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182 of 187 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2013
What I like:

1. MP4 codec. I hate hate hate AVCHD. From 30P down, you can record MP4 at 24Mpbs, which is exactly the same quality as AVCHD, but WAAAAY easier to edit. Yes, after 25mins of 1080p, your clips will automatically split, but the video is seamless.

2. Fantastic body design and manual controls. I love the new lens hood. The front control dial is better than the rear thumb dial on the HFG10/XA10. The touch screen responds faster, like an iPhone 5. There is now a physical pad to dial in menu settings for those of you who do not like touch screens. The zoom rocker is hefty and much smoother. The EVF articulates. The placement of the I/O is more practical overall. And we finally get a COLD SHOE and a smart shoe, so we can attach Canon accessories on the back and cold shoe accessories on the front.

3. 20x optical zoom lens. Simply amazing to have that amount of zoom in such a small form factor. The telephoto stays at f/2.8, just like the HFG10/XA10.

4. 26mm wide angle. I don't need a wide angle adapter anymore. The HFG30/XA20 has finally matched Sony's native wide angle camcorders. Canon sells a wide angle adapter that should make the lens a 22mm. That is very wide this kind of camcorder.

5. Better sensor. It's larger than 1/3" and better in low light. The larger sensor is really for the dynamic image stabilization, which is also amazing. I would say it matches the Panasonic AG-90's image stabilizer.

What I DON'T like (which isn't that bad):

1. No internal memory. Yes, I know professional cameras do not have internal memory, but I was surprised how often I used the internal memory on my HFG10.

2. Auto-focus is better, but still not perfect.

3. Battery life is not as good and the HF G30 uses different batteries than the HFG10/XA10, which totally sucks since I've invested a lot in HF G10 batteries.
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87 of 90 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2013
I love it when technology comes together. I have a video project coming up and initially purchased a JVC PX 100B. No matter what I tweaked, I couldn't get decent video quality from it. Let me just say that everything I found to be a weakness with the JVC PX 100B is a strength with the Canon Vixia Hf G30. The $699.00 price difference is well worth it. Here are the top three things I like most about this awesome camcorder.

Auto focus. Fast and accurate. That's the only way to describe it. I've never owned a camcorder that focused this quickly 99.9% of the time.

20x zoom. Not only is it 20x optical, you can adjust the zoom control to maintain a set speed, slow down at the start or end of zoom and more. On the PX 100B, I could never get a smooth zoom. With the Cannon HF G 30, zooming is smooth and controlled.

Anti shake. This is one of the few (only?) camcorders at this price point to add horizontal anti shake. Talk about clean, steady footage!

I could go on and on about the great color tones, flexible dual card recording, built in lens cap, etc, etc. But the real test is in the raw footage. I had an outside sequence filmed on the JVC PX 100B on the card I put in the Canon. Playing them back to back is truly night and day.

I owned a $10,000.00 camcorder a few years back and am blown away by how far technology has come. I can't wait to start my new project. I haven't been this excited about a piece of technology in a long time. We'll done Canon!
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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2014
I used to think that my DSLR took pretty good 1080p video. Then I recorded my wedding at two angles using my DSLR and the G30. The difference is stark. The G30 has far superior color purity, handles high contrast well, and produces sharp images without aliasing. The video performance could pass for professional. Low light performance is very good and the quality degrades gracefully when it's just plain too dark.

The onboard microphones are fairly good. There's an external audio input jack and an adjustable mixer. The mixer allows you to capture ambient sound at low levels with a wired link to a microphone or DJ. Various filters can be turned on or off to handle music, outdoor wind, or voice.

The downside is that the controls would never pass for professional. They're tiny, clumsy, error-prone, and impossible to use while shooting handheld. It takes considerable time to program the camera before using it - enough time that you might use it less often or settle for lower quality automatic modes. You can customize buttons but they're often only menu shortcuts. For example, you configure a wheel to be exposure compensation. Nothing happens when it's turned. You have to configure a nearby button to enable manual exposure compensation. Now, without messing up the shot, you have to press the manual exposure compensation button then rotate the exposure compensation wheel. There are tiny odd controls in odd places all over the camera and you'll never remember where they are or what you've set them to.

