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Canon VIXIA HF M40 Full HD Camcorder with HD CMOS Pro and 16GB Internal Flash Memory

by Canon

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  • Full 1080p HD recording
  • Featuring 16GB internal flash drive and dual SDXC-compatible memory card slots
  • Genuine Canon 10x HD Video Lens and new HD CMOS Pro Image Sensor, deliver high video resolution, outstanding low-light performance, and a wide dynamic range
  • 3.0" Touch Panel LCD
  • Cinema-Look Filters, Story Creator, and Touch Decoration

Product Details

  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 7.1 x 7.4 cm ; 349 g
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 Kg
  • Item model number: M40
  • ASIN: B004HW7E3I
  • Date first available at Amazon.ca: Feb. 7 2011
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #119,519 in Electronics (See Top 100 in Electronics)
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Product Description

Amazon.ca Product Description

12.2 megapixels * live view mode * HD video recording * 3 frames per second * 2.7-inch lcd * 63-zone metering * ISO up to 6400

From the Manufacturer


The VIXIA HF M40 allows you to record up to 6 hours of clear high definition video to a 16GB internal flash drive or to two SDXC-compatible memory card slots. With Relay Recording, the camcorder automatically switches video recording from the internal drive to the next available SD card when the memory becomes full. No need then to worry about running out of recording time during a thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime shot. With SDXC memory card compatibility, you’ll have card storage capacity from more than 32GB up to 2TB and ultra-fast data transfer speeds.


You’ll also have the flexibility of copying video from your VIXIA HF M40’s internal drive to the removable SD memory cards. That makes it easy to insert the card into your computer or HDTV’s card reader and view your recorded footage immediately.

Memory capacity MXP
(app. 24Mbps)
FXP
(app. 17Mbps)
XP+
(app. 12Mbps)
SP
(app. 7Mbps)
LP
(app. 5Mbps)
2GB 10 min. 15 min. 20 min. 35 min. 45 min.
4GB 20 min. 30 min. 40 min. 1 hour
10 min.
1 hour
30 min.
8GB 40 min. 1 hour 1 hour
25 min.
2 hours
20 min.
3 hours
16GB* 1 hour
25 min.
2 hours
5 min.
2 hours
50 min.
4 hours
45 min.
6 hours
5 min.
32GB 2 hours
55 min.
4 hours
10 min.
5 hours
45 min.
9 hours
35 min.
12 hours
15 min.
64GB 5 hours
55 min.
8 hours
20 min.
11 hours
30 min.
19 hours
10 min.
24 hours
30 min.
(*) Size of built-in memory in VIXIA HF M40.

When recording has continued for 12 hours, it will stop and then restart, automatically.

The maximum memory capacity and recording time can be substantially increased by the combination of the internal memory and the size of the SD memory card chosen. For example, the VIXIA HF M40’s 16GB of internal memory, combined with 2 removable 64GB memory cards, would give 144GB in total memory capacity, and 55 hours 5 minutes of recording time at LP setting.

MXP and FXP modes record in 1920 x 1080 and require a Class 4 or higher or SDXC Card.


The advantages of flash memory go beyond the added recording time. You'll also appreciate the quick response time, because there are no moving parts in the recording process. Press the record button and your VIXIA HF M40 starts recording video faster than you've ever seen before. In addition, when you review, you'll have quick access to your footage.

Another plus is the VIXIA HF M40's low power consumption rate, allowing your battery to last longer. It's just what you need so you don't miss that pivotal play on the field or the moment when they say "I do."

While we certainly hope you keep your VIXIA HF M40 securely in your hand while shooting, if it happens to slip, or you accidentally knock it against something, you'll be happy to know that flash memory makes your camcorder more shock-resistant than other recording storage systems. It also minimizes the chance of data loss if you accidentally jolt or drop your camcorder.

Incorporating a proven technology in Canon’s professional level camcorders, HD CMOS Pro is a 1/3” native 1920x1080 image sensor which delivers outstanding video resolution, superb low-light performance and a wide dynamic range.  Unlike image sensors found in competitive consumer camcorders, HD CMOS Pro uses fewer pixels, which are significantly larger (61%)* and more sensitive, resulting in optimized video performance.

Outstanding Video Resolution (800 Vertical and 900 Horizontal TV Lines)
Since the effective number of pixels of HD CMOS Pro is equal to 1920 x 1080, resizing is eliminated, allowing Full HD video to be captured and recorded with professional precision.

