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Learn more about the Canon USA VIXIA HF M500 (6096B001)
WarrantyBeyond any applicable Newegg return policy, this item is warranted independently by the product's Manufacturer or a Third party. Below is a summary provided for convenience only and may not be accurate or current.
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Pros: I decided that as a birthday present to myself I would finally get a digital camcorder since I had some of my income tax refund left over. I did do my research, and decided that I wanted a good mid range model, as a top end model would have features I would never use while bargain basement models would have sub par quality. After a few hours of searching sites and reviews I narrowed it down to a Panasonic, this Canon, and 2 Sony models, all here on Newegg. The Panasonic had bad reviews, citing poor image quality, and the Sony models did as well. However this Canon had mostly all positive reviews, even from the professional sites, so a few clicks later, I bought it from Newegg (and it was on sale at the time, which sweetened the deal.)
First impressions are that it has great potential. The build quality is good, and even though it is small the buttons are laid out in such a way as to allow you to keep a firm grip on the camcorder while being easy to access and not accidentally hit. It features a touch screen LCD and stylus (which isn't needed unless you do editing on the camera, which is a good feature to have).
After charging it for a couple of hours to get some charge on it (the battery was completely flat, which is not unexpected these days, though it can damage the life of the LiON battery) I went outside to do a test shot. Basically I just panned around, zooming in on some things both near and far, just to get an impression of what it can do. Before I did so I put in the memory card, a PNY Polaroid 64GB SDXC (bought here on Newegg) and set the quality to AVCHD (24mbps 1920x1080p60). I was wondering how only a 10x optical zoom (6.3-63mm) would work, and looking at the recording on the LCD didn't make it look that great. However, after hooking it to my TV via the HDMI cable, I was amazed. Even objects 40 yards away were clear, thanks to the good sized CMOS sensor. It wasn't as clear as with my Canon Rebel XS DSLR and a 250mm telephoto lens (bought here at Newegg a couple of years ago) of course, but for a 63mm lens, it wasn't bad at all. The image stabilization helps quite a bit, it really does smooth out the subtle shakes your hand makes.
This camcorder also supports MP4 format as well as AVC. AVC is best for high quality archival footage of important things, such as your vacations and other special events. MP4 is best for things you will upload to the web or for casual shots as it is more universal and smaller in size.
Low light performance is also good, tested in a dimly lit closet, and you won't be upset if you use this at nightly sports games or events.
Cons: There are a few cons which force me to knock off an egg, I'll start from least important to most.
It doesn't ship with a camera bag. They are innexpensive, though, but it is a bit of an annoyance.
The stylus does not slide into a slot on the camcorder.
It does not ship with an LCD screen protector.
It does not ship with a wall charger, and it takes over 5 hours to charge from 0-100% on the camcorder.
Additional batteries from Canon are very expensive, almost 1/3 the price of the camcorder.
And the biggest con of all, the battery life is only a little over an hour, maybe 1 and a half hours if you turn down the LCD brightness. It would help if the camcorder had a reflex system so you could operate it with the LCD closed to save quite a bit of power, but it doesn't.
Other Thoughts: All in all this is a very good midrange camera. The image quality is excellent, and it is a true high definition camcorder, not an interlaced 1080i.
Newegg Marketplace has a couple of listings for some unofficial batteries, which are not covered by Canon's warranty so use them at your own risk, but extra batteries are a necessity. Camera bags are also inexpensive, but Canon should have included one.
Aside from the battery issue, there is no major con for this camcorder, only some minor annoyances, and I would recommend it to anyone who will use it for non professional work, just pick up a camera bag, a couple of extra batteries, a LCD screen protector, a 64GB SDXC memory card (and reader for the card, if you don't have one, SDXC cards cannot be read in all SD readers) and you'll be good to go for years to come!
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