The MPEG quality is, through brute force, excellent quality. MPEG4 and MPEG2 TS containers are supported. Video is AVCHD (one of the H.264 profiles). Audio is AAC or PCM. You won't see motion artifacts. Buy a 128GB card now and consider another one if you're going on vacation for a while. You also need a fast computer to re-compress the files if you plan to transfer them to anyone else. The camera's onboard encoder has limited efficiency so even short videos are unmanageably large. A good H.264/AAC encoder on a desktop computer can apply more efficient encoding and, if desired, downsample to cut the file size even more. (Keep your originals!)
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71 of 81 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2013
I've had my G30 for only a couple of weeks now and you could say I'm rushing this review out, but there's a paucity of information on it so for what it's worth, here are my first impressions.

Confession: I've only had the previous version, the HF-G20, for six months and it was my first ever camcorder. I've used it mostly to film bands in dark bars--and it's great! Great picture, good in low light, decent sound with the Canon shotgun mic attached. My main complaints with it concerned the touchscreen and the zoom. Both of those are vastly improved in the G30. The G30 touchscreen is pretty close to an iPhone; you touch it and it works. The G20. . .well, it was very frustrating. You could just about justify the extra 600 bucks right there. The new screen is a huge improvement in display quality, too. The zoom control was moved from left-right to fore-and-aft, and to me that's much more intuitive. It's easier to use, too--I can zoom verrrry slowly now.

I did a quick noise test, shooting in a dark living room at max gain. The G30 picture is brighter and noticeably cleaner, though maybe not enough to save the day. But it is better. For what it's worth, you can find it on YouTube if you do a search for Canon HF-G30 versus HF-G20 noise. Shooting video in a dark bar, at 24dB gain, resulted in a somewhat noisy video but for a bar-band video, acceptable. I cut between the two cameras and I doubt anyone will notice the slight difference in noise or color cast.

Minor downside: it won't take the same batteries as the G20, and so far I can't find an aftermarket one. Be careful as you're shopping: I clicked on the link Amazon provides, "what other people looked at" and stupidly ordered the wrong batteries and charger. It's the 820 or 828, not the 819.

Another thing I've noticed: it's wider than the G20 and hence it's harder to hold steady in one hand. There's just more weight dangling off your wrist. I highly recommend using a monopod or tabletop tripod as a support for your left hand. I always found it useful with the G20, but with the G30 it's almost a necessity if you're handholding.

I use the Canon shotgun mic on both cameras; DM100 I think it is. There are better mics, but this is so convenient and well-integrated with the camera I'm sticking with it. In post-production I blend in audio from a Zoom H4N hand-held recorder and I find the Zoom has better bass but the DM100s have better highs.

Overall: I love it. The G20 was (is) great and a good alternative, but if you can afford it, go for the better image and vastly improved controls.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2014
Revised review of Canon "Vixia" HF G30 Camcorder

