CamcorderInfo has got its hands on the HV30 camcorder, Canon's updated version of last year's prizewinning HV20 and written an in-depth review. The upside: the HV30 is a great camcorder that builds on the previous generation. The downside: its list of upgrades is small, and it keeps some quirky features. Updated.
The strong point of the HV30, says the team, is that it has the HV20's excellent HD 3-CCD image sensor at its core, and it delivers great video quality as a result, even under low-lighting conditions. The new 30p recording feature, said by Canon to be designed for online video production, also seemed a good halfway house between full 60i and 24p recordings, and a welcome addition. Camcorderinfo also felt that despite many camcorders switching to HDD storage, the miniDV solution retained by the HV30 is OK, arguing that tape offers pros like better image compression via HDV, instant archiving and a higher drop-resistance than, say DVD. Still imagery, captured to SD card, looked pretty good, though like most camcorders, you wouldn't favour it over a proper still camera.
They found the camera handled extremely well under automatic control, and while the list of manual control options is good, their main gripe was that the camera design still omits a proper focus ring, and has a fiddly joystick control. Its construction felt "cheap and awkward" with viewfinder use somewhat stunted by its positioning. Saying that, Canon has improved the LCD viewing screen by widening its acceptance angle and decreasing solarisation problems. Battery life, and portability were deemed good, with the battery running for one hour, fifty minutes in their test—almost identical to the HV20.
Their conclusion: the HV30 is more than just the HV20 in a new black paint job, since it offers a bunch of design improvements (like a hotshoe cover that can't fall off) and some extra features such as the 30p mode. It may even make it to Camcorder of the Year 2008. [Camcorderinfo]