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Canon VIXIA HF M500

High-definition camcorder

6 Reviews

Item # 280HFM500

This item is no longer available.

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Our take on the Canon VIXIA HF M500

Lucky you. The romantic getaway of a lifetime in Southeast Asia. And today you rode an elephant! Won't that be the talk of the town when you get home. Fortunately you'll be able to prove your adventure, and many more like it, with the Canon VIXIA HF M500 you're carrying in the palm of your hand.

The Canon VIXIA HF M500

The Canon VIXIA M500 is the perfect camcorder for sharing your active life

Guess where I am?

Lucky you. The romantic getaway of a lifetime in Southeast Asia. And today you rode an elephant! Won't that be the talk of the town when you get home. Fortunately you'll be able to prove your adventure, and many more like it, with the Canon VIXIA HF M500 you're carrying in the palm of your hand.

This camcorder is just the kind of tool you'll want to have on hand for fast-paced moments on the road. It's equipped for the long haul, lightweight, versatile, and feature-packed.

Way beyond basic

The M500 isn't your pedestrian no-frills camcorder. It's got a 10X optical zoom lens that gets you all the way from a sweeping establishing shot of the temple complex to a tight close up of a chanting, saffron-robed monk. Sophisticated image stabilization that senses what you're doing — walking, zooming, shooting macro — cancels out handheld shakes and motion blur. The large 1/3" CMOS sensor shoots a native 1920 x 1080 pixel field, guaranteeing top-flight light sensitivity. Your pictures will take on a whole new life and vibrancy, even with available light at dusk and indoors.

The M500 features a generous 3-inch touchscreen for intuitive control and focusing

The M500 features a generous 3-inch touchscreen for intuitive control and focusing

Unleash the muse

This camera not only reads your mind — it feeds it, too. On-board "story creation" software aids you in planning your shots, telling you when you need a close-up or a wide shot, and even how long the shot should be. Cinema-Look filters make your footage look old-timey, or vivid, or '70s-style nostalgic. And the Touch Decoration feature lets you add your own "fingerpainting" with clip-art elements and animated effects, all by way of the touchscreen LCD display. That water-taxi ride on the way back to your hotel could look like something out of a spy thriller — or your kid's favorite bedtime story.

SD Memory cards preserve your favorite shots

The M500 uses industry-standard SD memory cards. Affordable, reliable, and lightning-quick, you can add a 32GB SD card for almost 12 hours of recording at the highest-quality setting. Don't forget, you can swap out cards as needed. You know, that's an awful lot of memory handling ability. Even enough for an elephant.

    Storage and Formats:
    • records high-definition video and photos onto SD memory cards
    • takes optional SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards
    • maximum video resolution: 1920 x 1080
    • professional-level 1/3-inch native 1920 x 1080 CMOS sensor features excellent low-light sensitivity
    • advanced DIGIC DV III image processor
    • 10X optical zoom lens (200X digital zoom total)
    • 3" touch-panel widescreen LCD (230K dots)
    • Audio Scene Select offers five modes that automatically optimize settings based on the recording situation
    • four image stabilization systems optimize image in different shooting situations: Dynamic IS, Macro IS, Powered IS, and Tripod Mode IS
    • Cinema-Look Filter offers nine different built-in filters for creative looks
    • Touch & Track allows you to get precise focus and exposure on any subject
    • selectable 24p Cinema Mode for more filmlike video
    • record in 24mbps AVCHD for best quality, or in no-fuss MP4 for fast and easy upload to sharing sites
    • Story Creator provides a list of suggested scenes that have shooting tips so you can create your own productions
    • Touch Decoration lets you add a variety of images and animations to your videos
    • Smart Auto Mode chooses setting from up to 38 pre-set scenes, including portrait, sports, night scene, telemacro, beach, snow, and sunset
    • optional wireless and surround sound microphones available
    • includes Pixela Video Browser editing software
    Connections and Dimensions:
    • high-speed USB interface (cable included)
    • mini HDMI and component video outputs for connection to an HDTV (cables included)
    • microphone and headphone jacks
    • comes with an AC adapter/charger and rechargeable lithium ion battery (BP-718)
    • 2-3/4"W x 2-1/2"H x 4-13/16"D
    • weight: 10.9 oz. without battery
    • warranty: 1 year
    • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