Superb Low-Light Performance (1.5 lux)**
Because each individual pixel is larger and more sensitive, each is capable of capturing more light, allowing high quality video to be achieved even in dimly lit conditions. The sensitivity of HD CMOS Pro is approximately 25% better than the Full HD CMOS sensor in the 2010 VIXIA HF S-series.

Wide Dynamic Range
A larger pixel area also allows more light to be stored, resulting in 280% improvement in dynamic range for exceptional reproduction of both highlights and shadows.*** Skin tones are captured in a finer gradation, and stable gamma and Auto Exposure control are also achieved resulting in a more ‘lifelike’ image.

* This is compared to the pixel size of Canon’s 2010 VIXIA camcorders of 1.7µm. The current HD CMOS Pro pixel size is now 2.75 µm, reflecting a 61.76% increase in size.

**Rating measured with auto shutter speed of 1/30 second.

*** This statistic is the result of comparisons with Canon’s HD CMOS Pro, versus Canon’s 2010 VIXIA HF S-series camcorders.



A Genuine Canon 10x HD Video Lens delivers unsurpassed image quality, and provides smooth and professional looking background images thanks to its sophisticated 6-blade iris effect. Combined with the Canon Exclusive HD CMOS Pro Image Sensor, it captures video with stunning resolution, superb low-light performance, and a wide dynamic range.

Canon’s DIGIC DV III Image Processor provides stunningly realistic color and sophisticated noise reduction for exceptional low-light performance. It is also the high-speed engine that powers a variety of Canon technologies including Smart Auto, Touch & Track, Genuine Canon Face Detection, and Cinema-Look Filters.

You will also find that enhanced lifelike tone and detail are captured thanks to 24Mbps Recording, which offers the highest bit rate in AVCHD. The VIXIA HF M40 not only captures images in Full HD, but records and outputs at 1920 x 1080 as well, so you get Full HD from lens to screen.

And with Tele Macro, the VIXIA HF M40 automatically zooms the lens to the telephoto end and sets the minimum object distance to approximately 1.3 feet (from 3.3 feet), giving you the opportunity to shoot spectacular close-ups with the dramatic look of shallow depth of field. Tele Macro is one of 38 scenes available in Smart Auto Mode.


The VIXIA HF M40 features Canon’s proprietary Dynamic SuperRange Optical Image Stabilization which provides continuous adjustment throughout the entire zoom range to correct a broad range of motion. Extra compensation is applied at wide-angle focal lengths to eliminate unwanted shaking which is common when walking. Together with the latest development, Powered IS, you’ll find an even higher level of compensation for subtle hand movement at the telephoto end of the zoom range. Powered IS can be engaged by pressing or holding the Powered IS button on the Touch Panel LCD.


A critical objective when shooting in high definition is achieving the sharpest focus possible. The VIXIA HF M40 camcorder features Canon's revolutionary Instant AF focusing system which offers a dramatic improvement in auto focus speed and accuracy, compared to traditional auto focus systems. The Instant AF feature uses an external sensor, in combination with Canon's auto focus system, to help significantly decrease the time it takes to find focus, even in low light conditions. This system achieves focus instantaneously, reducing focus "hunting." This is especially beneficial in high brightness or night shooting situations. In addition, with Instant AF it's possible to capture fast, accurate focusing even when following a moving subject.

To further enhance focusing capability the VIXIA HF M40 also features Focus Assist. This helps in capturing your subject in razor-sharp focus. It works by providing a 2x magnification of your subject, which is automatically cancelled when you start recording. This is a feature normally found in professional broadcast-quality cameras.


See exceptional detail with a sharp 230,000 dot screen delivering brilliant color together with touch panel control for faster and easier menu navigation. You’ll also have Touch & Track, which allows you to get precise focus and exposure on any subject, whether it’s people, pets, or vehicles, by selecting your choice right on the Touch Panel LCD.


You’ll also be able to use the Touch Panel for Touch Decoration. This feature lets you superimpose select decorations onto the images on your LCD and then records the images complete with the additions. You may add animation effects, hand written and stamp messages or insert a still image to give your video a truly individual look.

