Pros Great sound quality, video && image quality, low light conditions not grainy.
Cons Expensive, short battery life.
Summary I love this camcorder! For so long I've been trying to find one that was great in low light, had a mic jack, had great sound quality, etc. I never expected the sound quality to be so good just by itself!
I am into music, so when I record I want it to be accurate and sound realistic. When I recorded and playbacked my music, everything sounded exactly how I heard it in real life.
The touchscreen is easy to use and there are a lot of features and color options. When recording in low light, I found it the best to use an option "Shade". It makes everything look very clear... more than the automatic setting. I also noticed that there's barely any grain when recording in low light. I recently bought 2 other camcorders but returned them because they were awfully grainy (one from Kodak and another from Panasonic).
The only thing that I don't like is the battery life. I wish they could've made it longer... around 3 1/2 to 4 hours at least. Instead it lasts around 2 hours.
Also, the camcorder was expensive but worth it in the end. I wanted something cheaper, but this is an upgraded version of the HF20. I am mostly using this camcorder for youtube recording, movies, etc. So i'm happy that this is HD and the quality is excellent. The low light & sound quality is one of the top reasons I chose to keep this. Hope this helped!
Pros Great image quality, unbeatable image stabilization, comfortable feel, very small and light weight, solid construction, enough bells and whistles to keep me happy.
Cons Touch screen is not sensitive enough and the touch screen menu is hard to see when you're trying to navigate through it due to your finger getting in the way. The battery life could be a bit longer.
Summary My wife and I did a lot of research before we purchased this camcorder, and I?m glad we did. Sure there are some cheaper camcorders out there, but the cost is well worth the quality in my opinion. Here?s a little expansion on the pros and cons. . .
The Pros. . .
It goes without saying that Canon provides great image quality. The picture on both the video and the still shots are clear, crisp and accurate.
The stabilization quality is one of the features that won me over on this camcorder. I was amazed to see how stable the picture was even when I had it zoomed all the way in to 300X, (with the ?Powered IS? engaged).
It is comfortable to hold, and quite light. The design is sleek and nothing feels cheap. Unlike other camcorders we researched, the LCD on the HFM30 flips out and around without feeling flimsy at all.
This camera offers the user the ability to manually fine-tune anything just the way they want it. It also offers a feature called ?Dual Shot? where the camera takes care of all the settings automatically. This is nice for those times when you don?t need the settings just so. The video quality in Dual Shot mode is actually quite good.
There are plenty of options and features to keep me happy without drowning me with too many useless content. I mainly use this camcorder for home video use and limited unprofessional video production, so I don?t need every bell and whistle there is to offer. This camcorder provides a good balance.
I also like the fact that this camcorder has 8 gigs of internal storage. This doesn?t offer a lot of recording time, especially if you record in the highest quality (about 45 minutes). But if you don?t mind transferring the recorded material to your computer ever so often and erasing it from the camcorder, 8 gigs works out pretty well.
The Cons. . .
My biggest complaint about this camcorder is that the touch screen is not very sensitive. It doesn?t respond well at all to my finger when I try to ?flip? the menu choices etc. I find that I have to use my fingernail in order to make it work. It works fine for my wife who has skinnier fingers than me. So maybe my fingers are just too fat to work well with this camcorder.
The other thing about the LCD display that I?m not a fan of is the fact that your finger inevitably gets in the way when you?re trying to navigate through the flip menu, which makes it hard to see what menu choice is currently highlighted. Again, maybe I just have fat fingers.
Because of its sleek design, the battery is a bit small, resulting in a short-ish life. At a full charge, I can squeeze about 100 minutes of life out of it. This isn?t continual recording, or playback time. It?s a mix of recording, playback, and messing around with the menus and features. The manual says that it will give you about 65 minutes of continual recording time, and about 2 hours 40 minutes of playback time. I haven?t put that to the test. I purchased a second battery as it?s always a good idea to have one that?s charged and ready to go. Which leads me to another con. . .
The only way you can charge the battery is if it?s connected to the camcorder. Most camcorders are also like this. If you do end up buying another battery, make sure to purchase a battery charger so you can have one charging while you use the other one in the camcorder.
One last con I found is that it can run a little warm to borderline hot on your hand if you tinker around with the features too long. It runs cool enough when it?s just recording or playing back recorded material. So if you like to tinker like I do, limit the time you spend doing it.
One thing that everybody seems to run into with any HD camcorder is transferring video to their computer and being able to play that material back. This is not so much a con of the camcorder as it is of the computer. I too have run into this problem. The good news for me is that I own a PlayStation 3 which accepts the HD content seamlessly. So I just hook the camcorder to the PS3 via the included USB cable, transfer the material onto the PS3's hard drive and it?s instantly ready for playback in beautiful HD. So my suggestion for you is either get a PS3, upgrade your computer, or buy a program that you can install on your computer that will recognize and accept the HD content. This is probably the cheapest way to go. They include a bare-bones video conversion/editing version with the camcorder. It?s not great.
All and all, I really like this camcorder. Enough to write this long of a review about it! Even though I listed more cons than pros, the pros very much outweigh the cons in my opinion. I don't have time to write down every single thing I like about this camcorder. But I did have time to write about every single thing I did NOT like. Hope this helps.
Pros Awesome video and sound quality!
Cons Stupid touch screen... can get grainy when filming in low lit settings
Easy computer connection (Mac)
Low memory for price
Summary This is a wonderful camcorder for its price class. It includes high end features that Sony camcorders could only dream of, yet it has a simplistic "auto mode" for novice shooters. The quality is amazing for its Class and the pictures are very good. The touchscreen swivels and rotates completely around for filming yourself. The design is compact and stylish with excellent button placement. It records in AVCHD which is an excellent HD video file to work with. It plays very well with a Mac, with iMovie and Final Cut. It also can download files directly to a PS3. It includes all necessary cables (component & composite) but the HDMI cable must be purchased separately. The touchscreen has a large learning curve and can be frustrating at times, but if you take it slow and make each press and swipe deliberate, it will work fine. The camera includes 8 GB of storage, expandable with an SD card. This is a little low for its price, but the features make up for it. The battery life is abysmal, although recording at the 17mbs setting leaves the battery life on par with the storage. So battery isn't an issue as you'll run out of recording space at the same time. If you can get over the screen, it is an excellent pro-sumer camcorder with professional options and features.
Pros Very good quality, durable construction and many manual settings.
Cons HD video is diffucult to handle once in your computer, not much support from Canon and menu layout could be simplified.
Summary Video quality is VERY sharp and colors are VERY vibrant and true especially outdoors. The operational buttons layout are convinient to operate with a single hand. Solid mechanical construction makes it seem durable since nothing is flimsy. The black colors, finishes and size make it look great. Great features like taking pics while recording film.
I wish the widest angle would be wider so you could self record or an near object while capturing a larger background. The HD format the it produces is difficult to edit, due to its large size, on all but the best computer processors. The menu configuration for settings can be difficult. So much that I have, towards the beginning, not been able to change between video and photo or reviewing photos.