Looking for cheap but decent camcorders. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 08-01-2013, 07:06 PM - Thread Starter
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At this point I am going to be buying about 6 camcorders for the classroom to be able to send home with students to do scheduled assignments they will be working on for the year. I don't want anything expensive because of how they will be used. I do want something that does have decent quality though. I don't know if that can be had with a camcorder at $400 or less. Preferably less than $400 would be the best and $300 would be a good number to go with. I have been reading and at different reviews but want to hear from the real experts on these things. Thanks.
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post #2 of 10 Old 08-01-2013, 09:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Is there anything better than the Canon Vixia HF R400 for the price point it is at? Is the Canon HFR40 virtually the same camera only with wifi?
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post #3 of 10 Old 08-01-2013, 10:18 PM
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wifi and internal memory
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post #4 of 10 Old 08-02-2013, 03:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ingeborgdot View Post

Is there anything better than the Canon Vixia HF R400 for the price point it is at? Is the Canon HFR40 virtually the same camera only with wifi?

You may also consider the Canon HF R300, refurbished by Canon:
http://shop.usa.canon.com/shop/en/catalog/camcorders/refurbished-consumer-camcorders/vixia-hf-r300-refurbished

The HF R300 is not better, but similar - does not shoot 60p/60 frames-per-second progressive as the HF R400 does. These R series camcorders, R400, R300 etc. are decent, but they are definitely entry-level. If you want mid-range, something like the Canon HF M500/refurbished if you can find them.
Otherwise, new Canon camcorders above entry-level are beyond your price point.

Note that both the R400/R40 and R300 do not have a "filter thread" to be able to add lenses or filters onto the camera, if that matters to you.

You will need to buy SDHC cards/class 4 minimum.

FWIU, Sony does make (new) camcorders under $300 (some which may have a mic jack)...you can search a site like Best Buy.
I am not familiar with Sony, so someone else would have to give their input on those.
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post #5 of 10 Old 08-02-2013, 12:14 PM - Thread Starter
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What would the 500 bring to the picture that the 400 and 300 do not? Thanks so much for your help.
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post #6 of 10 Old 08-02-2013, 03:35 PM
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The main difference is that the HF M500 has the HD CMOS PRO image sensor, which is the same sensor Canon puts in their professional camcorders. The overall image quality will be better and do better in low light. The HF M500 has a lens filter at the end of the lens; you can screw on filters such as a UV or ND filter or a wide angle/telephoto lens. The M500 also has the proprietary Canon shoe for connecting accessories such as a Canon light or Canon microphone.

There are cheap adapters, from about $10-$20 that can convert it to a universal shoe for non-Canon accessories - although with the adapter the camera's battery can't be accessed...for example, your microphone would need its own battery inside of it. If proprietary Canon mic, it can use the camcorder's battery for power.
The HF M500 will also have better audio capabilities.

The HF R400 has a couple of things the M500 doesn't; such as 60p and MP4 recording...I think the better sensor/image quality alone on the 500 overrides that.
It wouldn't be horrible to get the HF R400, but those are basically the differences.
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post #7 of 10 Old 08-02-2013, 04:03 PM - Thread Starter
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It looks like the M500 is out of stock on their refurb at Canon.
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post #8 of 10 Old 08-02-2013, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xfws View Post

The main difference is that the HF M500 has the HD CMOS PRO image sensor, which is the same sensor Canon puts in their professional camcorders.
Another way to say it: Canon took the sensor from the venerable HV20, massaged it a bit, gave it a fancy name, and put three of them into the XF300.* Then they started putting it into consumer models - only one sensor into a camcorder, not three, mind you - saying that it is the same sensor as in their pro model, which is, well, true.

*This is my opinion on what happened, given sensor physical size, resolution, technology and direct comparison of the XF100 to the HV20 on Canon's Japanese site. I can be wrong of course.
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post #9 of 10 Old 08-02-2013, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ingeborgdot View Post

It looks like the M500 is out of stock on their refurb at Canon.

Beach Camera via Amazon has the Canon-refurbished HF M50..same camera as HF M500, but the 50 has 8GB internal flash memory and WiFi capability.

$389, would up your budget significantly/provided they even have 6 in stock:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B006UMMPMI/ref=dp_olp_refurbished?ie=UTF8&condition=refurbished&qid=1375485969&sr=8-1
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post #10 of 10 Old 08-02-2013, 04:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah, I think for what we will be doing with the camcorders that the 400 will be fine. Probably the 300 would be fine too. It will just be some class projects etc. with these cameras. No big field work or anything like that.
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