The Canon Vixia HV30 is a fine choice for die-hard MiniDV users, offering superb video quality and a bunch of nifty features.

In the same way that VHS technology withered when the DVD became popular, MiniDV tapes are gradually becoming a technology of the past. Most camcorder manufacturers are turning to tapeless storage media, such as a hard drive, memory card or DVD storage.

Despite this trend, there are still some solid new MiniDV camcorders, such as Canon's Vixia HV30. The Canon Vixia HV30 is a fine choice for die-hard MiniDV users, offering superb video quality and a bunch of nifty features.

The Canon Vixia HV30 proves you can still have a sophisticated product, even if you're using older technology.

The camcorder is well designed, for the most part. The Canon Vixia HV30's four-directional joystick is sturdy and sensitive, making it easy to navigate through the settings menu with your thumb.

A convenient plastic cover protects the Canon Vixia HV30's Firewire and HDMI ports from dust. To protect the lens, the camcorder features a built-in lens cover.

Although the Canon Vixia HV30's curvy, black body is attractive, it feels somewhat cheap and clumsy to handle. The tape deck is located underneath your palm when you hand is holding the camcorder. We found it to be an awkward design that makes it difficult to maintain a steady grip.

The Canon Vixia HV30 is the third camcorder in Canon's HV series. About a year ago we reviewed the Canon HV10 HD, which we knocked for missing basic features you'd expect from a £650 camcorder, such as microphone and headphone jacks. On top of that, the Canon HV10 HD had poor battery life, quirky ergonomics, and poor audio quality because the built-in microphone was strangely placed on the back of the camcorder.

Fortunately, the Canon Vixia HV30 is a big improvement in each of these areas: it includes headphone and microphone jacks; the built-in microphone is placed on the front of camcorder; battery life has doubled; and the overall ergonomics are significantly better. The Canon Vixia HV30 also includes an advanced accessory shoe to hold special lights or microphones. With this array of features, you'll be able to produce a very professional-looking video.

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The Canon Vixia HV30 is a fine choice for die-hard MiniDV users, offering superb video quality and a bunch of nifty features.

Our panel of experts judged the output of the Canon Vixia HV30 and deemed it's video quality to be the best we've seen recently, earning an overall Very Good rating. Video colour in both normal and low-light settings was very pleasing, appearing vividly accurate compared to our control objects. Motion was smooth, and sound quality was decent.

The jury wasn't as impressed, however, by the Canon Vixia HV30's still-image quality. Stills appeared slightly noisy, and colors looked eerie with the flash. The Canon Vixia HV30 earned a Good for its still-image quality.

The Canon Vixia HV30 lasted 1 hour and 52 minutes recording in SP mode on a full charge, earning a Very Good rating.

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Canon Vixia HV30: Specs

  • 1/2.7in CMOS sensor, 2.96Mp including 2.07 effective RGB filter
  • Media: MiniDV
  • Viewfinder: 0.27" colour viewfinder 123,000 pixels
  • LCD Screen: 2.7" LCD screen: 16:9 211,000 pixels Manual adjustment of brightness and backlighting
  • Sensitivity (lux): 0.2 Night mode
  • Optical Zoom: 10x
  • Digital Zoom: 200x /40x
  • Image Stabiliser: Super optical image stabiliser with large frequency ranges
  • Focus: Auto and manual
  • 500x500x500mm
  • 540g
  • 1/2.7in CMOS sensor, 2.96Mp including 2.07 effective RGB filter
  • Media: MiniDV
  • Viewfinder: 0.27" colour viewfinder 123,000 pixels
  • LCD Screen: 2.7" LCD screen: 16:9 211,000 pixels Manual adjustment of brightness and backlighting
  • Sensitivity (lux): 0.2 Night mode
  • Optical Zoom: 10x
  • Digital Zoom: 200x /40x
  • Image Stabiliser: Super optical image stabiliser with large frequency ranges
  • Focus: Auto and manual
  • 500x500x500mm
  • 540g

OUR VERDICT

If MiniDV is important to your choice of camcorder, the Canon Vixia HV30 is an excellent choice. It shoots stellar high-definition video with vividly accurate colours, smooth motion; includes a microphone jack and accessory shoe; and is very user friendly. Unfortunately the Canon Vixia HV30's awkward design makes for clumsy handling; and still images are slightly noisy.

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