The Canon VIXIA HF G40 is the go-between camcorder that mixes portability with pro-level features. Compact like the other options in the VIXIA line, the G40 includes advanced features like manual controls and a front focus ring.
Recording 1080p video, the G40 captures a smooth 60 fps frame rate. The bright f/1.8-2.8 lens offers a nice 20x optical zoom. Canon's Wide DR mode and highlight priority features will help the camcorder to capture a wider range of contrast. Expect solid low light performance down to 1.2 lux (or .1 lux at a 1/2 shutter speed).
While full of advanced features, the G40 weighs less than two pounds. The compact body still offers some advanced controls, including a front manual focus ring and a custom key and dial for quicker adjustments. There's also a large 3.5" touchscreen as well as a viewfinder. The G40 includes several input and output ports, including mic, LANC and HDMI terminals.
The Canon VIXIA HF G40 looks like a solid performer--but at the $1,299 price point, we're surprised Canon hasn't upped the resolution to 4K. Both Sony and Panasonic offer $1,000ish 4K camcorders. Sony's AX53 has a better five channel mic instead of two, through the lens isn't as bright. The Panasonic VX-981 offers 4K and a twin camera system, as well as an HDR mode.