Buying a new camcorder for yourself in the fourth quarter of the year is generally not a great idea because January is often the month where companies announce new models. Big brands like Canon often use the Consumer Electronics Show to announce new product lineups. Canon did just that by announcing three new models for the VIXIA HF R series. The Canon VIXIA HF R62 leads the trio as the new camcorder to get for casual videographers. These people usually want good functionality without the complexity offered by more expensive models.
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About the Canon VIXIA HF R62
The Canon HF R62 is the most expensive model of the three new VIXIA camcorders Canon announced in 2015. It is priced at about $449 which is $50 more than the mainstream R60 model and $150 more than the budget R600 model. These aforementioned camcorders are all placed in the same family because many of the specifications are the same. This includes the touch-enabled 3-inch display, HD CMOS image sensor and 32x optical zoom. Those already familiar with the entry-level Canon VIXIA will immediately recognize this pattern because it has been Canon’s approach for the past couple of years. Current owners of the Canon VIXIA HF R52 will also notice how unchanged the R62 is on the outside. Even though the Canon VIXIA HF R62 is the top tier model of the family, it still feels like an entry-level device with a comfortable grip, compact profile and minimal amount of physical controls.
The main feature exclusive to the Canon HF R62 is the 32 GB internal flash storage space which is 4 times the amount you get with the Canon HF R60. This makes the Canon VIXIA HF R62 the best choice if you want a very smooth out-of-the-box experience. You can actually buy the camcorder and immediately go on a vacation knowing that when you unbox the camcorder, you can begin recording several hours of full 1080p footage. The SD card slot still remains so you can expand the storage space even further.
Comparison with the Canon VIXIA HF R52
As a whole, the new Canon VIXIA HF R6x family doesn’t bring many new features to the table. Video quality and video recording features are exactly the same as past models because these models use the exact same internal hardware. Canon’s main focus is on the wireless connectivity experience as connecting smartphones to the camcorder wasn’t a totally newbie-friendly experience. The Canon VIXIA HF R62, along with the R60, partially addresses the problem by adding NFC capability. It can be considered a partial solution because the latest Apple products currently have NFC that is only restricted to Apple Pay. But all those flagship wielding Android users should be able to wirelessly pair their devices with the Canon HF R62 without a hitch. You need to download the free CameraAccess plus app from Google Play for this to work. Once you successfully made the link, you can immediately enjoy all the Wi-Fi features offered by the CameraAccess plus app.
On the camcorder side, the new NFC functionality isn’t just limited to pairing with Android devices. Canon also announced this rather unique accessory called the Connect Station CS100 and it has NFC, too. The accessory is a bit pricey at $299 but the things you get could appeal to the more avid videographers. This includes a massive 1 TB internal hard disk which is purely dedicated to storing backups of all the videos and images recorded by the Canon VIXIA HF R62 and other new Canon NFC-enabled gadgets. With the NFC support, connecting the camcorder to the CS100 is easy and wirelessly backing up the media is simple.
If the NFC isn’t appealing enough, the Canon HF R62 also has slightly better battery life than its predecessor. Compared to its lower-priced siblings, the R62 also comes in a slightly bigger battery which is definitely welcome. So if you get the R60, you have to buy the bigger battery pack separately along with a matching 32 GB SD card to match the R62.
Those upgrading from a very old camcorder will likely be impressed with the Wi-Fi features of the Canon VIXIA HF R62. You can have the camcorder connect directly to your Internet-connected router to make it easy to upload videos to Facebook and YouTube via the Canon Image Gateway service. With this arrangement, any computer in the local network can access the camcorder through a special Web address where you can browse videos. This is pretty neat because you don’t have to install anything extra. If you have an iPhone, you can download the free Canon Movie Uploader app from the App Store to make your iPhone the gateway. The Canon HF R62 can connect directly to the iPhone to use its mobile Internet connection to upload the videos to social media sites.
The CameraAccess plus app is the main star of the wireless connectivity features since you can get it for both iOS and Android. It is the app in charge of the remote control features where your mobile device becomes the remote viewfinder for the Canon VIXIA HF R62. It supports live streaming on both LAN and over the Internet making the Canon HF R62 a pretty reliable baby monitor.
The Canon VIXIA HF R62 performed admirably in standard lighting conditions and far better than smartphones in low-light scenarios. This shouldn’t be a surprise because the DIGIC DV 4 image processor is pretty powerful. You don’t get the manual control flexibility offered by higher-end models but those on a budget aren’t looking for those anyway. The 57x Advanced Zoom feature is pretty nice too as it allows you to exceed the 32x optical zoom and still get pretty clear results. You won’t have to worry so much about shakiness too thanks to the SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer.
• NFC simplifies wireless connections to some Android devices and the Canon Connect Station CS100.
• Longer battery life than the older models as well as the cheaper R6x models.
• No other improvements present.
The Canon VIXIA HF R62 is a minor upgrade over the R52 but the $449 price tag still evokes good value. Hopefully next year’s model will introduce more sweeping changes.
Update: There is a newer model > Panasonic HF-R72