Canon Vixia HV40 Video Camcorder Review

The Canon Vixia HV40.

Different strokes for different folks. :)

canon vixia hv40

Canon Vixia HV 40 consumer-grade video camcorder

The Canon line of Vixia camcorders features a lot of variety and innovation.  As a longtime lover of video cameras, I’ve always respected Canon products and the Vixia HV40 has a lot to offer for the right person.  Canon promotes it to budding independent film makers and others who want to put a bit more creative artistry and passion into their videos.

Are you that kind of video maker?

One feature the HV 40 has to appeal to this audience is the ability to choose frame rates that helps  make video simulate the softer look of film.  Shooting in these frame rates also makes transfer between film and video more practical.

Standard video is 30 frames per second (well, 29.97 really but let’s not be picky) and film plays at 24 frames per second.  Some video cameras allow you to mimic film by giving you an option to shoot using the “24p cinema mode” for a more film-like look.

People who want a video camera as a casual point-and-shoot camera honestly would not want to mess with such a feature but it truly is important to those who desire the artistic options.

 

The HV 40 gives the user four choices for recording frame rate:

  • 60i,
  • Native 24p Progressive (records at 24p),
  • 24p Progressive (records at 60i),
  • 30p Progressive (records at 60i)

RECORDS ON HD MINI DV TAPES

The HV40 records on mini DV tape, which is a long standing, and extremely popular format stubbornly held onto by many. I personally love mini DV. :) Sticking with mini DV can be advantageous, especially if you still have lots of mini DV equipment. On the editing sides, mini DV offers universal compatibility with existing technology. Mini DV is reliable, looks great and is easy to archive.

However mini DV, and tapes in general, are a format a lot of forward thinking people would say is a dying format so why  invest in it? I personally say that dire attituude is too negative and would just as soon  mini DV never die out completely.

Another feature made to appeal to the budding indie filmmaker, the Vixia HV40 captures a large, high def image:  1920 x 1080 high definition video.

The HV40 video camera uses higher-grade, more expensive internal parts, including the more professional 2.96Mp CMOS sensor along with the DIGIC DV II Image Processor.

If your video is destined for online use, this camera has the flexibility to shoot standard definition video as well as high def.

If you need stills, the camcorder captures 3.1Mp still images to mini SD cards.

I must say, Canon knows its audience and designs cameras aimed at a particular audience.

For convenience, the HV40 also has a built-in flash for often need supplemental light. From an artistic standpoint, that light will be flat and harsh but it is better than nothing in many situations.

For better artistic control, you can attach external lights via the Advanced Accessory Shoe which provides phantom power to your accessory.

The lens seems pretty basic with a 10x optical and 200x digital.

If you’d like to check out the Vixia HV40 at B&H Photo click here

 

canon vixia hv40

Canon Vixia HV 40

Specifications for the Vixia HV40

Standard Definition or High Definition High Definition
Power Consumption 4.3 W
Television System:   NTSC
Video Recording system:   MPEG2
Image Sensor 1/2.7-inch CMOS, RGB Primary Color Filter
Total Pixels Approx. 2.96 Megapixels
Effective Pixels Tape: HD/DV (16:9) mode: Approx 2.07 Megapixels (1920×1080)
DV (4:3) mode: Approx 1.55 Megapixels (1440 x 1080)
Card: (16:9) mode: Approx. 2.07 Megapixels (1920 x 1080), (4:3) mode: Approx. 2.76 Megapixels (1440 x 1080)
Tape Format:   HDV / DV
Maximum recording Time SP: 80 minutes, HDV, DV
LP: 120 minutes DV

Lens:

Zoom Ratio 10x Optical / 200x Digital
Focal Length f=6.1-61mm (35mm equivalent: 43.6 – 436mm)
Zoom Speed Variable / 3 Fixed Zoom Speeds
Max. F/Stop f/1.8-3.0mm (when tapes are used)
Focusing System Instant AF, TTL (through the lens)
Manual Exposure:   Yes
Programmed: AE Auto, Program, Av, Tv, CINE, Portrait, Sports, Night, Snow, Beach, Sunset, Spotlight, Fireworks
Max Shutter Speed:  Movie: 1/2000, Still image: 1/500
Auto Date/Time:   Yes
Record Search/Review:   Yes
Focusing System: 10 mm (wide) / 1m (tele)
White Balance:  Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Manual
Frame Rate: 60i, Native 24p Progressive (records at 24p), 24p Progressive (records at 60i), 30p Progressive (records at 60i)
Minimum Illumination:   0.2 lx (Night Mode)
Image Stabilization:   SuperRange Optical (lens shift)
Lens Filter Diameter:   43mm
Viewfinder:   Widescreen 0.27-inch Color Viewfinder / (Approx. 123,000 dots)
LCD Screen:   2.7-inch Widescreen LCD (Approx. 211,000 dots)
Recording Media:   High Definition Mini DV (recommended) (63 min) or MiniDV cassette
USB Terminal:  USB 2.0 Full Speed
Video Terminal: component (output), composite (output)
Audio:   DV: 16 bit (2ch) 48 kHz 12 bit (4ch) 32 kHz 4ch synchronous recording not possible HDV: MPEG1 Audio Layer II (2 ch) (4-channel playback of tapes containing 4-channel recordings possible)
Accessory Shoe:   Advanced
Supplied Video Editing Software:   None
HDMI Terminal:   HDMI Type A (19 pins) Connector (output)
Microphone Terminal:   3.5 mm stereo mini-jack
AV Mini Terminal/Headphone Terminal:   3.5 mm 4 pole mini-jack (video/audio input and output)
Dimensions (W X H X D) 3.5 x 3.2 x 5.4 in. (88 x 82 x 138mm)
Weight (not including lens and battery pack) 1.2 lbs. (535g)
Weight 1.4 lbs. (615g)

Comments

  1. brett says:

    I used to use an older Panasonic mini dv camcorder. Decent quality but no connectivity to PC for editing. To edit I had to record to DVD using a DVR console connected to the TV, copy the files (.vob) to the PC, then convert the files to a format compatible with editing software… all just to begin editing. Nightmare! I’ve since used a mini Flip style camera, but wanting better quality.

    How would I connect the Vixia to my laptop – HDMI to HDMI?

  2. Hi Brett.

    Yes, that does sound like a royal pain in the tush! I am 99% positive that the HDMI is just for hooking it up to a TV so you can watch your video on the TV. To transfer to a computer for editing you’d use the firewire or USB2.

    I hope this helps!
    Lorraine

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