    What's in the Box:

    • Flash memory camcorder (black)
    • BP-718 Lithium-Ion battery (3.6V/1790mAh/6.5Wh)
    • CA-110 AC Power adapter with attached 68" DC output cord (DC output: 5.3V/1.5A)
    • 5' HDMI cable (with full-size HDMI plug on one end and a mini-HDMI plug on the other end)
    • 2' USB cable with Mini USB Ver.2.0 connector on one end and Type-A USB connector on other end
    • Stylus Pen
    • Pixela Transfer Utility Ver.2.0 disc
    • VIXIA Software/Instruction Manual Disc
    • Quick Guide (En/Fr/Sp)
    • Transfer Utility Startup Guide (En/Fr/Sp/+4 others)
    • Register Now card
    • Limited Warranty card

    This camcorder is amazing. Unbelievable video, killer built-in microphone and tons of manual control options including exposure, focus gain and audio levels.

    Coyote Pass Prods., Altadena, CA


    Canon VIXIA HF M500 Reviews

    Average Customer Review(s):

    (6 Reviews)

    Awesome little camcorder. A lot of bang for the buck!

    Coyote Pass Prods. from Altadena, CA on 2/12/2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    This camcorder is amazing. Unbelievable video, killer built-in microphone and tons of manual control options including exposure, focus gain and audio levels.

    Pros: Great video quality, great audio options, tons of manual control.

    Cons: No time code of any kind.

    Simply AMAZING!

    DanH from Erie, PA on 12/16/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I upgraded from a Sony Handycam (SD) camcorder to this one. The video quality of this camera is absolutely amazing! I was looking at more expensive cameras with WiFi and built in memory before I saw this one. I don't really see a need for the WiFi. The video files are so large that it would take forever to upload them using it without making the file smaller (which I use HandBrake and it doesn't lose any quality at all). The built in memory wouldn't last long at all, so I went with this one. Very happy I did! Shipping was very fast and arrived nicely packaged. This was my first purchase from won't be my last!

    Pros: Everything!

    Cons: Nothing!

    I love it!

    Shon T from Langley BC on 11/12/2012

    Great camera! I have a Canon 7D but wanted a camera for just doing video. Whether you're shooting HD footage for editing or just need instant web-ready mp4, there are plenty of options and record modes.

    Pros: Ease of use, image quality

    Cons: No remote included.

    Good wntry level camera

    Atomic77 from New York, NY on 9/7/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I was expecting a better camcorder from Canon. Video quality is good, however, the controls are overly simplified and settings are constrained. (e.g. you have only 3 video quality choices). Zoom range could be a lot better. I was between this and the Vixia HF R300, which has a much better zoom range but very poor low light performance. If low light is not a problem then go for the cheaper R300, the zoom range and savings will be welcomed. One more tip of advise, avoid the other models that have internal memory and wifi. It is far more convenient to plug a SD card directly to your computer than using cables, and Wifi sounds cool but is way more cumbersome to setup and use than using the SD card.

    Pros: Video Quality Low light performance

    Cons: Price Setting options Zoom range

    NO timestamp will upload to PC

    BretD from KC Mo on 7/23/2012

    NO timestamps will upload to PC canon has a decent a picture and NOTHING else - this is the most un-user friendly camera (as are all the vixia canons I tried) - that I have ever seen. After hours of figuring out how it all worked, I realized the timestamp was not uploading. After 2 hours on the phone with canon tech support - I was told it just will not work - so NO timestamps will upload to PC - even though you can see the stamp on your camera it will not upload in Windows 7 or Vista. I did not try XP, but doubt it will work there either. Canon supprt was also unable to tell me of any software that would save the timestamp Again - very unfriendly camera and NO timestamps will upload to PC

    Pros: picture

    Cons: user friendly and no datastamp will upload

    Awesome camera!

    bagglady from Connecticut on 4/7/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Only had for a day, but am loving every minute of it. Easy to use, very solid performance. Low light works unbelievably well. Practically no noise, especially when I put the camera in 30P or 24P record mode. Great all around camera!!

    Pros: Low light, zoom stabilization, touch screen, ease of use, picture quality!

    Cons: No wide angle, but really it's not bad! I like getting close to my subjects anyway.


