Canon is continuing the tradition of modest updates for the Vixia HF consumer camcorder line -- and that's okay, if you're looking for an affordable camcorder.
Like earlier models, the Vixia R82 uses a 1/4.85 inch sensor coupled with a pretty decent 32x optical zoom and 57x hybrid zoom, along with optical stabilization to help to hold such a big zoom. The camera's body style remains similar as well, using a small handheld form and a flip out touchscreen LCD. Like the 2016 models, the camera also has wi-fi and NFC, which can be used for live streaming or giving the camera double duty, like using it as a video baby monitor (while connected to a power outlet).
But, Canon is upping the quality when it comes to tricky lighting -- a new Backlight Compensation feature helps users to avoid creating a silhouette when the light is coming from behind the subject -- even without using the camera's built-in manual exposure modes. From what we've seen of similar features on other brands, the feature is a nice boost for shooting in auto.
Slow motion is also a new feature for the 2017 options. While Canon's Flexible Slow and Fast motion options were previously available on higher priced camcorders, the feature is new for the budget line.
The Canon Vixia HF R82 is a modest camcorder -- and depending on how you look it, that $449 price is either a bit high or just right. If you want to drive that price even lower, the R80 offers the same features but with half the built-in storage for $50 less while the $299 R800 boasts the same imaging power but without internal storage or the wi-fi connection. Still, there are several options for around the $400 price point, including action cameras like the 4K capable voice enabled GoPro Hero 5 Black or the twin camera Panasonic 850. Fewer manufacturers are making mainstream camcorders -- opting instead for high-end 4K or action cameras -- so if you need a camcorder with more zoom than your smartphone can handle, the Canon R82 is a good -- if modest -- option.