Pros + Quality is amazing
+ Great features
+ Image stabilization
+ Light weight
Cons - No built in memory
- Low light performance
Summary After months of research and price comparisons, I finally went with the Canon M300. So far, this camera is a champ! The quality (video and audio) is amazing.
I opted for the 300 over the 30 and 31 because the are the same camera except for the BUILT IN memory features. The 300 has no built in memory, however, a 16G card will only run you about $30 and give you over 2 hours of recordings at the 2nd highest setting! This turned out to be a savings of nearly $70 when compared to the M30 at 8G built in.
I am very cautious when buying a new camera and camcorder. I don't have a ton of money to just throw around so I need to make sure I'm buying a excellent quality product with great features. At $377, plus $30 for the 16G card this turned out to be a great value for a great product!
I'd like to address some concerns listed in other reviews:
The Menu Interface: yes, it's a little different, but after some practice it's no big deal. It's similar to the menu features of the Sony like from a few years ago, like the HC-96.
Low Light: Yep, it gets grainy in in-door low light, but it's doable, and can be corrected with manual settings. Outdoors at night the quality is better.
So far so good. This is a great camera for everyday, family shooting-vactions, kids, etc. With a few add ons you could probably shoot a wedding just fine.7
Pros I like the compact design and the fact I was able to get into HD for under 400.
Cons To access my memory card I have to make sure my tripod base plate that screws onto the camera has to be off to open the hatch. Never tried the software, I have an editing suite and know that is not what I am looking from Canon, it's their Lenses.
Summary Lens is great, the Zoom is stellar along the anti-shake when in using Zoom or Macro. Of course as with all camcorders an external mic is wise to get. But this camera gives you the ability to switch out it's flash memory depending on project. Just make sure you format teh memory and it has 6+ rating will do the trick F.Y.I. for HD.
One thing that it does not have and why it is cheaper is because it has no memory so if you forget your stick or fill it up and don't have a place to dump your stick or memory you are all done. But that too can be the same situation if you use up the internal memory with the more expensive model above it. (70 bucks more for small amount of memory) One Stick will cover that for a back-up for about 30 bucks and it keeps getting cheaper and cheaper for memory and quality.
I do love the fact you can attach an external screen to see your shot expanded beyond 2x3 and preview the shot at the take instead of later seeing there is a boom stick or light cord in the shot.
Pros Excellent quality at highest data rate. Mic input/headphone jack., great camera for those who can use manual settings and want quality.
Cons Automatic settings default to lower data rates. This can be fixed by shooting in manual mode.
Summary I like thIs camera. It produces beautiful images easily. I edit this footage on Final Cut with no problems.
I have many years of experience as a pro video shooter and I am impressed by what this camera can do.
Best Bang for the Buck! Period!
Pros Compact, easy to use. Touchscreen interface should be relatively easy for anyone familiar with iTouch/Iphone/iPad, PS3 or a newer Sony Blu-Ray player. Built in lens cover.
Cons The Imagemixer software that comes with the unit (and updates once installed) is unstable and really AWFUL! . Canon transfer apps crash EVERY TIME. Video files are MTS format so you can't just copy and use them like you can with a Flip.
Summary I really liked this camera when it came out of the box. I opened it, charged it, stuck an SD card into it and handed it to my wife and she immediately turned it on and started shooting video. I bought this thing because I wanted something that was simple, inexpensive, HD and all digital. My wife had startied using one of the kid's Flips instead of having to use DV tapes in our older camcorder. I have several computers with DVD or BD burners and regularly archive the kids Flip videos. ....I mean the whole idea is to play media on anything, right? DVD, BD or PC. Can you imagine buying a still camera today that ONLY has a proprietary image format? JPEG and MPEG are the norm and should be the default. Apparently, the camcorder consortium has a different plan.
When my wife got home from one of the kids recitals, I pulled the SD card out and stuck it into a computer. Uh oh. The file format. which cannot be set within the camcorder, is the new MTS format. I have a couple of programs that work with it, including Adobe Premiere Pro CS5, but nothing that will simply pull the files of the camera, convert them to mpeg-x and allow me to save them to DVD or my dedicated A/V computer. The software that came with the camcorder simply doesn't work! It DOES NOT WORK! I've updated, uninstalled and reinstalled a half dozen times and it still crashes whenever I try to push files to a DVD. And there is no simple translation utility that will take the files and convert them to mpeg while transferring them to your computer. That is just lame!
So...if you have software that works well with MTS files, this might be a good pick for you. It is really a pretty good camera. Great for the money. But until Canon does something to improve their software, STAY AWAY from this camera if you want the file transfer process to be simple.
Pros I am very surprised by the image quality on this camcorder. The image you can get is amazing on almost any situation. Plus is 1080p 24mbps, has great lens, instant auto focus, an amazing stabilizer with extra stabilization button. Very easy and light
Cons The only thing is not very good is the indoor quality. It can be grainy and have not the best image but with some editing you can reduce the grainy video or use a different configuration such as cine-mode which comes to be better on that situation.
Summary In summary I wouldn't have bought another camera because it was much cheaper than usual because I have found a good deal.
I'm so happy because I have exchanged from the Canon Vixia HF R100 which was a lot worse.
A new camera for $300 which includes an 8GB 10Mb/s SD Card and with Case is the best deal I could encounter.
Bought at Costco. The offer is already expired. I think the best price now is at least $399.99 but still a good deal. I just bought it because I couldn't pay any more than $300 or so.
So overall I would certainly recommend.