    Hands-on research

    Product Research

    General Features
    Video Camcorder Features
    Digital Still Camera Features
    Battery Information
    Inputs And Outputs
    Included Software

    General Features

    Overview: The Canon VIXIA HF M500 Flash Memory camcorder shoots high definition video or digital photos that can be stored on optional SD, SDHC, or SDXC Memory Cards. You can store nearly 3 hours of HD video at the highest resolution on an inserted 32 GB memory card. SD cards rated at Speed Class 4, 6, or 10 are recommended.

    Image Sensor: The HF M500 features a 1/3" Full HD CMOS Pro Image Sensor, the same image sensor found in Canon's professional camcorders. Compared to the sensor in Canon's 2011 VIXIA camcorders, this image sensor allows 20% higher light transmittance for improved low-light performance. This image sensor has 2.37 total megapixels, and 2.07 effective megapixels for video and photo recording.

    3" Widescreen Touch Panel LCD: The HF M500 features a 3" TFT color widescreen LCD touch screen (230,000 dots) to make it easy to compose and review your shots. The bright screen lets you see exactly what your camcorder is recording, and what your widescreen TV will display later. You can rotate the LCD screen 270° allowing the subject to monitor the LCD screen. The LCD screen also features an adjustable brightness control. The LCD Screen's frame contains zoom, playback and menu controls for added convenience.

    Note: There is no additional viewfinder on this camcorder.

    Recording Formats: The camcorder records movies in AVCHD (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264) for high-quality viewing on an HDTV or archiving, or in the MP4 format for easy sharing with mobile devices or cloud applications. Audio is recorded in Dolby Digital 2-channel, using the built-in microphone. The camcorder can record in Dolby Digital 5.1 channel if the optional SM-V1 Surround Microphone is used. Still photos are recorded at a fixed resolution of 1920 x 1080 in JPEG format.

    DIGIC DV III: DIGIC DV III, Canon's advanced HD image processor, delivers enhanced image quality, true color production for both video and photos, and a sophisticated noise reduction system for exceptional low-light performance. Its high-speed engine powers a variety of Canon technologies, such as the Genuine Canon Face Detection and Advanced Auto Exposure system. DIGIC DV III allows continuous shooting of digital photos, faster processing to the memory, as well as lower power consumption for longer battery life.

    Genuine Canon HD Video Lens: The HF M500 is equipped with a Genuine Canon 10x HD video lens with a focal length of 43.6-436mm (35mm equivalent). This high performance lens uses low-dispersion glass with a super spectra coating. The iris diaphragm, normally found only on professional-level camcorders, produces highly expressive video with sharply focused subjects with beautifully backgrounds.

    Zoom Speed: The zoom speed can be set to variable or one of three fixed speeds. In the variable position, the zoom speed depends on how far you push the lever. The purpose of the three fixed zoom speeds is a smoother zoom transition, at your choice of speeds.

    Intelligent IS (Image Stabilizer): The HF M500 features Intelligent IS for clear, sharply focused video, even in situations that typically cause camera shake. The Intelligent IS system analyzes the shooting situation and automatically switches to one of four stabilization methods:

    • Dynamic IS: corrects minor movement and the shaking caused by walking while shooting
    • Macro IS: for perfectly steady close-up shots
    • Powered IS: for use when zooming, correcting shake that can occur in telephoto shots
    • Tripod Mode IS: for use when the camcorder is stationary

    x.v.Color: The camcorder can be set to x.v.Color to record video that uses a color space with an extended gamut to achieve deeper colors, closer to real life. Video recorded with x.v.Color can only be played back properly on HDTVs compatible with x.v.Color via an HDMI cable.

    Video Snapshot: The camcorder's Video Snapshot mode lets you shoot a series of short video clips, then combines them with a pre-recorded music track or your own favorite music track, to create an entertaining movie. You can select the length of the video snapshot scenes: 2 sec, 4 sec or 8 sec.

    Face Detection: The camcorder can automatically detect people's faces and use this information to adjust the focus and set the best exposure and color control settings for beautiful videos and photos. When there are a number of people in the picture, one person will be determined to be the main subject. You can also select the main subject manually.