Smart Auto makes shooting great video easier than ever before. Using the power of Canon’s DIGIC DV III Image Processor, the VIXIA HF M40 intelligently detects and analyzes faces, brightness, color, distance, and movement, then automatically selects the best settings for the scene. Whether you are capturing a sunset, a day at the beach, or a fast-paced soccer game, Smart Auto delivers exceptional accuracy, raising your video to the next level.


Among the 38 scenes available in Smart Auto, a standout is Tele Macro. Tele Macro automatically zooms the lens of the camcorder to the telephoto end, setting the minimum object distance to approximately 1.3 feet (from 3.3 feet). This gives you the opportunity to shoot spectacular close-ups with the dramatic look of a shallow depth of field.



Touch and Track delivers precise tracking of the focus and exposure on any subject – whether it‘s people, pets, or vehicles. Simply select your point of interest on the Touch Panel LCD, and you will have your subject in sharp focus, regardless of where in the frame it moves during the shot – and, the exposure will be perfectly adjusted for subject and conditions. Touch & Track is the default setting. You can also choose to adjust focus or exposure independently by turning off Touch & Track, and turning on Touch Focus or Touch Exposure.



Touch Focus allows the user to pinpoint a specific area to focus on. This function is similar to the Push AF feature found in professional camcorders, but can target a subject anywhere in the frame.

Touch Exposure enables exposure to be locked or compensated for the area touched by the user.



The same high quality Face Detection technology used in Canon digital cameras is available in the VIXIA HF M40 camcorder. Up to 35 faces can be tracked automatically, ensuring razor-sharp focus and natural, accurate exposure. Of the faces tracked, 9 detection frames can be displayed at one time.

The system is in fact so smart that it will recognize faces turned downwards or sideways. In addition, a specific face may be selected as the main subject for continuous tracking. This feature can be used to search for clips featuring that specific subject's face. In search and playback, use of the Face Index will display frames with the chosen face as a thumbnail in each shot in which it appears. The selected face can be linked as a timeline to further identify footage containing that subject.


Advanced Video Snapshot allows you to capture the highlights of a once-in-a-lifetime trip or a family milestone with the same ease as taking photos. Simply record a series of short video clips – or select your favorite clips while in Playback Mode – and blend in your favorite background music to create an exciting movie that will grab everyone’s attention. This version of Advanced Video Snapshot allows selectable recording time (2, 4, or 8 seconds). Additionally, audio from an external source such as an MP3 player can be played along with the Snapshot movie, and playback can be controlled from that source.



USB2
HD-to-SD Downconversion allows you to convert recorded high definition video to standard definition files while safely preserving the original HD video. These standard definition files make it even more convenient to edit or share video online. The video can be transferred to your computer via traditional methods – i.e. USB connection, card slot – or wirelessly to sharing sites with an Eye-Fi SD memory card.

Web Upload
The VIXIA HF M40 is compatible with the Eye-Fi SD Memory Card. It’s possible to wirelessly transfer your video and photos to your computer, or upload them directly to online sharing sites in a few simple steps. Insert an Eye-Fi SD Memory Card into the SD card slot on the camcorder, configure your computer to select the target site (e.g., Facebook, YouTube, Shutterfly, Flickr) and you’re ready to share your standard definition files with family, friends, and the world!

Canon camcorders are not guaranteed to support Eye-Fi card functions, including wireless transfer. In case of an issue with the Eye-Fi card, please consult with the card manufacturer. The use of Eye-Fi cards may not be approved in all regions, or from one region to another; please contact the card manufacturer for status of approval in the country/region of use.

Canon makes no representations or warranties with respect to any third party accessory or product mentioned herein.

The versatile VIXIA HF M40 even lets you capture a photo from an already recorded movie. While playing the movie in your camcorder, simply press the LCD to capture a 1920 x 1080 photo onto an SD card or to the internal memory. Additionally, the VIXIA HF M40 allows you to capture 30 photos from one second of video.

24
24p Cinema Mode enables all aspiring moviemakers to achieve a professional "film-look." You can change the camcorder's frame capture rate to 24p (recorded at 60i), which provides the appearance of the same frame rate as movie film. In addition, you can use the VIXIA HF M40's CINE setting, which changes the color and tonal characteristics, evoking the look and feel of a movie shown in a theater. For added flexibility, these settings can be used together or independently.

