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Canon HF R400 Chromatic Aberration and Blocking Zooming, Hard Time Focusing, LCD Display GUI


An otherwise nice cam for the price point especially end-of-the model year. I'm going to keep for primarily shooting youtube collectibles in a controlled environment of clamp lights with diffusers and either Auto White Balance or 'P' mode.


1. In my optical zoom tests (it's nice there's four speed options. I use number 3. The cam exhibits a lot of chromatic aberration which is purple, white ,or even green fringing around the subject matter. I shot of a telephone pole transformer box in bright light, the sky behind it, tree branches and snow on hedges in winter.


2. On a couple occasions when I zoomed in from about estimated 100-150yds the sky exhibited large blocky pixels for a second. But if I took it to an amusement park to shoot roller coasters I'd hold my breath for both reasons.


3. It has a hard time adjusting focus when zoomed in even from a close 1-6ft distance to record detail of collectibles or leaves on bushes etc.


4. The amount of display items on the LCD GUI is too much. Even the cheap Samsung F90 has a button to turn it off. Am I missing something. I read the 197pg PDF manual. Is there a way to turn off or at least reduce the number of items I don't need to see in order to actually shoot a video/picture? In still life tests. I had to take photos with the cam. Look at them. Then adjust. Then repeat. Just to see the composition. Kind of like in the day when pro photographers would take Polaroids prior to the film shot.


Note: If I'm allow to post youtube links or at least the titles of the videos to demonstrate in the near future when I upload examples of the Likes and Dislikes of my purchase I'd like to know from a Canon moderator (thanx in advance).







Hi ElectroT2!

Thanks for posting.


Chromatic aberration is not always something that can be completely eliminated.  It most often appears when shooting a subject in the foreground that highly contrasts with the background  Chromatic aberration is caused by a lens having a different refractive index for different wavelengths of light.  Because each hue in the spectrum is not focused at a single point, colored halos or fringing appears.  There are two types of chromatic aberration:  longitudinal, where different wavelengths are focused at different distances from the lens, and lateral, where different wavelengths are focused at different positions on the focal plane.


Are you zooming optically or digitally when you see the "blockiness" in the image?  If digital zoom is being used, it would explain why you see it.  Digital zoom appears as the light blue area of the zoom bar.  When you zoom digitally, the image is basically cropped and expanded more and more as you zoom.  Because of this, the image quality will deteriorate the more you zoom in.  You can select the type of zoom used in the settings menu under [Zoom Type].


Autofocus may not work well on the following subjects:


- Reflective surfaces

- Subjects with low contrast or without vertical lines

- Fast moving subjects

- Through wet windows

- Night scenes


You can always adjust the focus manually by selecting [HF R400 - Manual Focus 1.png Focus] in the menu.  You can then touch a subject that appears inside the HF R400 - Manual Focus 1.png frame, then touch and hold HF R400 - Manual Focus 2.png to adjust focus.  When it is focused where you want it, then touch [ X ] to lock the focus.  Something that may help you is when you are focusing manually, you can touch inside the frame to automatically focus on that spot to help you with the adjustment process.


As for the onscreen displays you are describing, they cannot be disabled so that only the subject appears on the LCD.  You can, however, keep them from being displayed when the camcorder is connected to an external monitor.  The setting is in the menu under the HF R400 - Menu Tab 1.png tab.  It is called [Output Onscreen Displays].


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Hi- Thanks for your official feedback.


I knew what chomomatic aberration was caused by. Thanks for the clear succinct explaination though so I can explain it to others. Yes it mainly shows up when zoooming.. Objects like snow. A transformer on tlephone pole against the sky. Bare tree branches agianst ssky. Bright highlights on objects of any type. Even a C3PO action figure under stiduo lights. Street signs


The blocking occurs whether zoomed in or not. Mostly zooming into the zooom test of the transformer against the sky at just 32x optical. I recently did a comparison test of 53x advanced (which fairly solid actually) and the over the top 1060x. With and without a tripod.


The cam can't hold focus at full telephoto. I have to dropit down a notch.


As for focus. I hold my breath when I shoot something. I've shot none of the instances you described. I have panned collectibles on a tripod or Hand held in a studio setting with proper lighting. When you get close-up or zoom in then sowly pan it'll have problems figuring out what to focus on. Perhaps understandable so. but the Sony CX220 and the el cheapo Samsung F90 don't at 1280x720. Teh Canon does do better at 17Mbps and above. As an aside the Sony is 6Mbps and Samsung 8Mbps at 720 is what QuickTime Info says fwiw.


I shot  a snowy backyard scene yesterday. Auto was better than snow mode. It couldn't hold focus a few times. You relly can't zooom all the way telephoto slow or otherwise even at 32x. It happened no matter wha the distance. Hand held or tripod.


The GUI not be able to be turned off. Wow. I've had to snap 2-3 pics in a row just so they would go away for a second. Or go thru to the pic index and look at them liek pro phtotographers would look at Polaroids prior to shooting film. just to see what a still life setup will look like. I do like the Level option with a small centering line. the grid lines are otherwise too thick. the Sony CX220 is the correct thickness.


