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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