This review is based upon about two months of ownership in which I have shot about 8-10 hours of video, mostly shoots involving a tripod and lasting an hour or so, plus some hand-held candid shooting. This is a revision of my initial review after I had had the camcorder only about two weeks.
Even so, there are some features and options I have not yet fully explored. Some of the functionality is sufficiently complex that one would need significant time to understand it well enough to use it effectively.
Overall, I am very happy with this device so far and rate it as four stars. But nothing is perfect, of course.
Pros
* Image quality (focus, sharpness, color balance)
* Long zoom ratio (20:1)
* Extremely comprehensive and useful audio features:
o Mic in can be set to line in, meaning it can accept signals from devices such as an audio mixer or CD player. This is a huge advantage over any other consumer camcorder I have personally used. Most of the video I have shot so far has used external audio, with a line level signal fed from an audio mixer. I have been quite pleased with the audio.
o Audio level indicator - I use this almost all the time, with the level control set to Manual.
o Audio level adjustment so that you can ensure the recording level is where you want it (or you can use automatic level adjustment if you prefer)
o Audio mixer (external input and built-in mics can be mixed)
o Other adjustments for the audio characteristics of the built-in mics
o Option to connect a Canon accessory mic that can produce 5.1 channel surround sound
o Adjustable headphone level
* Extensive feature set and menus for adjustment of numerous camera features
* Large, clear LCD, with good touch sensitivity for use with the on-screen menu system
* Viewfinder with Diopter adjustment
* Image stabilization, which seems to be very effective
* Joystick for menu navigation, which works with both the LCD and the viewfinder, and can minimize touching the LCD screen (which helps avoid fingerprints on the screen and helps to avoid inadvertently shaking the camera)
* Ability to record in AVCHD and MP4 simultaneously (called dual recording), or to record on two SD cards in sequence (relay recording) to maximize program length. The sequence recording ability is a great comfort when doing long shots that are too critical to miss.
* Lens hood with flap to protect the lens when not shooting (but see the cons)
* Ability to manually zoom or focus with large ring at front of lens
* Comprehensive user manual
* LANC remote control jack for use of external wired remote controls
Cons
* Zoom lens, while sufficiently long for my usual needs, is not quite as long as what I'd have liked and have had on other camcorders with a numerically smaller zoom ratio. (In other words, the lens favors the wide end over the telephoto end of the range.)
* There is no pre-programmed audio/video fade feature. I have had this on every other consumer and professional camcorder I have owned or used for the past 20 years, so I was disappointed not to have it. Originally I felt this is a big omission, especially for a device this expensive and with so many other features, some less useful to me. But now that I have done several shoots, I realize that I can easily do the fades just as easily in my digital editing software, so I do not really miss this feature.
* Many small buttons.
* As others have noted, the button associated with the Custom Dial at the front of the camcorder (which lets you manually adjust aperture or shutter speed - a good feature) is especially difficult to find and use - it does take a bit of practice to find this without looking and successfully activate the feature. Also, the button is much less inaccessible when the camcorder is mounted on my video tripod plate. The way I have compensated for this is to reverse the tripod end-to-end, so that the camera is mounted without using the pop-up camcorder pin. I find this is quite satisfactory and the camera does not slip, at least in the type of shooting I have done.
* I have found the camera's zoom rocker button to be a bit touchy, so it is difficult to modulate the zoom speed when in the variable speed mode. It seemed more difficult to modulate the speed when using a tripod than when hand-held. The way I solved this was to purchase a Libec Zoom Control (which uses the LANC remote control jack). The Libec works great when the camcorder is mounted on a tripod.
* The LCD screen is difficult to use in bright light, as most are, especially if the screen has fingerprints from using it as a touch screen.