30p Progressive
You would normally have to look to professional video cameras in order to have a sophisticated tool like 30p Progressive Mode at your command. In addition to the standard interlaced video frame rate of 60i, you may choose to set the VIXIA HF M40 to capture video in 30p (30 progressive frames, recorded at 60i), which is particularly useful for footage to be used on the Internet. Excellent for action and sports shots, this setting gives enhanced quality to still images captured after recording.


Other cinematic looks can be had through the use of Cinema-Look Filters. This feature offers a choice of nine varied built-in adjustable filters which give the look of a variety of cinematic styles by compensating for the color, gamma and other aspects of the image’s quality. The looks can be previewed in the LCD display while shooting.

You can express your creative vision through nine different built-in filters  to create video with a variety of professional cinematic looks. Choose from:

Cinema Standard Tones down highlights slightly, boosts shadows slightly and adds warmth for a cinematic look
Cool Adds a bluish tint for cool, futuristic-looking scenes
Dramatic B&W Creates bold B & W movies with high contrast and grain
Dream Adds a magical look (soft focus) for dream-like scenes
Memory Adds a faded, misty look to create flashback scenes
Nostalgic Recreates the look of old ‘70s TV programs
Old Movie Gives movies the aged look of old cinema
Sepia Uses a sepia tint for an antique, faded look
Vivid Accentuates primary colors for a bright, cheerful look

The brightness of each filter can be adjusted low, medium or high, for even greater control.

To maximize the usefulness and versatility of the VIXIA HF M40, you’ll find a range of terminals to extend the capabilities of your camcorder. A supplied HDMI cable offers easy, one-cable connectivity to your HDTV. The HDMI Terminal  also supports CEC and x.v.Color*.

Through a menu selection, 1080i video is converted to 1080p and can be output through the camcorder’s HDMI terminal.  1080p output** offers smooth reproduction of fast action, such as sports.

The Mini Advanced Accessory Shoe allows you to attach optional Canon accessories, such as the VL-5 Video Light, DM-100 Directional Stereo Microphone, RA-V1 Remote Control Adapter, or SM-V1 5.1-Channel Surround Microphone.


The built-in Microphone terminal with manual audio level control and the Headphone terminal provide exceptional audio flexibility.

Canon’s new optional WM-V1 Wireless Microphone*** allows you to record high-quality audio without a hard connection from up to 164 feet away (50m). This feature is ideal for wedding or graduation ceremonies, documenting meetings and recitals.

* x.v.Color is a trademark of Sony Corporation.

** 1080i video will output if the TV does not support 1080p.

*** This device has not been authorized as required by the rules of the Federal Communications Commission. This device is not, and may not be, offered for sale or lease, or sold or leased, until authorization is obtained.

HDMI, the HDMI logo and High Definition Multimedia Interface are registered trademarks or trademarks of HDMI Licensing, LLC in the United States and/or other countries


The VIXIA HF M40 offers a built-in stereo microphone to capture high-quality audio. It offers a significant reduction in noise at medium and low frequencies.

The microphone’s direction can be adjusted four different ways to match your needs and taste. Choose from:
Monaural: Single point direction
Normal (Stereo)
Wide:Provides a more enhanced, separated stereo effect than normal
Synced with Zoom: Directionality is adjusted to match the zoom position



In addition, the frequency response characteristics of the microphone can be adjusted between low, mid-range and high frequencies.
Normal: Provides a balance throughout all frequencies
Low-range emphasis: Excellent for recording live music with impact
Attenuate low frequencies: Reduces ambient noise and the sound of traffic outdoors, such as wind, cars, etc.
Mid-range emphasis: Ideal for capturing people's voices
Low and high range emphasis: Record live music with balanced lows and highs
The Automatic Attenuator feature prevents high volume distortion and optimizes audio quality in situations when sound levels quickly change, such as when loud music plays in the background. It automatically keeps the audio clean and even.

The built-in Microphone terminal with manual audio level control and the Headphone terminal provide exceptional audio flexibility.

Canon’s new optional WM-V1 Wireless Microphone* allows you to record high-quality audio without wires from up to 164 feet away (50m), ideal for ceremonies and recitals.

For the ultimate home theater experience, 5.1-Channel Surround Sound** allows you to capture audio quality that matches the stunning realism of your high definition video. The sound is captured from all directions (five different pickup sensors) so your home movies will look and sound more lifelike than ever before.

* This device has not been authorized as required by the rules of the Federal Communications Commission. This device is not, and may not be, offered for sale or lease, or sold or leased, until authorization is obtained.