    Exposure Modes: The HF M500 features several exposure modes, each depending upon how much control you have over recording-related settings:

    • Smart Auto: The Smart Auto setting automatically selects the best settings for the scene you want to shoot. You get spectacular recordings every time without worrying about the settings.
    • Programmed AE: The camcorder automatically adjusts the aperture and shutter speed to obtain the optimal exposure for the subject.
    • Shutter Priority: The shutter speed is manually set and the camcorder automatically adjusts the aperture to obtain the optimal exposure for the subject.
    • Aperture Priority: The aperture is manually set and the camcorder automatically adjusts the shutter speed to obtain the optimal exposure for the subject.
    • Cinema Mode: The Cinema Mode gives your recordings a cinematic look. You can select a 24fps progressive frame rate to enhance the effect.
    • Special Scene Recording Modes: The camcorder features the following Preset Scene Recording Modes to match special conditions: Portrait, Sports, Snow, Beach, Sunset, Night, Low Light, Spotlight, Fireworks, Underwater, and Surface. (For Underwater and Surface, the WP-V4 Waterproof Case is required.)

    White Balance: The camcorder's white balance system helps you accurately reproduce colors under different lighting conditions so that white objects will always look truly white in your recordings. You can choose from the following modes: Automatic, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Tungsten, and Custom WB.

    Cinema-Look Filters: The HF M500 allows you to record with the following cinema-look filters: Cinema Standard, Vivid, Dream, Cool, Nostalgic, Sepia, Old Movies, Memory, and Dramatic B&W.

    Digital Effects: When shooting videos, you can select a fade or wipe to begin and end a scene. The fader can be activated only one time, or every time you start/stop recording.

    Self-Timer: This feature allows the camcorder to start recording after a 10-second countdown. When using the wireless remote control, the delay is two seconds.

    Video Camcorder Features

    Recording Modes: The camcorder offers five video recording modes for AVCHD (MXP, FXP, XP+, SP and LP), and two for MP4 movies (9 Mbps and 4 Mbps). You can capture the following video recording times using these modes:

    Memory Card Size AVCHD Recording Mode
    1920 x 1080 (16:9) 1440 x 1080 (4:3)
    24 Mbps
    17 Mbps
    12 Mbps
    7 Mbps
    5 Mbps
    4 GB 20 min 30 min 40 min 1 hr 10 min 1 hr 30 min
    8 GB 40 min 1 hr 1 hr 25 min 2 hrs 20 min 3 hrs
    16 GB 1 hr 25 min 2 hrs 5 min 2 hrs 50 min 4 hrs 45 min 6 hrs 5 min
    32 GB 2 hrs 55 min 4 hrs 10 min 5 hrs 45 min 9 hrs 35 min 12 hrs 15 min
    Memory Card Size MP4 Recording Mode
    1280 x 720
    9 Mbps 4 Mbps
    4 GB 55 min 2 hr 5 min
    8 GB 1 hr 50 min 4 hrs 10 min
    16 GB 3 hrs 50 min 8 hrs 25 min
    32 GB 7 hrs 40 min 16 hrs 55 min

    Pre-Recording: When Pre-Recording is activated, the camcorder starts recording video continuously into a temporary 3-second memory. When you press the Start/Stop button, the scene recorded will have started 3 seconds before you started shooting. This is especially useful when it is difficult to predict when to start recording.

    Audio Settings: The HF M500 lets you select from six Audio Scene Settings, including a Custom Setting that lets you adjust the audio settings to your liking. You can choose from Standard, Music, Speech, Forest and Birds, Noise Suppression, and Custom. In addition, you can adjust the audio equalizer by choosing from the following settings: Normal, Boost LF Range, Low Cut Filter, Boost MF Range, and Boost HF+LF Range.

    Wind Screen: The camcorder automatically reduces the background sound of wind when recording outdoors when Wind Screen is turned to "Automatic."

    Mini Advanced Shoe: The top-mounted Mini Advanced Shoe lets you attach to the camcorder a range of optional accessories to expand its functionality. You use the Mini Advanced Shoe to attached the optional SM-V1 Surround Microphone, DM-100 Directional Stereo Microphone, VL-5 Video Light, or the VFL-2 Video Flash Light.