* Viewfinder is very small and cannot be used with eyeglasses. (Diopter is provided.)
* I am disappointed with the power supply. The supplied charger will not charge the battery except in the camera. This forces the purchase and use of a second battery charger for all but the most casual user, and is an unfortunate additional cost. Every other camcorder, consumer and professional, I have owned over the past 20 years has had a charger that could charge the batteries without being connected to the camcorder. In addition, the cord from the power brick to the camcorder seems flimsy, is fairly stiff, and a bit too short. When the camcorder is on my tripod, the cord barely reaches from the floor, which may strain the cord and means the cord bangs against the tripod legs when you turn the camcorder. The cord should be a foot or two longer, sturdier, and more flexible.
* The lens hood does not fully protect the lens when the flap is closed. There is an opening at the bottom for a sensor, so dirt and moisture can still get into the lens with the flap shut. So users would be wise to use the lens cap and/or a protective filter when the camera is not in use for any prolonged period.
Additional Comments
These may or may not turn out to be disadvantages but are offered as additional observations.
* This might just be me, but I found it easy to get my left hand in front of the lens opening when hand-holding the camera. The natural place to place my right hand so that my index finger is on the front focus/zoom ring, with the other fingers along the lens hood. But the hood is not long enough to keep my last one or two finger out of the field of view. I will have to be conscious of this as I shoot. (This can happen with a tripod as well, if one uses the zoom ring for manual focus or zoom.) The other problem I noticed is that it is easy to inadvertently place your left hand with one finger on top of the left microphone, which might affect the sound. So this suggests using a separate mic for important shoots.
* The process to upload files to a PC is a bit cumbersome, especially because Canon supplies two separate software applications. One (ImageBrowser EX) is used only for MP4s and still photos. The other (Data Import utility) apparently can be used for both types of movie files (not still photos) and must be used for any videos that were recorded in relay mode or that were split because of scene file size limitations. It is slightly confusing that you apparently cannot just connect the camera or a card and have a single process to upload all new images. What I do is to use the Data Import Utility and then use another photo software package for the occasional still shots.
* The supplied USB cord for uploading videos seems flimsy and quite short. One way around this is to remove the SD cards from the camera and plug them into the PC's card reader if you have one. This saves the effort to hook up the camcorder.
* After a few hand-held sessions with the camcorder, I concluded it is quite comfortable to hold. (Initially I had some discomfort but adjusting the hand strap seemed to resolve that.)
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2014
I preordered this camcorder before it was released and I've used it for 6 months for a very wide variety of ways. Indoor and outdoor sports including football, dance competitions, many different light conditions, below zero conditions to over 90 degrees. This camcorder works very well in all conditions from low light to bright outdoor winter light. Flawless. What I like are the controls, the nice outcomes using "Auto" mode, the lens is pronominal with quality and zoom, and the quality of the color, light and video is outstanding. The zoom control is larger than the Vixia HV30 and allows for a smoother and more gradual zoom. So I can start with a slow zoom and gradually increase the zoom speed without mistakenly rocking the control too far and jumping right to a fast zoom. Auto-focus is really good. Some people say it isn't perfect and I'm not sure why. The only issue I've found with Instant Auto-Focus is that if a player or ref runs by in front of the camera, it will try to focus on the close object and then back so it slips out of focus for 1-2 seconds. This can be eliminated by using standard auto-focus or manual, but the IAF does a superb job of keeping focus as pass plays come toward me and the tackle happens right in front of my feet.

