "IMO", if anyone else wants to chime in.
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Old 04-07-2013, 09:48 PM
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Like mentioned above the sensor in the M500 is larger give it a better Low Light sensitivity . Actually you can compare the two at Canon with the compare listing :

http://consumer.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/camcorders/consumer_camcorders?pageKeyCode=65&category=0901e02480061144&compare=0901e02480417eb6&compare=0901e024807599f0

I have the M50 and the only advantage of the M50 over the M500 is the built in 8-gig HDD . I use a 32-gig card with it also so that when i'm vacationing I have more than enough room to spare . I'm not a pro but I do like a quality camcorder and the M50 suites me fine . If your budget and don't mind a couple trade offs the R400 might just suite you fine but the M500 is quite a few steps above the R400 . You can still make great scenes with either one depending your intelligence in editing . When taking a great movie half is taking the shot and the other half is in the editing .
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Old 04-07-2013, 11:03 PM
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I can see how this can be a hard choice. on the M500 side, you have a far larger chip and much better low light abilities but on the R400's side, you have 1080 60p. In broad daylight, if I were to take a guess, I'd probably give the edge to the R400 when in comes to overall video quality. Granted the M500 should give you better dynamic range. Plus the R400 is newer so the stabilizer might be better. Personally, I wouldn't want to choose between the 2, Yes, I might not be much help in this situation.
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:34 AM
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Registered to chime in - I'm struggling with the same purchase conundrum (you're not alone)!

I've come to many of the same conclusions already in this thread, but as this is my first camcorder, I'm struggling to weigh the tradeoffs:
  • Is the expected difference in low-light performance offset by gaining 1080p with the R400 lineup? I expect the majority of my shots will be indoors but it's hard to weigh the impact. Purportedly this is the same sensor as the previous R300 lineup hardware-wise, but Canon's marketing literature repeatedly cites improvements to their processor which improve low-light performance... Is the gap between the model lines still substantial?
  • For recording formats, the M500 family is more limited in its mpeg-4/MP4 recording options, with the R400 capable of generating 1080p @ 35 Mbps MP4... but this might be a moot point if I only end up shooting in AVCHD regardless (not sure how much of a hassle that works out to be).

Seems to boil down to those questions for me, which are both at least partially subjective/personal and can't be answered by lab tests. I tried to get some hands-on time with the R400 lineup this weekend, but my local big-box did not have them unboxed and on display as of yet.
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Old 04-08-2013, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonclovis View Post

So you'd say if I was looking for the highest picture quality, I should stick with the M500?
Have you studied actual sample videos from each camera on Youtube and Vimeo? It might well turn out the M500 has superior image quality even if it's techno-geek specs suggest it should be inferior. My Olympus E-M5 camera outputs video data at 30fps, which it interpolates into 1080/60i and 720/60i footage with a bitrate of only 20Mbps but it's footage is substantially sharper, more detailed and richly colored than my Panasonic LX7 that has "top grade specs" of 1080p60p, a superior bitrate of 28 Mbps and a super sharp and fast Leica f 1.8 lens.

So I have learned not to let myself be seduced by "premium grade specs", both in regard to video cameras as well as still cameras; e.g. my $200 Olympus E-PL1 shoots sharper still photos than my $1100 Olympus E-M5 even though the E-PL1 has a smaller sensor.
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Old 04-15-2013, 09:06 AM
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Circling back to update:

After much deliberation I've put my money down on the m500.

While there remains precious little in the way of objective comparisons, lab tests, or any other material that doesn't amount to a marketing/PR release for the R400 family, I think the m500 is the right call.

First, educating myself further on the topic, I've come to learn stats like Mbps are meaningless in comparison between two different cameras, for EXACTLY the same reason megapixels are meaningless in comparison for still cameras. Higher Mbps for any given compression method has no direct bearing on the quality of the final product. The quality of the hardware (lensing, sensors, processors) have a much more direct impact.

On sensors: Since the R400 family uses the same sensors as the previous iteration (R300 family), we can make the assumption the R400 will have similar pitfalls to the R300 series relative to the M500 in low light scenarios. There are multiple accounts (on amazon among other places) of folks trying the R300 series only to be unhappy and upgrade to the M500 series due to image quality issues.

On 1080p: I think this stat is the only legitimate reason one would opt for the r400 (besides price), but I think most folks (myself included) would prefer a 720p image with better quality/clarity to a 1080p video that in comparison looks grainier/fuzzier. Further, for situations where interlacing isn't such a big deal (I'll have to learn where the line is drawn), the actual end-user footage of the m500 available on youtube/vimeo, per SD90's suggestion (thanks!), really helps seal the deal - folks using the m500 with either 720p or 1080i are achieving STELLAR results. This tells me the camera can do what I'm looking for, I just need to develop the skill sets to use it properly!
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Old 04-15-2013, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SD90 View Post

My Olympus E-M5 camera outputs video data at 30fps, which it interpolates into 1080/60i and 720/60i footage with a bitrate of only 20Mbps but it's footage is substantially sharper, more detailed and richly colored than my Panasonic LX7 that has "top grade specs" of 1080p60p, a superior bitrate of 28 Mbps and a super sharp and fast Leica f 1.8 lens.
I don't think it interpolates anything, it just stores 30fps in 60i or 60p stream, PsF in the first case and double-frame in the second.

P.S. You keep referring to 720p mode as 60i, but there is no interlaced 720-line mode. It is 60p.
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Old 04-27-2013, 09:53 PM
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I took a memory card and my old Vixia HF R200 into the Camera Store and did a quick sample to see if the upgrade was worth it. I can tell you I was not impressed with the image from the supposedly "Pro CMOS" sensor in the M500. The old camera, although it had a bit more noise, had a more realistic image and handled changes in lighting better.

If anyone is interested I can post the clips on Youtube. I would be interested in hearing others opinion.

Here are the youtube clips. I will post on Vimeo also:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwnKtDYd7Zc&feature=youtu.be

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lV7MkmAYkaE&feature=youtu.be

See how the 2 cameras handle the pan past the neon sign. To me it's not clear that the M500 will give a better image than the R400. I am leaning to the R400 for my next purchase.
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Old 05-05-2013, 12:07 PM
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Tyvm for the youtube videos!! yes indeed by what i can see there R400 is the choice for me 2
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