    Microphone: The HF M500 has a built-in stereo electret condenser microphone. You can change the directionality of the built-in microphone to have more control over how sound is recorded. You can choose from Monaural, Normal (stereo), Wide, or Zoom. In addition, there is a 3.5mm stereo minijack for adding an optional microphone.

    Built-in Speaker: The camcorder has a built-in speaker so you can review the soundtrack as well as the picture when you're using the LCD screen to playback a recording. The built-in speaker is monaural.

    Playback Functions: The camera uses the following special playback modes: Fast Playback (5x, 15x, or 60x) in either direction, Slow Playback (1/8x or 1/4x) in either direction, and Frame-by-Frame Playback. During these playback modes there is no sound.

    Video Snapshots/Photos From Recorded Movies: You can record video snapshot scenes and still photos from a recorded movie. The size of the captured photos will be 1920 x 1080.

    Story Creator:  Story Creator is a helpful function that offers suggestions for typical scenes in a number of situations. With Story Creator, creating interesting video stories is as easy as selecting one of the story themes, such as Travel, Party, or Kids & Pets, and following the suggested categories to record video. During playback, you can select your story from the gallery to play back the scenes you recorded as a single, compelling video story.

    Digital Still Camera Features

    Still Image Recording: The HF M500 flash memory camcorder is also a high performance digital camera capable of capturing stunning photos onto an optional SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card. Photos are recorded at 1920 x 1080 only. The number of still images that can be recorded on a 1 GB SD memory card is approximately 670.

    Viewing Still Images: There are 3 ways to view still images: Single image, Slide show (one after the other automatically in order of recording), or Index screen showing 6 images or 15 images at once.

    Battery Information

    Lithium-Ion Battery Pack: The Canon HF M500 comes supplied with a rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery Pack (BP-718). The optional BP-727 battery is also available. The camcorder also comes supplied with an AC power adapter and charger (CA-110). The battery recording and playback times are as follows:

    Battery Pack Function Performance Charging Time
    BP-718 Maximum Rec 115-120 min 310 min
    Typical Rec 75 min
    Playback 170-185 min
    BP-727 Maximum Rec 170-180 min 450 min
    Typical Rec 110-115 min
    Playback 255-275 min

    Note: The times above vary depending upon the recording mode.

    Auto Power Off: After 5 minutes without any operation when powered by the battery, the camcorder automatically powers off. Approximately 30 seconds before the camcorder automatically turns itself off, a warning message appears in the display.

    Inputs And Outputs

    HDMI Output: The HF M500 features a mini-HDMI (Type C) terminal that offers a high-quality digital connection that combines audio and video in a single convenient cable. The HDMI port is compatible with HDMI-CEC (Consumer Electronics Control), allowing you in many cases to control the camcorder with the remote control of the connected TV. It is also compatible with x.v.color. A 59" HDMI cable is included.

    AV Output: The camcorder features an AV output to playback audio and video on your television using the supplied STV-250N composite video/stereo audio RCA cable. You can select between a 4:3 aspect ratio or a 16:9 aspect ratio for the video out based on your television's aspect ratio. The AV Output also doubles as a headphone output (selectable in the menu). The built-in speaker will be muted when headphones or the AV cable are plugged in.

    USB 2.0 Connection: The camcorder features a USB 2.0 High Speed terminal for fast transfer of photos and videos.

    Microphone Input: In addition to the camcorder's built-in microphone, the HF M500 features a 3.5mm microphone input for connecting an external microphone, such as the Canon WM-V1 Wireless Microphone.

    Included Software

    Included Software: The Canon HF M500 camcorder comes supplied with two CD-ROM application discs: PIXELA Transfer Utility Ver.2.0, and the VIXIA Disc with ImageBrowser EX, Music Data, and Image Mix Data programs:

    • Transfer Utility: Transfer Utility offers basic options for saving AVCHD movies on the computer, uploading movies to the web, transferring previously saved movies back to the camcorder's memory card, and transferring music files to a memory card. Transfer Utility is only compatible with Windows Operating Systems.
    • ImageBrowser EX: ImageBrowser EX lets you save MP4 movies and photos to your computer and easily organize them. Compatible with Windows 7 (SP1), Vista (SP2), and XP (SP3), as well as Mac OS X v10.6.
    • Music Data: Music files that can be used as background music during playback.
    • Image Mix Data: Image files that can be used with the image mix function.

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