camcorders

Canon Vixia HF R11 Camcorder Review

The HF R11 is an entry-level camcorder from Canon that has an inflated price due to its 32GB of internal memory. It did well in our testing, but if you're looking for a bargain there are better choices out there.

November 01, 2010
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Low Light Performance

Low Light Performance Summary
{{article.attachments['Canon_HF_R11_Vanity120.jpg']}} • Low light performance was good overall. • Low light sensitivity was much better when shooting with PF24 and PF30 modes instead of 60i.
{{article.attachments['cci-prev.jpg']}} Motion & Sharpness Performance (Page 5 of 16) Compression & Media {{article.attachments['cci-next.jpg']}}

**Low Light Sensitivity***(4.96)*


In something of a surprise performance, the HF R11 earned a better low light sensitivity score than the competition—including the more expensive Canon HF M31. To reach 50 IRE on our waveform monitor, which is our indicator for a usable low light image, the Canon HF R11 required just 13 lux of light. This is a bit less than the Panasonic HDC-SD60 needed, and a whole lot less than the JVC GZ-HM340 and Canon HF M31 called for. (More on how we test low light sensitivity.)

Required Illumination *
{{article.attachments['Canon_HF_R11_LL_sensitivity.gif']}}
  • the lower the lux required, the better the performance

The HF R11 put up even better sensitivity numbers when we shot using its PF30 and PF24 alternate frame rate modes. These settings allow the camcorder's sensor to absorb more light because they use slower shutter speeds, so we don't use those numbers in our scoring (our score is based on 60i recording). Still, it is interesting to see how little light the R11 needs if you're planning on shooting with the alternate frame rates.

Low Light Sensitivity
Mode Canon HF R11 JVC GZ-HM340 Panasonic HDC-SD60 Canon HF M31
Auto Gain 13 Lux (60i) 6 Lux (PF30) 4 Lux (PF24) 20 Lux (60i) 15 Lux (60i) 22 Lux (60i) 11 Lux (PF30) 8 Lux (PF24)

**Low Light Color***(5.35)*


The HF R11 wasn't nearly as faithful in reproducing colors in our low light test as the camcorder was in our bright light test. In low light, the R11 registered a color error of 6.52, while still managing a decent saturation level of 73.26%. While these numbers aren't very good, they are not much worse than what we saw from the competition. (More on how we test low light color.)

Auto Low Light Color Performance
{{article.attachments['Canon_HF_R11_60_lux_auto.jpg']}} {{article.attachments['Canon_HF_R11_60_lux_auto_color_error.jpg']}}
Color Test Chart (above), Color Error Map (right)
The Canon HF R11 produced a color error of 6.52 and a saturation level of 73.26% in our low light color testing. (The map on the right is a diagram of the color error. The length and direction of each line indicates how the camcorder processed each particular color.)

Even though its color error numbers took a significant hit in our low light test, the Canon HF R11 still managed to capture strong, vivid colors in low light. Its saturation level was the highest amongst the camcorders we compared it to. The chart below illustrates the improvement in color accuracy and saturation level that the camcorder showed when we tested its alternate frame rates. Most significant is the huge increase in saturation level when using the PF24 record mode.

Low Light Color Across Frame Rates
{{article.attachments['Canon_HF_R11_frame_rate.gif']}}

Below you can see the HF R11 compared to the other entry-level and mid-range HD camcorders in this testing set. None of these models produced stellar low light results, but all of them had decent performances in our battery of low light tests. Even though these models aren't high-end camcorders, they can still hold their own when it comes to low light recording.

Low Light Comparison
{{article.attachments['Canon_HF_R11_60_lux_auto.jpg']}} {{article.attachments['JVC_GZ-HM340_60_lux_auto.jpg']}}
Canon HF R11 JVC GZ-HM340
{{article.attachments['Panasonic_HDC-SD60_60_lux_auto.jpg']}} {{article.attachments['Canon_HF_M31_60_lux_auto.jpg']}}
Panasonic HDC-SD60 Canon HF M31
Low Light Color Score Comparison {{article.attachments['JVC_GZ-HM340_Vanity120.jpg']}} [ Compare the Canon HF R11 to the JVC GZ-HM340 ](http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Canon-Vixia-HF-R11-Camcorder-Review/JVC-GZ-HM340-Comparison.htm)
{{article.attachments['Canon_HF_R11_LL_color_comp.gif']}}
{{article.attachments['Panasonic_HDC-SD60_Vanity120.jpg']}} [ Compare the Canon HF R11 to the Panasonic HDC-SD60 ](http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Canon-Vixia-HF-R11-Camcorder-Review/Panasonic-HDC-SD60-Comparison.htm)
{{article.attachments['Canon_HF_M31_Vanity120.jpg']}} [ Compare the Canon HF R11 to the Canon HF M31 ](http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Canon-Vixia-HF-R11-Camcorder-Review/Canon-HF-M31-Comparison.htm)

**Low Light Noise***(7.82)*


The HF R11 averaged 1.595% noise in our low light test, which was the most noise of the camcorders in this group, although not by much. Canon camcorders have shown us some fairly high noise levels in our low light testing this year, and you can see this presence of noise in the crops below. We don't want to make it seem like this 1.595% noise level is terrible, though, as it's really just an average score for an HD camcorder. (More on how we test low light noise.)

Noise at 60 lux Auto
{{article.attachments['Canon_HF_R11_60_lux_auto_noise_crop.jpg']}} {{article.attachments['JVC_GZ-HM340_60_lux_auto_noise_crop.jpg']}} {{article.attachments['Panasonic_HDC-SD60_60_lux_auto_noise_crop.jpg']}} {{article.attachments['Canon_HF_M31_60_lux_auto_noise_crop.jpg']}}
Canon HF R11 100% Crop JVC GZ-HM340 100% Crop Panasonic HDC-SD60 100% Crop Canon HF M31 100% Crop

As you can see from the crops above, the HF R11 had one of the sharper images in our low light tests (even if it was one of the noisiest). Just like we saw in bright light, the R11 compared well to the sharpness levels of its more-expensive cousin, the HF M31. Still, in our full sharpness test, the HF M31 came out on top (see results on the previous page).

Low Light Noise Score Comparison {{article.attachments['JVC_GZ-HM340_Vanity120.jpg']}} [ Compare the Canon HF R11 to the JVC GZ-HM340 ](http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Canon-Vixia-HF-R11-Camcorder-Review/JVC-GZ-HM340-Comparison.htm)
{{article.attachments['Canon_HF_R11_LL_noise_comp.gif']}}
{{article.attachments['Panasonic_HDC-SD60_Vanity120.jpg']}} [ Compare the Canon HF R11 to the Panasonic HDC-SD60 ](http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Canon-Vixia-HF-R11-Camcorder-Review/Panasonic-HDC-SD60-Comparison.htm)
{{article.attachments['Canon_HF_M31_Vanity120.jpg']}} [ Compare the Canon HF R11 to the Canon HF M31 ](http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Canon-Vixia-HF-R11-Camcorder-Review/Canon-HF-M31-Comparison.htm)
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. Product Tour
  3. Color & Noise Performance
  4. Motion & Sharpness Performance
  5. Low Light Performance
  6. Compression & Media
  7. Manual Controls
  8. Still Features
  9. Handling & Use
  10. Playback & Connectivity
  11. Audio & Other Features
  12. Panasonic HDC-SD60 Comparison
  13. JVC GZ-HM340 Comparison
  14. Canon HF M31 Comparison
  15. Conclusion
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.
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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.
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