camcorders
  • Editors' Choice

Canon Vixia HF M52 Camcorder Review

This Canon HF M52 doesn't shy away in low light.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Compression

Canon added a new trick to its 2012 Vixia camcorders, including the HF M52. By "new trick" we mean an extra compression option in addition to the standard AVCHD. The HF M52 can record 720p HD video using MPEG-4 compression, which results in smaller video files than AVCHD content. Why did Canon add this function? To make videos easier to share using the HF M52's new WiFi functions, of course! It also gives users a bit more flexibility when recording video. Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of various high definition compression types.

Media

The Canon HF M52 contains a single SD memory card slot that works with SDHC and SDXC cards as well. This is something for a change from Canon, as the company went with two memory card slots on a number of its Vixia camcorders in 2011. But for a camcorder like the HF M52, which already contains 32GB of internal flash memory, all you really need is one card slot Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of various media types.

Media Photo
The camcorder has one memory card slot and 32GB of internal flash memory.

Resolution & Frame Rates

Like most Vixia camcorders, the Canon HF M52 offers Full HD recording using its two highest-quality video options. The rest of the AVCHD record modes capture 1440 x 1080 video that is stretched to 1920 x 1080 during playback. By default, these record modes use a 60i frame rate, but each of them is capable of recording using a simulated 24p and 30p option (called PF24 and PF30 in the menu system). We call these frame rates "simulated" because the video is converted to 60i during recording, but it looks like 24p and 30p during playback. The two MPEG-4 record modes capture video at a 1280 x 720 resolution (that's still technically HD), and include 30p or 24p frame rate options (no 60i or 60p). Canon continues to be one of the few manufacturers to withhold a 1080/60p record mode on its consumer camcorders.

Still Features

If you're looking for a photo/video hybrid device, the Canon HF M52 is not the model for you. Canon directed its efforts towards video with the HF M52—just like it did on the majority of its Vixia models from last year—and all but abandoned still image controls and features. The camcorder can still shoot still photos but the size options are limited to a 1920 x 1080 resolution and the features are limited to a self-timer and that's about it. Honestly, we like this move, as most people already have a halfway decent camera on their cell phone or in their pocket. The HF M52 is a camcorder, and camcorders are meant to record good video (and that's exactly what the M52 does).

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Design
  3. Product Tour
  4. Performance
  5. Color Performance
  6. Low Light Performance
  7. Motion Performance
  8. Sharpness Performance
  9. Sample Videos
  10. Usability
  11. Ease of Use
  12. Handling
  13. Controls
  14. Features
  15. Recording Options
  16. Hardware
  17. Other Features
  18. Canon Vixia HF M40 Comparison
  19. Sony Handycam HDR-PJ30V Comparison
  20. Panasonic HC-X900M Comparison
  21. Conclusion
  22. Photo Gallery
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Compare Prices
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

What's Your Take?

All Comments