On another note, I use Image Capture that came with my Mac to download JPGs and MP4. My Os is older so ImageBrowser ex won't work with it. Just an fyi if anyone runs into that porblem. You can't se or download AVCHD that way.


It leads me to a question why the Canon with an SD card in it doesn't show up as a drag and drop drive on the Desktop. The samsung and Sony do.


The focus, loaded GUI, and abberation if I shot outdoors at amsusement parks like I have in the past could be a deal breaker if there were a competitive cam at the price point. Otherwise it's a solid cam that feels like a half step up from the Sony CX220/30


I'd also like to mention I wish it didnt' have the washed out so-called 70's TV show mode or Blue Tint mode. I would've preferred a contemporary bleach bypass look with deep blacks, contrast and destaruated colors. Or something similar that's been propular in movies, That describes Saving Private Ryan which is also grainy. So maybe not that far. But Bourne Identity-look might be more like it. A style or two that the Magic Bullett software accomplishes for example. Or a warm tone that works with weddings.


Just customer feedback. My freinds has the VIXIA HF G10 32GB Flash Memory Camcorder - Black  $1,300 - 2012 I used it once last year. But didn't get to know the cam. It's something I'd like to compare. but he lives 4hrs away now.




A very timely post.  I am considering the R400 for filming deer in the wild.  It appears that the Auto Focus may choose to focus on the surrounding vegatation instead of the deer.  Your manual focus instructions should be the ticket.  What do you think?


Yes. first of all I should say to Canon I'm glad they have this forum to post our thoughts. It appears I reiterated some info in a recent post. I had forgotten about this one.


But I really don't want to slam the camcorder too much for the price. Everyone has their pet peeves, what they're used to using, how sensitive, a users reasons for shooting certain situations, and tolerance etc. Or whether they notice something or not. Especially at the low end price point.


But as far as the deer. I would have liked to spent more time shooting outdoors. It was way too cold and frankly I'm sure about taking any cam outdoors then indoors. I don't know what it would do to it. However you see bird watchers with mega dollar DSLR's and telephoto lenses in sub zero weather. I wasn't going to take the chance. We have deer around here but you only see them at night. Walking down the sidewalk once to go to the end of the street where a guy puts beds of leaves for 14 of them!


I uploded Full HD video of a female spotted starling from 20ft away indoors POV to the tree where it was perched. Hand held and a tripod. It sat there a while in the freezing cold. The pic suffers a lot from chromatic aberration becasue of the full zoom and bright higlights. Purple and green on the feathers and green around the branches. I show a medium shot that's nice with the birds in focus and background not just the way it should be. Whenever I zoomed past 3/4 in any situation the cam lost focus. So I stopped it there.


You can see my current paylist of videos here. I'm adding more demo footage because I was hainvg a good time shooting yet frustrated with a Canon, Sony, and the pathetic Samsung even at the price point


I did shoot a Canon zoom test on a tripod indoors to a set of transformers 100 yards away against a clear or dreary sky with and without harsh highlights. But I don't have that up yet. I can tell you I could only go 3/4 zoom before it lost focus. Manual focus wouldn't have mattered at that distance becasue it wouldn't be in focus in the first place full zoom as stated above.


I shot a lot more subjects close-up in a small studio setting which most people won't. But even then I could only go 3/4 zoom before it out of focus. Or hand held if I would move in on something closely. It drove me up the wall. The Sony CX220 held focus with its Carl Zeiss lens. It made a constant auto focus noise, wide angle lens barrel distortion, and difficult joystick menu nevigation deal breakers fwiw. I have more footage of that I could eventually post.


Someone else on youtube shows how you can focus on a branch of leaves then manually switch focus to rocks behind it for example with the Canon. but yeah dependng on the situtation I've heard of even the high end G20 having a tough time figuring out what to auto focus on. thing is you don't alway have the time to manually focus. But with deer on a tripod you may.


btw, the pixelized blocking I mentioned above happens at 1280x720 in certain situations. I have examples that aren't up and may never be. It may be strictly situational and may not show up all the time. But some pans and clear sky zooms definitely showed it.



That's why I made sure to put up good looking Full HD first. I may not even put up any cons besides the chromo on the bird. But regardless I'm glad Canon has this forum to if, anything else, listen to customer feedback and see what we've shot with their cams and even compared to others in the same price range. Keeping in miind I was shooting specfic stuff. I have a lot of Star Wars collectibles that may be up later. Most of it looks fantastic manually white balanced. But it did go out of focus sometimes. And frankly I had a hard time seeing thru the cluttered LCD GUI to the point where I was looking at the fantasitc footage for the first itme when I watched it in QuickTime. It's like wow I wish I could have acutally seen that in the otherwise generously-sized LCD.


I know that doesn't specifically answer your question, but it's something real for you and Canon to think about.


Sidenote, one of these days I'll be able to use my freind's G10 he bought when I shared a rating of best cams to buy a couple years ago. I only used it once on a golf course. Frankly it's more cam than he needs but when you have money to thrw around ;


I'd give the Canon a try. Get it from a place that has a good return policy. It's got a really nice feature set with a 197 page manual.


It has the potential to be a really nice cam for you.