Pros Sharp HD images, ease of use, 24p + Cine Mode = looks like a movie, cost
Cons Rolling shutter when panning fast, ok on-board mic
Summary The HV30 which is basically last years HV20 but with a black exterior and with 30p recording, is one sweet camera.
I've been using it for a couple weeks now and have found it to have a quick learning curve though it definitely has a lot of settings you need to learn to get the most out of it. But a little time put into learning can give you this http://www.vimeo.com/1032356 which is excellent video for dedicated family point and shoot stuff or entry level prosumer video.
The onboard mic is like most onboard mic's so I got a Rode videomic and the two give you excellent video and excellent audio.
I'm certain with time learning how to use the cameras settings and learning FCE my video skills will improve.
The biggest issue with the HV30 is the rolling shutter, which is the term used to describe a wobble effect you can some times see in an image when the camera is panned quickly and not mounted to a tripod. This issue is not unique to the HV30, each of the high end consumer HD video cameras have some sort of similar issue, e.g. the JVC GZHD7 which I also use clearly has OIS problems when shooting off hand on telephoto. The solution is to mount it to a good tripod and even distant shots are excellent. However the HD7 is almost two times the cost of the HV30. And though the HD7 works fine with a Mac, it is not as seamless as the HV30.
Overall the HV30 is an excellent value if you're looking to get into HD video.
Pros Amazing HD quality, 24p, great preprogramed scene settings, small, light, sturdy, great ergonomics
Cons The manual focus is a bit small and in a bad spot and the viewfinder could use some work but who really cares when you have such a nice lcd screen!
Summary You really have to hand it to Canon. They took the HV20, the 2007 camcorder of the year, and only one year later made it even better in the form of the HV30.
When looking for a new camcorder I did two things first. I turned away from all the other non mini-dv devices such as the hard drive models or the flash drive ones and decided to stay with the hd mini-dv tapes. The second thing I did was turn to the most reputable camera company on the market, Canon!
The reason I don't like the hard drive models or flash drive models is due to archiving. With the tapes, when you are finished filming and editing you can label it and store it forever. With a hard drive you have to spend some serious money to store all your footage, and even if money is not the question, look at the reliability of hard drives. Do you really want your priceless footage to be lost because of a computer or hard drive crash?
So here is the part you really want. What is this camera like... If I could describe it in one word it would be Awesome! My main camera is the Canon XL H1S, hands down the best prosumer camera available. This HV30 is one of the nicest, easy to use, high quality cameras that I have ever seen... and remember that you can find this for well under $1,000.00.
When I first took it out of the box I was very impressed by the way it looks. A combination of matte and glossy black looks very professional which is always a plus when you are filming. It is rather light, although it does not feel at all cheap. It is very well built. The LCD screen is crystal clear and its quality really makes up for the fact that the viewfinder is horrible to use! Equiped with a hide-away accessory shoe on top, it is ready for your professional lights or mics, out of the box. It also has a very nice automic lense cover which is perfect for those of us who lose lense covers.
When you power this beauty up you will appreciate it easy to navigate menu as much as its easy to use toggle joystick which is under your right thumb while holding it. I have only filmed a few hours of video with this so far, however it has provided me with some of the clearest, most professional film I have seen, especially for something in this size and price range.
The instant auto focus works laser fast, infact when you move the camera around you rarely see the camera trying to focus, it just already is. It has amazing low light capability and even has an LED lamp in the front for basic illumination.
This camera has a lot of pre programed settings, for example one for fireworks, beach, snow, etc.. but you also have a lot of options to control everything manually and even in auto mode you get amazing picture! The 24p is amazing, especially compared to similar cameras I have tried. Teamed up with Cine mode you will acheive very "movie" like films.
It can hold a 2g mini sd card for still pictures, which it takes with amazing clarity. The coolest feature has to be that you can take a still picture while filming a video, which is pretty unique.
All in all, this camera really lives up to the Canon name. I have used many cameras and I would have to say that this one is the most fun I have used and for a very reasonable price. I truly believe that this camera does the job of cameras 3 times its price and size.
I would say this camera is perfect for anyone from making home movies all the way to professional documentaries.
Pros Great picture, iMovie HD compatible
Cons Cumbersome controls
Summary I have had this camera for about one week. I bought it largely based on the CNET review and because I wanted an MiniDV camera that would be fully compatable with iMovie HD. As expected, this camera works flawlessly with iMovie HD. I am really impressed with the picture quality. Some of the features are a little cumbersome to use. For example, there is no dedicated fader button, so you have to use the joystiq to navigate an on-screen menu. This isn't difficult, it just takes a little experience to get fully comfortable. Although the camera is a bit on the pricey side, I am happy with my purchase and would recommend this camera to others.
Pros Excellent HD video
Cons No HD Video software
Summary Terrific HD Video but hit a wall trying to get the video out of the camera and onto my computer...to edit the video. If you just want to play it on your HD TV get an hdmi cable and its easy. But disappointed Canon didn't include editing software for video (HD). Also beware of online camera stores with low prices....went through 4 before I could buy one. Take the 3 or 4 lowest priced stores and don't even both talking to them. Most are rude and obnoxious.
CNET should to a feature on these jerks.
Pros Good image quality, nice black design
Cons The Focus ring is annoying
Summary The camera does what a $3,000 cameras do with ease. The only annoying thing about it is the design. I bought it in Mar 2008 when it first came out, never had any problems. I use Adobe PPro CS3 to import footages, i cant stand Vegas .
The design is horrible, the LCD screen doesnt even flip all the way, doesnt reverse when flipped. The Focus ring is annoying should've been bigger and placed around the main lens, kinda like the JVC GZ-HD7