Canon R400 Camcorder $170 at Best Buy

Discussion in 'Bargains and Deals' started by Cameron Yee, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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  2. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Nice camcorder, indeed. And that is a STEAL. Anyone on the bubble should jump on that deal.

    I just picked it up for $260 (it's regular price just about anywhere...) from Amazon and all I can say is, "Wow!"

    The PQ is absolutely amazing. My basement is littered with all sorts of camcorder technology: VHS-C, 8mm, Hi-8, etc. And I just upgraded from the Canon FS30 (an SD camcorder similar to the R400).

    The features of this camcorder that I absolutely love are:

    ...the 1080p video. Just amazing. Even my wife, who wasn't sure this was a smart purchase on my part has commented repeatedly--when looking back on the footage from our recent trip to Disney World--about how great the picture looks.

    ...the Image Stabilization. It is amazing how still you can hold this camera when using the zoom function. THAT is huge. it gives you so many options when without a tripod.

    ...HDMI out (It has a mini-HDMI jack, actually). Makes it easy to put the picture up on my 55" Panny plasma...and the sound through my HT. Wow.

    I could see where a camera like this could be used to supply a professional product in a pinch. In fact, that might just happen some day where I work. And you get two hours of 1080 video on a 32GB SDHC card.
     
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  3. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Problem w/ such is they rarely offer any manual functions that are essential for reliable shooting. Also, not sure it compares well enough to a DSLR for low light shooting. Are there solid reviews for it? I've using the inexpensive, older Nikon D5100 to shoot videos of music recitals and such. Works ok enough for this, but not really ideal.I would only consider going back to a regular camcorder if it comes w/ good manual controls and low light capability that comes reasonably close to DSLR. For casual, impromptu, short takes, smartphone works alright enough most times. _Man_
     
  4. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    The problem I have with using a DSLR for video is the lack of usable auto focus. The latest batch of DSLRs seem to be addressing this issue, but I've found using a 7D for impromptu or "run and gun" video pretty impractical without adding a LCD magnifier and doing all the focusing manually. If I were shooting a movie, where I'd have time to set up and what not, that's a different story.

    I use the previous generation Canon camcorder at work and am pretty pleased with it. The main thing I was waiting for was for iMovie to be able to import AVCHD files without creating massive, converted MOV files.

    The low light question is a good one, but most of my use has been indoors with average to high light levels. I think I probably looked at some samples on YouTube about the low light performance, and I imagine it was good enough to be a non-issue for my needs.

    I think it will have been over a decade since I personally owned a camcorder, the last being a shoulder mounted Panasonic AG-455 S-VHS!
     
  5. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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  6. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    I was going to post an example of some interior video I shot with the R400 on my recent trip to Disney (maybe something exciting from the Hall of Presidents!)...but I am in a state of panic right now.

    The 1TB external HDD I had with me on the trip on which I had dumped all my video seems to have crapped the bed. I had just purchased a 3TB drive to use as a backup to that HDD (on Black Friday)...but hadn't yet made the backup...and now my drive is dead.

    I've got a guy running restoration software on it as I type this... Every finger I have is crossed...

    Ugh. (and that HDD also has a bunch of images and other stuff on it...)
     
  7. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    Sorry to hear that Mike. :(
     
  8. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Thanks, Cameron.

    Poor judgment on my part.

    And it is coming back to bite me.

    I won't know until tomorrow the fate of the drive...but it's not looking good.
     
  9. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    That's a huge bummer, Mike. I also have an old HDD go bad in recent months and don't quite have everything backed up. Hope you can recover all that's important to you... _Man_
     
  10. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Thanks, Man.

    An update on that front (keep in mind that this is from a guy who doesn't fully know the lingo):

    Apparently the File Allocation Table got corrupted...meaning that the files which point to the data files are gone which is why I couldn't see a blessed thing on the disk.

    But the good news side of that scenario is that the restoration seems to be finding and pulling files. Maybe, just maybe, all of my video/images/etc. are still there and will be found. But, if true, all my original file names would be lost (which would be more than fine with me if I could rescue the video).

    But, of course, it could also be that what's getting pulled won't be any good.

    Only time will tell. And I won't know until Monday morning.

    Don't let this happen to you.
     
  11. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    A short, low light sample.

     
  12. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    How'd the restoration go?

    And why was the backup poor judgment? Was it an old drive?
     
  13. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    The restoration is not going well.

    I decided to try SpinRite software. But it runs in a DOS environment I have SATA/USB conectors and I don't think the older motherboard I have set up to run the software on the drive is recognizing USB in DOS.

    So, now I have picked up a SATA/IDE adapter. But I'm having issues getting the PC to find the drive that way, too. I'm not sure if it's the older PC I'm using...or just that the drive is too far gone.

    I think I'm SOL.

    If you read Post #6 closely, you'll see the poor judgment comes from the fact that I off-loaded all the video into a single drive and didn't ever get a 2nd copy of the video made before the drive containing the video crashed. :(
     
  14. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Here's one of the few surviving videos from my recent trip to WDW (still on the memory card in the camera).

    I think this shows how well the R400 does in low light in a huge theater (over 700 seats...and I was sitting in the very back row). It also shows how well the lens, zoom and image stabilization works as I was handheld (just resting my elbows on the seat rests).

    I was really just wondering how well the camera would do in a situation like this. While I realize the image is jumpy after I zoom in, keep in mind how close to the subject I have zoomed from that opening shot which shows how far he is from me in the theater,

    This is Lincoln's speech from The Hall of Presidents:

     

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