This is my detailed review of the Canon Vixia HF R800 Video Camcorder. Read on to learn more about its features, video quality, zoom options, and other features. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you can decide whether this camera is worth purchasing or not.
As a hobbyist videographer, I appreciate the fact that I can now use my phone to record footage on the go. However, the frustrated filmmaker in me is disappointed with the lack of manual controls and advanced features. Phone cameras still fall short on the creativity side, prompting me to look for other video recording options—specifically camcorders—that would not cost a fortune.
One model that caught my eye is the Canon Vixia HF R800. It offers several useful features that will meet my creative needs and an attractive price that fits my budget. Needless to say, I wish I had not waited so long to buy it. I now regularly use it for shooting videos, and I could not be any happier.
However, in this review, we would not focus solely on my experience—we will also discuss product features and both positive and negative user reviews across the web. I researched multiple sources and read over a hundred customer reviews to determine if the Canon Vixia HF R800 is worth the purchase or not.
So without further ado, let us get on with it!
Canon Vixia HF R800 Overview
The Canon Vixia HF R800 is a highly-rated entry-level video camcorder. It boasts a powerful zoom capability that is ready to shoot in almost any scene, whether near, far, or in between. Meanwhile, the Super Range Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) minimizes camera shake when recording at longer focal lengths. Other exciting features include Highlight Priority mode with backlight correction and the improved slow and fast motion capabilities that enable creative ways to shoot video.
All these advantages come at a lightweight and affordable package. The included hand strap means that you can carry the R800 with you and shoot on the go. Overall, the Canon Vixia HF R800 is an impressive camcorder for capturing family videos to events and everything in between.
- Image Sensor: 1/4.85-inch CMOS, RGB Primary Color Filter
- Effective Pixels (Video): 2.07 MP (1920 x 1080)
- Effective Pixels (Photo): 2.07 MP (1920 x 1080)
- Zoom Ratio: 32x Optical, 57x Advanced (Optical)
- Focal Length (35mm equivalent): 38.5-1232mm
- Maximum Aperture: f/1.8 – f/4.5
- Maximum Shutter Speed: 1/2000 sec. (Movie), 1/500 sec. (Still Image)
- Exposure Modes: Auto, Manual, Program, SCN, Smart Auto
- White Balance: Auto, Daylight, Tungsten, Custom WB
- Image Stabilization: Optical, Digital
- Recording Media: 1 SD/SDHC/SDXC/FlashAir memory card slot
- LCD Screen: 3.0-inch (7.51cm) panel, widescreen color LCD (approx. 230,000 dots)
- Connectivity: 1 Mini-HDMI (Type C), 1 USB 2.0 Mini-AB, 1 A/V 3.5mm mini-jack/Headphone terminal
- Battery: Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery Pack (3.6 VDC, 2760 mAh)
- Dimensions: 2.1 x 2.3 x 4.6 inches
- Weight: 10.8 ounces / 305 grams (including Battery BP-727, memory card, grip belt)
What We Like About the Canon Vixia HF R800
- Small and portable
- 32x optical zoom brings distant objects closer
- High-quality 1080p videos
- Easy to use
What We Do Not Like About the Canon Vixia HF R800
- No 4K recording
- Noisy footage in low-light situations
- Lack of Wi-Fi connectivity
Canon Vixia HF R800 Features
Now that we have touched on the basic attributes of this camcorder, let us have a look at the overall Canon Vixia HF R800 features.
Features at a Glance
- High-definition (HD CMOS) sensor
- 57x advanced zoom offers a versatile range of focal lengths
- Super Range Optical Image Stabilization (O.I.S.) minimizes camera shake for handheld recording
- Slow and fast motion recording allows for better creative control
- Highlight priority mode to ensure balanced and realistic exposure
- 3-inch touchscreen LCD with a bright display
- High-capacity battery pack
- HDMI input turns your camcorder into a webcam for live streaming
- External mic input allows you to connect an external microphone for better audio quality
- One-year warranty
Video Quality and Recording Mode
The defining characteristic of any camcorder is how good the recorded video looks, and the Canon Vixia HF R800 does not disappoint.
It uses a 3.28-megapixel Full HD CMOS image sensor to deliver high-quality 1080p video footage. It records subjects in rich color and detail, especially in bright light. The on-chip noise reduction further ensures clarity across the frame.
Video quality in low-light situations is still great due to the larger sensor. But do note that it is nowhere as large as those found in DSLRs or mirrorless cameras. For this reason, several users suffered from noisy footage when shooting at night. Lighting sources do not flicker or appear fuzzy, though, which is a plus.
In terms of recording modes, the Canon Vixia HF R800 offers slow and fast motion shooting. It enables you to record anywhere from 0.5x speed for a stunning slo-mo effect of up to 1200x speed, which compresses 20 hours of action in a one-minute clip.
Moreover, this camcorder includes a highlight priority mode with backlight correction. It prevents loss of detail when shooting in super bright conditions. Thus, the Full HD videos can have a more balanced and realistic appearance.
The Canon Vixia HF R800 boasts an impressive 57x advanced optical zoom (equivalent to 1853mm in a 35mm camera). It can bring distant objects closer, ideal for capturing wildlife, sports, and formal ceremonies. At the same time, it offers a relatively wide angle of view at 32.5mm (35mm equivalent) for shooting candid family videos.
There is also a zoom framing assist function that makes it easier to track and capture the subject. Simply tap a small icon on the touchscreen display to zoom out the image and locate your subject on the frame.