** Optional SM-V1 5.1-Channel Surround Microphone is required.

Take full advantage of the brilliant clarity and drama of HD video in the beauty of the underwater world with your VIXIA HF M40 thanks to the optional Canon WP-V3 Waterproof Case. Compact, light and custom designed especially for the VIXIA HF M40, it's waterproof to 130ft (40m). It has direct control buttons for record start/stop, telephoto and wide zoom, photo capture and preview, to let you make the most of the VIXIA HF M40's capability.



Story Creator assists you in the process of creating an organized and sophisticated video. Choose one of five different themes – Travel, Kids & Pets, Party, Ceremony, and Blog – and the camcorder provides a list of suggested scenes to shoot. After capturing your video, Story Creator helps you categorize and rate your scenes, making it easy to review, select and playback your favorites.


Auto Gain Control Limit allows you to set the maximum gain limit for the image sensor's sensitivity. With this function, brightness and noise can be balanced as required, and image quality can be maximized in low light situations.

Intelligent Lithium-Ion Battery accurately indicates remaining battery time down to the minute, so you won’t run out of power when you need it most.

Pixela Video Browser Software* is bundled with the VIXIA HF M40. You can easily perform a variety of functions, including AVCHD Editing in which you can trim, reorder, and combine scenes, as well as add music, titles, and transitions. This software also allows you to play your AVCHD movies on your computer and will let you share copies of your movie with friends and family through flash memory to hard drive copying. Transfer and store your movie onto your computer's hard drive with the software and easily convert your high definition video to standard definition video as well. Pixela Video Browser will also assist you in converting video to the optimum resolution for transmission over the Internet.


Support for 27 languages including: Czech, Danish, German, Greek, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Hungarian, Malay, Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Finnish, Swedish, Turkish, Russian, Ukrainian, Arabic, Farsi, Thai, simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, Korean, and Japanese.

* The bundled application is compatible with Windows XP (Service Pack 2 and 3), Windows Vista and Windows 7.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 132 reviews
213 of 214 people found the following review helpful
Best Mid-Range Camcorder - Excellent for Low Light Nov. 4 2011
By Scuba Steve - Published on Amazon.com
Well, stating that this is the best mid-range camcorder is quite a claim, but to be fair, it's not my assertion - that award was just bestowed on the M40 this week by CamcorderInfo.com ...and by mid-range, they mean video cameras priced between $500 and $1000. What makes this camera an even better deal is that you can get all three versions (M400, M40, and M41) for under $500.

Keep in mind that most reviewers of camcorders look at specs and then make a subjective judgment about the quality of the video. The CamcorderInfo.com folks (with whom I am not affiliated) do extensive lab-based testing to measure, for example, color accuracy, noise, and low-light performance in controlled and consistent conditions. The fact that they rate this camera so highly is high praise indeed. They also have a great 11 page review on the M40 if you are interested.

So why did they like this camera so much? Put simply, its sensor. This camera's sensor is larger and more optimized for HD video than the competition. Most of those other cameras use a quarter inch sensor, while this camera has one that is one-third of an inch size. When you calculate sensor area, that is a heck of a difference. Canon has also optimized the hardware and software to focus this sensor on HD resolution...so it does it well. Many other cameras not only have a smaller sensor, they integrate it so it can record HD *and* higher than HD resolution still pictures. Canon did not do so here. Yes, you can take still photos with the camera, but at full HD resolution only (1920×1080) - not larger. Canon appears to have decided to not sacrifice video quality to get a higher megapixel rating for still pictures. Hey, you are buying a *video* camera...right? :)

So what are they then doing with such a large sensor? Grabbing more light, suppressing visual noise, and getting better color accuracy. Even more impressive is that this camera has the exact same sensor as CamcorderInfo's "price be darned" consumer camcorder of the year - Canon Vixia HF G10 ($1499). Yes, buy an M400, M40, or M41 and you will get a sensor that is in the best consumer video camera of the year.

So what do you sacrifice? Primarily, 60p. This camera shoots at 60i...with modes for 30p and 24p. Some other mid-range cameras shoot at 60p. Does that make them better? Well, that depends on your usage. If filming indoors is important to you (e.g., birthday parties, school plays, indoor sports), then 60p of dark video isn't all that useful...and bright 60i video with accurate colors cannot be beat. Personally, I have filmed my daughter's gymnastics in a moderately dark gym and even with the fast movement, the video was jaw-dropping.