What could be improved: battery charge time is slow - about 4 hours. (I purchased a battery from Kapahen that works well and is a fraction of Canon's price as a spare.) the camcorder is large although not heavy which can matter a lot if you take it to a theme park to shoot all day. I envy those who have a camcorder that fits easily into the palm of your hand for this. It's ok for me but a smaller hand would notice this is a lot of camera to carry around all day. The covers for the cables are probably good protection, but I'd like to see a softer rubber cover. The cover is rather awkward even for the DC power where you really have to push it out of the way to charge. I may find a time where I would miss a built-in light (although I didn't use the HV30's much).

Aside from that I really produce great work with this camera. The image stabilization is the best I've seen, I love the dual-mode recording of AVCHD on one card and MP4 on the other, Battery life is good (no problem covering a full football game or long stage performance). Internal mics have great sound quality and control, white balance is fantastic, manual controls are great.

The touch screen is extremely convenient for adjustments and settings. It responds just like a smartphone and the color and brightness are very accurate.

Best of all, the camera price has dropped $300 from when I bought it.

This camera has easy point-and-shoot capability as well as advanced manual and cinematography settings.

UPDATE: 1/22/2014 my wife was looking over my shoulder while I was editing a dance performance that I shot from the balcony. She was amazed at the zoom of this camera and said it looked like I shot the video from the front row.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2013
I was one of the first purchasers of this fine camcorder - and took it with me on an 11 day Alaska Princess Cruise/Land vacation in August. Finally, I am done with the editing (using Premiere Elements 12) and produced the first Blu-ray version.
Conclusion: the camcorder and resulting video are spectacular!
Though I printed the instruction manual in 8x10 format (recommended for MUCH easier reading) and studied it before the trip, I chose to record in cinema mode - using the camcorder's automatic settings. The resulting footage is beautiful: clear and precise.
Even more impressive was the steadiness of the video. I produced truly remarkable video hand-held only; too often the circumstances did not permit using a monopod or tripod (such as a very shaky train ride) - so there was no other option. Though I am careful to hold the camcorder as steady as possible (years of practice), but the picture was much better due to the built-in camera shake function. The screen LED is crystal clear, but for most recording, nothing beats the dedicated viewfinder.
The trip was recorded in MP4, 29.97P, though the HF G30 can record in 60P - better than any previous model. My choice was due to Premiere Elements 10 (12 was not released until late September) not supporting the new higher rate and other DSLR and an older Vixia HF200 footage that would be integrated into the final production. The camera records in "Full HD" as that technicality is important.
To date (November 2013) there are no detailed guides written about the HF G30. (I purchased the HF G10 Field guide to pre-learn about the new G series.) I wish and hope for a professionally written guide for this great G30 model.
I purchased the Rode Videomic Pro and (recently) the Tascam DR-60 to be used in the future with my HF G30 and Canon T4i DSLR (and friend's Canon D70 DSLR) but have only tested those in the house at present.
Wi-Fi worked with the iPhone, but the app is awkward and not very useful. Canon should improve that app function as more of their cameras are produced with Wi-Fi functionality.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2013
I believe the Canon VIXIA HF G30 is without a doubt, the best “prosumer” video camera available. After a lot of research, I decided on the G30 because it has many of the advanced features found only on professional video cameras.
The camera arrived well packed, and was actually a lot “beefier” than I had expected, it feels so good in the hand and is perfectly balanced.
The battery requires a full 4 ½ hours for the initial charge – it was a long wait.
Upon the initial start-up, the very first thing you are asked to do is set the time.
The touch screen is super sharp and very user friendly.
I set the camera to Auto Mode, and I shot in low light, room light and outside at dusk and the quality was way beyond expectations.
After shooting multiple short videos it was time for the screen test. I connected the camera via the supplied HDMI cable, and then to a 60” LED television. And we were blown away by the clarity and sharpness of the video camera – just incredible.
Yes – this was lot of money, especially at this time of the year when budgets are so stretched. But this year we will have the “entire family” home for Christmas, and I will be able to record every cherished moment.

I suggest ordering an extra battery and an external charger, because the camera cannot be used while the battery is being charged.

I highly recommend the Canon VIXIA HF G30, you will not be disappointed!!!

Cons: Pricey
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2015
This has to be the very first time I can proudly claim that I may have the best camcorder on the market! I've learned over the years that there's a steep difference in price when you want to go from "good" 1080p HD video quality (which a Sony Cybershot does very well, if you're on the go) to "great" 1080p HD video quality. The Cybershot went for $300 at the time I got it, this Canon for another $1,000 MORE. But man...you couldn't ask for a better video camera. There are a few nitpicks I'll list below, but they pale in comparison to the Canon G30's strengths, which are:

STRENGTHS
- Superior Image Quality - Never had it so good with this camera. It has a very low Lux rating (that's the amount of light in total darkness, 1 Lux = the amount of light 1 candle produces approximately 1 meter away from the camera). When you get down to the single digits, image quality can be subjective, but based on my observations filming rock bands in very low light settings, the image quality is still amazing. No ghosting, very very little digital fuzz.
- Superior Built-In Audio - I've been tinkering with a Rode Stereo mic on this G30...and I have to say that the built-in mic OUTPERFORMS the $250 Rode mic...at least in terms of having a very broad audio freq. range (e.g. good low and high end audio). You can adjust the mic setting internally, you can adjust the mic gain level...you can even MIX the internal and external mic levels (!), which I'm still working on. I use this recording (VERY LOUD) rock bands on the local scene, and once I quickly set the audio levels, I NEVER get any splatter or distortion in the built-in audio!
- Superior ergonomics - For right-handed folks, it's a dream come true to operate. The zoom rocker armature is twitchy out-of-the-box, but you can easily adjust the rocker speed in the Menu option. The start/stop button is easy to touch (perhaps too easy, but rather it be that way than hard to reach).
- 1080/60p HD – Nuff said, it’s about has high quality as you’ll get without going to 4K quality (which for an amateur videographer is unnecessary, IMO).
- 24p Motion Picture mode – I never planned on using this, but I accidentally put that switch on and filmed an entire Metal Shop Dallas gig that way. I thought the low light would have led to a poor video, but the imagery in even that frame rate was outstanding.
- User Settable Dials – Nice touch, though I haven’t really used them much yet
- Auto Focus/Zoom – This is crisp, fast, and the camera even allows the user to override those functions, if needed (which is admittedly very rare, but sometimes happens in low light).
- Touchscreen Menu Access – I thought this was going to be more of a problem than a positive, but I have to admit that the touchscreen is superb! Even better than on my own Android phone! And very quiet, so it will almost never be heard while you access it during filming (unless you rough-handle the screen).
- 20x Optical Zoom – This seldom comes into play in my work, I usually find that 10X is enough for me… but I can definitely see the advantage this has over standard digital, non-DSLR, cameras, particularly if you film airshows, autoracing, or want to capture sports activity at the other end of a football field. And it’s Canon lens craftwork too, so as you can probably guess, the image clarity is top-notch.