Optical Image Stabilization
Canon also conveniently included a SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS) in the R800 to help correct camera shake. This technology delivers sharp and steady footage when shooting handheld or at slower shutter speeds. It also offers continuous adjustment to ensure smooth video throughout the entire zoom range.
The Dynamic Image Stabilization works together with the OIS to further minimize rotational camera shake—horizontal, vertical, and roll axis—which is highly noticeable when walking.
To sum up, the Canon Vixia HF R800 provides five-axis image stabilization, enabling you to shoot steady videos without a tripod or gimbal.
The Canon VIXIA HF R800 is capable of shooting still photos but nothing to write home about. It can only capture pictures at a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080 (2.1 megapixels), which does not provide a very clear image. In fact, it is on the lower end of photo resolutions today. So if you want a camcorder with impressive picture quality, consider other products.
With that said, this function will still come in handy if you suddenly want to snap a photo while recording an HD video.
Display and Controls
The Canon VIXIA HF R800 has a 3-inch touch panel LCD screen that shows up bright and clear, even when shooting outdoors in the sun. It also flips into selfie mode, ideal if you are into vlogging.
This camcorder offers an intuitive user interface that makes it easy to access the settings. You can choose focal points, track moving objects, and zoom into the frame with just a simple tap on the screen. There is also an option to customize some buttons for convenience. And if you are unsure about a particular shooting mode, clear explanations will pop up so that you can feel confident capturing videos.
Build and Ergonomics
The VIXIA HF R800 Camcorder is compact, lightweight, and feels good in the hand. Its small size means that it is easy to carry for photo walks and pack inside your bag for travel.
The unit only has a few buttons, owing to the touch screen. The zoom slider is conveniently located at the top of the camcorder, while the record button sits at the rear next to the battery. You can find the rest of the buttons and ports when you open the LCD panel. These include the on/off switch, playback button, SD card slot, Mini HDMI port, USB mini-AB port, external microphone input, and a headphone/AV out port.
Some users said they wished there were more buttons for specialized control. However, most were satisfied with the practical design for ease of use.
The Canon VIXIA HF R800 uses a rechargeable BP-727 battery pack with a capacity of 2760 mAh. The LCD screen accurately displays the remaining battery time to ensure you would not miss a scene.
There are mixed reports on the battery life of this camcorder. These seem to be primarily due to the kind of videos each user shoots. Some individuals were impressed with the long battery life (around three hours for 1080/60p video), while others wished that the power did not drain so fast.
However, most users said that the battery takes too long to fully charge (approximately eight hours), not ideal for travel. You may need to carry an extra power unit if you want to shoot videos the whole day.
The Canon VIXIA HF R800 is sold for less than $250. Despite the low cost, there is enough functionality in this model to please buyers who want to create high-quality videos on a limited budget. Overall, it is an excellent camcorder for the price, making it a top choice among other budget options.
What Other Customers Say About the Canon Vixia HF R800
We checked hundreds of customer reviews for the Canon Vixia HF R800 on three popular eCommerce stores. It has an average rating of 4.5/5 stars, making it one of the highly-rated consumer handheld video cameras on the market.
Most users were impressed by the Canon Vixia HF R800 because of its super video quality and image quality, considering its very affordable price tag. Many said that it is a “great camera for the price.”
Another feature that stood out for a lot of customers is the optical advanced zoom functionality. One user said they could “obtain details, such as a license plate, at 200 meters with just the 32x optical zoom enabled.”
Many reviews also mentioned how the camcorder is easy to use and feels good in the hand due to the compact size. An individual perfectly summarizes, “this is a set-and-forget type of camera as you really do not need to do anything other than turn it on and press record.”
Other Camcorders to Check Out
Below are the following alternatives to the Canon Vixia HF R800.
The Canon VIXIA HF R700 is perhaps the closest competitor of the Canon Vixia HF R800 in terms of features and price offered. It shares the same 3-inch touchscreen, 57x advanced optical zoom, and 1080p recording at 24, 30, and 60 fps.
However, the R700 offers 1140x digital zoom, a stereo microphone input, and advanced Baby Mode recording mode on top of these features. It does not have still image support, exposure control, and a self-timer, though.
If you are looking for a cheaper camcorder than the R800, consider checking out the Kimire Digital Camera Recorder.
It features a 3-inch LCD, memory card support, full HD video, and a 24-megapixel image resolution. However, there is no optical zoom and dedicated image stabilization available. This fact can severely limit the videos that you can capture with the camcorder. Plus, it is from a generic brand. That said, it is still a great camera for those who just want to capture family videos.
Those looking to upgrade from the Canon VIXIA HF R800 can consider the Panasonic HC-VX981K. It will cost you around $500 more, but it offers more advanced features. These include 4K ultra HD recording, HDR movie mode, in-camera editing, and Wi-Fi. Its 20x optical zoom is inferior to the 57x zoom of the cheaper R800, though.
Is the Canon Vixia HF R800 Worth the Cost?
As previously mentioned, the Canon Vixia HF R800 is an excellent camera for the price. It has significant positives going for it, such as the 57x advanced optical zoom and the intuitive interface. Overall, we highly recommend it to budget users who want to capture home videos, events, and vlogs.
But if you need advanced video features and manual control, you might be disappointed with this camcorder.
With that said, I have come to realize that it still offers enough capabilities to meet my creative needs. Test its features and decide for yourself if they are ideal for the type of work that you do.
Hopefully, our Canon Vixia HF R800 review has helped you make an informed purchasing decision.