You also give up the aforementioned high-resolution still pictures, but frankly, I think that's a gimmick. The zoom is also limited to 10x...which is another concession Canon made to otherwise bring you a top notch video camera at this price. For me, 10x is overkill even from the cheap seats at my daughter's events, but your mileage my vary.

Frankly, I think that this camera is getting discounted because many consumers purchase either based on price alone or by looking at specs. Specs like 60p jump off the page. The fact that this camera's sensor is so superior to much of the competition is a far more subtle advantage...that perhaps may hurt the sales of this line. Well, hey, that's good news for you. When I first started looking at the M41, it was $799. I just picked it up for $499...and an M40 for $449. Awesome stuff. Get a camera that beats the rest of the mid-range and its price is below the mid-range. :)

...

So what's not to like?

1) The software. You get two packages - a video transfer utility and a video browser/editor that also includes a transfer capability. You can only choose to install one. I opted for the video browser/editor, which installed fine on Windows 7 Pro 64bit, but then would not work....and I am apparently not the lone ranger. Thus, I uninstalled and just installed the transfer utility...which just moves the files. It's also not very configurable. Of course, you can also just connect the camera to your PC and drag the files off yourself, but that's a bit more work...and the transfer utility does a good job of keeping track of what you have already copied off.

This software issue really disappointed me, but to be frank, the software included with most cameras is pretty bad. Sony sells a fantastic video editor - Sony Vegas (multiple editions), but does not bundle it with the Sony cameras that I considered. In fact, the software that they do bundle is apparently also not compatible with 64 bit OSes...so factor in that you will probably need to buy editing software if you want to play around with the video. Actually, the M400/40/41 line allows you to cut videos, introduce fades, and add titles in the camera, but I'd prefer to do it on my PC with more capable software. No worries, you have your choice of a wide range of very capable video editing packages for well under 100 beans...and most of them trump anything that would ever be bundled with a camera.

2) The battery...which is very small. In fact, it is significantly physically smaller than the recessed cavity into which it fits. I smell Canon's marketing and sales departments at work with this decision. Oh well, the included battery works well for my use (i.e., 60 to 90 mins of filming), but I could easily see how someone else may feel compelled to get a second larger capacity battery.

3) The lens...which maxes at 10x, but some folks claim suffers from vignetting at greater than 5x when the aperture is wide open. It's also not very wide. You can address some of these issues with an aftermarket wide angle lens (bulky) and by playing with F stops in manual mode when you are shooting against a monochromatic background, but Canon could have done better. That said, these issues don't really bother me and the camera's low-light capabilities are perfect for me...so I am in a forgiving mood. ;)

4) The LCD screen...which is resistive (not capacitive), so it takes either a firm push or you must use a fingernail. On the positive side, you can use it while wearing gloves. Also a plus - it's bright. Brighter than the LCD on the more expensive G10, albeit with fewer pixels.

5) The Menus...which are not very intuitive. I had to read the manual cover to cover to see what the camera could do...and now that I know, I'll plod through menus looking for what I need. Amazing, because the menus on my Canon 40D are awesome.

...

So, if I didn't scare you away...and low-light is a big deal to you...which model should you get?

That depends. If you have plenty of high-speed SD cards, the M400 may be the ticket. It has no internal memory. Instead, it has two SD card slots and supports relay recording between the cards. Actually, all three models have two such slots...and support relay recording. The M40 adds 16 GB of internal memory and the M41 ups that to 32 GB and gives you a viewfinder, which is nice for sunny days.

I originally bought the M40 since I didn't want to find myself in the stands and realize that I didn't have an SD card in the camera, but then returned it and picked up the M41 since my wife seemed to miss having a viewfinder. That said, I hear many folks who have the viewfinder still end up using the LCD most of the time. Whatever you choose, you essentially get the same camera otherwise...with the awesome sensor from the HF G10.

On the other hand, if you shoot almost exclusively fast moving action in decent lighting conditions, you may be better served by a camera that supports 60p and/or suffers less from vignetting...but check the CamcorderInfo web site to see how each camera does shooting video rather than relying on specs alone.