NITPICKS/THINGS TO WATCH FOR
- On-Off Button – On a couple of occasions, I’ve hit this button by accident…but I chalk that up to user-error when I first got the camera, not an issue now.
- No Built-In Memory – This can be a deal-breaker to some, but I started out with small digital cameras that never had it to begin with, so buying a couple of SD memory cards was always part of the buying process. Good news is this camera allows for 2 separate SD card bays, so you can get several hours of shooting.
- A Little Heavier Than Other Competitors – I’ll admit that after an hour of shooting band footage by hand, my arm gets a bit tired…then add on an external mic on top of the G30, and you’ll be getting a bit of a workout. But I’d rather it be heavier than too light…because oftentimes, lighter construction = easier to break!
- Battery Life May Be A Problem – I can only get about 150 mins. on a fully charged battery, so the fact that you have to buy another battery, AND that the camera kit doesn’t come with an external charge, is a bit of a letdown. However, the charger cord they provide is very long, and you CAN film with the charger plugged in (albeit only on a tripod or very static setting). Also, it appears that you can buy a separate wall charger (no surprise there).
- Eye Viewfinder Not Workable If You Wear Glasses – Then again, I HATE eye viewfinders universally, but some folks love those…and so long as you don’t wear glasses, this one works, but I don’t care for them either way.
- Question Longterm Viability of Input Plugs – This is a minor point, but this camera has a lot of aways to run lines into it (for charging, for ext. mics, for ext. headphones, etc.). I suppose at some point, it’s possible that repeated use of one or more of these plugs might mean that the female connectors on the camera will wear out at some point (particularly the power plug, since that’s the ONLY way to recharge the camera, out of the box). That remains to be seen. But so far, I’ve had no issues with these plugs inputs.
- MUST READ .PDF MANUAL – Like Spiderman’s uncle sez, with great power comes great responsibility…and this powerful camera could frustrate someone that hasn’t read-up on it’s capabilities. I recorded video in the very highest setting possible (in a special LRM mode or something like that), and it turns out that it recorded video in a mode that separates out the audio in different channels…channels that wouldn’t operate on my 5 year old laptop. So the result was: great 60p video, but NO AUDIO (not yet at least). It drove me nuts for about a day or so, because I could hear the audio on the camera…but not on the vids on my laptop. Again, user error on that note, which is why I’m not docking a star, but the moral of the story is: read the manual

There’s a lot I haven’t tried on it yet, like mixing the mic levels and filming in super-slow-motion. More on that later. All things being equal though, this is the best handheld video camera one can buy. And if you want professional-looking video on a shoe-string budget, then this may be your best pick of the litter!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2014
I love this camera. I have used for several events and have not been disappointed. I taped my daughter's play and used directional microphone (Rode VideoPro directional) with very nice results. It does take a while to download a 2 1/2 hour play to your computer, so be ready to have LOTS of hard drive space (High Def) to manage these files - keep 250-400GBs free to download and edit, sometimes more. It took me a while to figure out I just needed to download directly from the camera AVCHD file, then edit - don't try to download from the cards as it just seems to not work. iMovie work nicely with these files and then can be exported to .mov file. Buy some extra batteries and cards (I use 32 Gb extreme cards, dual slots). Way too many features to mention, and I am still learning about them - doubt that I ever will learn them all. But that being said, so far it has been relatively easy to use and get great videos. I would highly recommend.
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