Canon VIXIA HF-R52 HD Digital Camcorder Review

The Canon VIXIA HF R52 has 32GB of integrated storage, more than most flash camcorders.

CONS: The Wi-Fi feature fails to maintain a consistent and reliable connection.

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 VERDICT: With 60 fps HD video and a long list of features, the Canon VIXIA tops our list of HD camcorders. It shoots in 1080p HD video at 60 frames per second and includes a strong feature set.

Whether you want to record your child's concert, film a movie with your friends or start a career as a YouTube vlogger, you need a full HD camcorder that gives you access to high-quality video and a range of simple tools. The Canon VIXIA HF R52 is our top choice for HD camcorders, thanks to its wide range of features and excellent resolution.

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As a continuation of the consumer line of VIXIA cameras, the R52 is simple to use, compact and affordable. Its many tools and features will give your videos a professional look without requiring hours of setup time on your part. It has a few quirks, like an unreliable Wi-Fi feature, but for its value and quality, the Canon VIXIA HF R52 is the best HD camcorder we reviewed and winner of our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.

Video & Image Quality

When looking for a high-definition camcorder, it's tempting to look for the video camera with the best resolution. While all of the HD cameras we reviewed film in 1080p, not all of them have a high frame rate or a choice of resolutions. Fortunately, the Canon VIXIA HF R52 has everything you need.

At its top settings, you can film in 1080p resolution with a 60p frame rate. The human eyes easily processes 30 frames per second, but as display technology improves, you'll start to notice horizontal lines on your TV from time to time. This is because the frame rate doesn't match the display capabilities. If you plan on putting your videos on DVD or Blu-ray, make sure to take full advantage of the 60 frames per second. However, if you are posting your videos to YouTube, you'll only need 30 frames per second. By setting the camera's bit rate to 60i or 30p, you'll save space on your memory card and have video that matches YouTube's current maximum upload settings.

No matter what the project, the R52 has a resolution and frame rate that best fits that situation. As you become more comfortable with your camera and more familiar with the various places to share your video, you'll easily be able to adjust the video settings as necessary.


The Canon VIXIA HF R52 is compact and light. With its included battery, it weighs just over 10 ounces. At 4.5 inches long, it will fit in most bags and purses. Gone are the days of massive tape-based cameras, weighing up to 10 pounds. The R52 includes a 3-inch touchscreen LCD display, a standard size for most HD camcorder viewfinders. All of the settings and tools are touch based, and the menus can be confusing if you've never used a camcorder like this. However, part of what makes this the best video camera is the simplicity in learning all of the different menus and settings. If you take some time to navigate the various screens, you'll get a strong understanding of how to fully utilize the camcorder.

Convenience Features

The Canon VIXIA HF R52 has all the features you need to create professional-looking videos, even if you know very little about filming. With its intelligent auto system, the camera will choose the best settings for your situation and keep everything clear and in focus for you. Its face-detection feature forces the camera to recognize and focus on faces, rather than motion, so you won't have to worry about the camera losing focus just because your subject moves around a lot.

The R52 takes SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards, and its double memory card slot means that you can keep filming, even when a card fills up. For added storage, it has 32GB of integrated storage, which will easily fit 2.5 hours of HD film.

Its standard battery is less impressive, only offering 1.5 hours of continuous recording, but you can buy high-capacity batteries that will last much longer. If you have a second battery, it's easy to swap one battery for the next so you can get right back to filming.

The camcorder comes with built-in Wi-Fi capabilities, and it has a compatible smartphone app that acts as a remote control. These features are excellent for people who want to film themselves and don't want to constantly walk back and forth to start and stop the recording. However, the Wi-Fi is unreliable, so you'll lose the connection much too frequently. Still, this is just an extra feature and doesn't affect the overall usage of the camcorder.

Help & Support

Canon could improve its support options, but we were still happy with the overall offerings. The VIXIA comes with a one-year warranty. You can download a new user manual on Canon's website or browse the troubleshooting and FAQs sections. Customer service is available by phone and email, and we had no trouble getting in touch with a representative and getting full answers to our questions.


The Canon VIXIA HF R52 is the best HD camcorder, offering high-end resolution and features. With its multiple resolution settings, you can adjust the film quality to match the platform on which you plan to share your video. All of its settings are accessible by the 3-inch touchscreen viewfinder, and after using the camera for a short period of time, you'll easily understand where to find all the features you want.

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