Pros Excellent build quality, high quality lens, professional features, compact size, outstanding ergonomics, manual controls, great accessories, and many more
Cons For this price point, none. Those who really need features like true 24p and built-in XLR should get DVX100A
Summary Before purchasing DVC30 I was also considering Canon GL2 and Sony VX2100. In feature-for-feature, dollar-for-dollar direct comparison with Canon and Sony, Panasonic DVC30 won hands down.
DVC30 uses very solid metal alloy construction, GL2 and VX2100 are made of thin plastic. In hand Panasonic feels very solid and perfectly balanced, even with optional XLR adapter and microphone. Detachable handle is extremely well-build and makes it a pleasure to hold the camera. Unlike GL2, zoom rocker on DVC30 is extremely precise and can deliver very dramatic slow zooms (100sec end-to-end!). For additional control one can use a zoom ring with nice damping to avoid jerky zooms. Autofocusing is extremely fast and accurate, even in total darkness. The color tonality is very natural. Every control is placed exactly where it needs to be. Three customizable user buttons allow adjustment for most shooting situation.
DVC30 works and feels like cameras that are thousands of dollars more expensive. It can handle everything a serious prosumer will ever need and will serve well as backup for a pro who will appreciate its small size, rugged construction and advanced features like CineGamma. With optional XLR adapter and microphone one can easily shoot small independent films or TV shows (this camera was used on network reality shows with great results).
To summarize: An excellent camera for advanced prosumers, cinematography students on a budget, independent videographers (weddings, school events, etc.) or freelancers. Those with more complex and demanding projects should consider an outstanding DVX100A.
Pros 3 chips, feels solid, night shooting
Cons Menu-based controls, not all have designated buttons on camera.
I've had the camera for about 9 months now, and I'm still convinced that I made the right choice, even with Sony's new HDV cameras that have come out.
The DVC30 has a solid feel to it. It's smaller than the GL2, but still much larger than the small consumer quality cameras, which for me is a good thing. You might get some laughs if you are on a professional job with a palm-sized camcorder.
The only two complaints I have are that there are no XLR jacks for audio input, and a lot of the controls are menu-based (meaning that they do not have dedicated buttons, the functions must be accessed through the cameras menus). However, I knew of both of these before purchasing the camera, so nothing has come has a surprise.
What has been a surprise is the quality. Previous to this camera I had been using a Canon XL1 and XL1S, and I cannot tell any difference in quality of the video. I have noticed that the digital gain for low light conditions is much less grainier (up to about 9db) when being compared to the Canon cameras.
I've been very pleased with this camera, and expect that it will last me for years to come.
"How doing better?"on by grafimax
Pros PRO CAM!!!... ALL AROUND!
Cons Special effect absent
Summary This is my last purchase. WOW! incredible cam! A REAL PRO CAM!.. I don't think we can find better at this price! Great image quality, bright and sharp! Fonctionality can be little bit more present like "between two scene"... None... You can just record, stop record without tampon zone. But if we think well it's a PRO CAM.. No need it! Superb zoom maniability, very very very slow to utra high speed!.. Movie-like mode is really great and do a good job! (more realistic image)... Buy it without any fear! you'll love this fabulous Cam!
Pros Superior image quality.
Cons Inferior sound quality; difficult manual audio controls.
Summary The superior, 3CCD image quality of this camcorder is negated by its low-level audio recording. I tried several mics with it and could never get a decent audio level on it. I got so frustrated that I sent it to a Panasonic repair shop, which informed me that it was working properly. So, I'm stuck.
In addition, as someone on an online camera forum said, "The AG-DVC30 is simply a right royal pain in the neck to operate. One of this camera's known weakesses is that there are no audio knobs, just a stinkin' menu." So, one's options for manipulating audio are very limited.
Of course, one doesn't buy a camera such as this for its audio, but, sheesh, it ought to at least be the equivalent of a consumer-grade camcorder.
Pros So far, so good, as far as the camcorder itself is concerned.
Cons I bought a 10-hour rechargeable battery, which does not recharge.
Summary Panasonic "service" is a misnomer. I spent an hour being shuttled from one station to another, then finally emailed them. The unsigned reply told me the battery had a 10-day warranty; it is, however advertised as a one-year manufacturers warranty. Other sites on the web have other horror stories. Why don't CNET reviewers check the service records of the company whose products they review?