"Best sub $1000 HD camcorder"4.5 starson by johnpainter
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.