"A little expensive, but well worth it."4.0 starson by Shamu2
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.