Originally Posted by arrush
So this may be a silly question, but I've never researched camcorders until this morning. We just had a little one and I want to capture some memories.
I was wondering how this 2008 camera compares to something more recent? I see it has quite the following and I may be able to get one used so I would like to know how it compares to something like a Canon Vixia HF-R400.
If anyone has a suggestion for a sub $300 camcorder for family shooting any input would be appreciated.
2008/ 5 years ago is a long time in technology years.
Even though the HF R400 is the entry-level R series, it's from this year and will have more advanced technology than the HF 100. Though the image sensor is smaller on the R400, it's not going to matter too much as neither of them will be great in low light to begin with, due to their small sensors.
(Btw, if you were planning on attaching a UV filter or wide-angle lens, the HF R400 can't have extra filters or lenses added/there is no filter thread at the end of the lens.)
If you can get an HF100 for like $100 or so, I guess it's okay. But keep in mind if something goes wrong, it's not going to be worth repairing. Buying new or refurbished has less risk as you don't know the history or real condition inside a used camcorder.
For example, what if the main control/the joystick just falls off the camera from years of use. So you are taking a chance on used 5 year old camera.I think a better choice might be a (new) point and shoot camera that shoots HD video.
For example, a Panasonic LX7 or Canon Powershot S110. Or one of the Sony $200+ with image stabilization for video. They will yield results comparable to the HF100. There are many choices in that price range, actually.
If you're primarily shooting video of a child, these small cameras are more readily available for candid video and can take high resolution photos. Camcorders typically are not good for photos and the process of using a camcorder, in general, is more deliberate versus the spontaneity of always having the point and shoot camera with you.
If you really want a camcorder, you can keep an eye on Canon's store, if/when they replenish their stock of HF M50/500 camcorders (the newer mid-range models) and possibly go on sale, which they frequently do:
They also have in stock the HF R300 for cheap.
Whatever you buy, make sure to have an archive strategy in backing up video and may want to consider this into your final cost. Putting the video files on just one hard drive is not a good idea as you want to preserve the memories and, over the years, be able to transfer the files to newer storage mediums. If you can't recover the files from that potentially one, failed drive - the files are gone. USB hard drives are affordable these days - back up the files to at least one, preferably two drives. You can also back up the files to a data DVD, blu ray, SSD hard drive, SD cards and/ USB flash memory and/or online storage.
It's not the same as the past with film that will last a long time/decades.