So why 5 stars with these warts? Because I just don't see any other option anywhere near this price that will give you such a fantastic low-light sensor and the resultant high-quality video. It's the current mid-range low-light king...and I feel that it's only fair to rate it based on the current competition in the price range. If low-light capabilities are not a priority for you, then I would drop the rating to 4 stars. If you were familiar with the term vignetting before this review and look for it in the corners of your pictures and videos, you probably would rate lower.

...

BTW, if you *do* decide to buy either an M400, M40, or M41, do yourself a favor and switch the camera off AUTO mode. AUTO mode is locked to 1440x1080 at 7 Mbps...and this baby can do 1920x1080 at all the way up to 24 Mbps...but not in AUTO mode. Many other useful menu items are hidden in AUTO mode...like the one that changes the powered IS from "push and hold" to "toggle on/off".

cheers,
Scuba
254 of 257 people found the following review helpful
Very Impressed April 9 2011
By Simpleton Peck - Published on Amazon.com
Well, I have had this camcorder now for a week and tested it in many lighting situations and locations and I must say I'm very impressed. Outside filming my niece and dogs in the yard the videos are crisp viewed on my 40" Sony HD LCD TV. I would give it a 5 out of 5. In my eyes, looks broadcast quality. Indoors with varying light was also impressive although I did notice a little graininess. I'd give low light a 4 star rating. Being as anal as I am, I did a little test. Take it for what it's worth.

Now I am the most anal person you will probably meet and maybe set my expectations too high at times, but I started flipping through some of the HD channels on t.v. to do a little comparison and noticed too a bit of graininess if I stood right up to the television. Now I know nobody watches t.v from three inches away, I just wanted to compare what was being broadcasted to what I was able to film with this camera. I must say, this camera's footage is nearly spot on in many instances (TNT in HD, FOX in HD, USA in HD) I'd like to believe I have a good signal from my cable provider into my television, so in overall video quality, I'd give this camera 5 stars.

So why not 5 stars overall for this camera? Well, maybe I'm used to my iphone's touchscreen too much, but the touchscreen on the viewfinder drives me nuts. I might be old school (34 years old), but I really prefer actual buttons to navigate menus and such. I used to own a Canon Vixia HF100 and really enjoyed the navigation stick and buttons. I would say I have average sized hands, and find it a bit hard to get the right menu selection with my finger at times.

Now I did go with the 16gb version and have no regrets though I can't ever see myself opting for using its internal storage. I like to be able to pop out my sd card and just watch my videos on my PS3 or computer for editing instantly. Don't like the hassle of transferring images via usb. Also, wanted a black body as opposed to the silver one. Yes, I'm that picky. LOL. I like the fact it has two sd card slots, so storage should never be an issue.

I also like that canon took a chance on just making it lower megapixel for ideal HD recording. Let's be honest, if you want to take pictures, use a real camera. I'd much rather have better video quality and sacrifice still photos. I know a lot of people complain about this, but it seems to make sense. You're getting "larger" pixels for higher quality low light recording. It's also nice that Canon included the HD CMOS Pro censor in this model. The same one found in the higher end G10, saving you quite a few bucks.

Overall, I'm very pleased with my purchase and feel Canon has put out a very competitive product with great results. I've already bought a lens hood and extended battery to compliment the camera. (Stock battery is too small and leaves a noticeable gap at the edge. A BP819 should fit the bill nicely. I hope this review was helpful. I know a lot of reviewers commented on its other features, so that is why I omitted some of the other points. Thanks for reading.
137 of 139 people found the following review helpful
Best Low Light Consumer Camcorder, PERIOD!!! June 1 2011
By Icyman - Published on Amazon.com
Don't listen to the negative comments. People always have something to complain about and their own preferences. However, this Camcorder has the lowest lux rating I've seen. I have the Canon HF M41. A viewfinder is a must have for me. I looked at more expensive camcorders. They all have their strong points, but for me, getting good footage in low light is the first priority. All those nice features the other brands have are great but not a must have. The low light of this camcorder is nothing short of Amazing. It has the same sensor as the XF105, a $4300 professional camcorder, . If someone tells you the difference is small and not a big deal, don't believe them. How many times have you been disappointed with low light grainy recordings ? I bought a $39 shoe mounted light and works beautifully. This is my 5th camcorder. My first was the original Hi8 from sony. That one and the 3 that followed gave me grainy low light video. We all hate grainy video. Now I don't have to deal with that anymore.

If you're on a budget and the viewfinder isn't a must have then consider the M400 or M41. The M400 has no built in memory. Personally, I would find myself ready to shoot and realize I have no SD card with me. Who took my SD card??? follow me...

One bonus to having the M4xx series over the G10 is the M4xx camcorders have a lower resolution LCD but it's brighter than the G10. I have no problem with viewing the LCD in direct sunlight. Go to the avsforum website. Camcorder section under "other interest". Look for the "Canon HF M4xx Owner's Thread" or the G10...Owner's Thread. good info and links to uploaded videos made with these camcorders.

Some of my video in low light situations actually looks brighter on screen then it did for real. and not grainy. I bought a $13 wide angle lens on amazon. It works well but don't zoom with it.

Another important issue for people new to SD cards and speed requirements, A class 4 card is fast enough. Many people confuse MB with Mb. 1MB = 8Mb. this camcorder records up to 24Mbps which equals only 3MBps. I've seen many posts with people using the wrong terms. B=byte / b=bit.

I spent too much time researching this camcorder. Hopefully, My comments will help.

Enjoy!!!
56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
Canon M41 Awesome HD Video (Prior Canon HV20 Owner) April 15 2011
By C. Williams - Published on Amazon.com
I have had the Canon HV20 HD camcorder and other MiniDV based camcorders before that. I wanted to finally make the jump to a non-tape based camcorder, and this new sensor with reported better low light capabilities seemed to fit. So I bought the Canon M41 (all three M4XXX models have this new sensor), and wow am I impressed with my first footage. I will post a more detailed review at some point, but I wanted anybody who is considering an upgrade from something like the HV20 to know that based on my personal experience and looking back at comparison footage that this M41 is definitely better. The colors are more accurate, and the overall video quality justs looks much nicer when comparing footage. And of course without even using any of the alternate frame rate options to improve the low light capability any further, the default out of the box low light performance on 60i was clearly much better than my HV20. And as expected I am already in love with the tapeless workflow. Due to the straight mapping of the sensor size to the HD video (which means no additional compression or processing needed to 1920X1080), it is not going to take high resolution still pictures (I use my DSLR for that and don't care). The touchscreen could be higher resolution, and the menu interface is a little awkward as some have mentioned. But video quality was my #1 priority with a new camcorder, and Canon sure seemed to get it right with my initial testing. So definitely buy this camcorder if video quality matters to you.

4/29/11 UPDATE: Well after using this camcorder on vacation for almost a full week I love it even more. The HD video at full 1080p is really incredible quality, with every video quality attribute superior to my old HV20 HD camcorder from what I can tell. And let me say that the low light performance really has to be seen to be believed for a consumer camcorder at this price point, as I have taken some video in some pretty challenging low light situations that looks just amazing with barely a hint of any noise and accurate colors being maintained. I am sure that there are other nice camcorders, but this meets and exceeds everything that I hoped for.
82 of 89 people found the following review helpful
Good but vignetting June 15 2011
By Plant Doctor - Published on Amazon.com
I bought the M41 as an upgrade to the lower end R10. Low light image quality is impressive, and overall image quality is excellent. However, I have experienced an image flaw called vignetting that is annoying. Vignetting is a darkening of the image corners or even a tunnel effect of image darkening. With some zoom lenses for SLR cameras, vignetting usually occurs at wide angle and wide apertures. With my M41, vignetting starts to become visible at about 50% tele and gets worse at max tele. Scenes with a nice blue sky create the most visible effect. It's not being caused by a filter, etc. Canon tech support didn't seem knowledgeable. Any one else experience vignetting with this camcorder? The touch screen is irritating and not very response except for "touch and track" and "touch for exposure". It's not nearly as responsive as a smartphone touch screen. Also, the included battery is a low powered version that leaves a hole in the back of the camera. Spend $70 for a full battery. Too much telephoto and not enough wide angle. More wide angle can be obtained with a heavy and bulky adapter. Full manual (you need it) is only on the CD. Canon- Charge $2.00 more and give me a printed pocket size manual... this is a $800 item after all. Sent the M41 to Canon for a check. They reported that all was normal and upgraded the firmware...hmmm! Shooting in the aperture mode at f 5.6 or f 8 (bright light) will reduce the vignetting. Overall, a mixed bag. This could have been a great camcorder... improve the usability of the touch screen, fix the vignetting issue, more wide angle even if telephoto is somewhat less, provide a full size battery and compact printed manual.

Greg

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