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Canon VIXIA HV30 MiniDV High Definition Camcorder with 10x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom
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- Capture high-defintion video to MiniDV
- 10x optical zoom; SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer
- 24p Cinema Mode; 30p Progressive Mode
- 2.7-inch widescreen Multi-Angle Vivid LCD
- Simultaneous photo capture
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|Included Components||Canon VIXIA HV30 Camcorder - BP-2L13 Battery Pack|
|Item Dimensions||5.51 x 5.55 x 8.78 inches|
|Item Weight||1.2 pounds|
|Lithium Battery Weight||4 ounces|
|Media Format Digital Video||MiniDV|
|Optical Sensor Resolution||2.96 MP|
|Optical Sensor Technology||CMOS|
|Shipping Weight||3.65 pounds|
Canon VIXIA HV30 High-Definition MiniDV Camcorder
From the Manufacturer
From the Manufacturer
For tech-savvy, sophisticated and discerning videographers who demand a first-rate quality camcorder, Canons HV30 enables them to capture the ultimate in HD video and still photo quality. The HV30 offers the unparalleled combination of a 10x HD Video lens, a 2.96-megapixel CMOS image sensor, and a DIGIC DV II processor, all packaged in an elegant HDV camcorder.
Featuring Canons exclusive SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer to stabilize a wide range of movements, a built-in video light to easily shoot in dark settings, and the new 2.7-inch multi-angle Vivid LCD acreen to view from various angles with true color representation and contrast, your shooting possibilities are now boundless. Beyond that, you can capture amazing HD detail and color reproduction while achieving critical focus with Instant AF. Create the look and feel of Hollywood movies with the 24p Cinema Mode or choose 30p Progressive Mode to capture fast action with optimization for the web. With HD and SD recording modes, you can make the move to HD while retaining compatibility with standard definition equipment. The HV30 is easy to use and delivers the high level of performance youve come to expect from a Canon camcorder.
HDV format The HV30 records true 1080 resolution, high-definiton video. The HV30 is capable of recording and playing back HD images using MiniDV cassette tapes.
Canon Full HD CMOS image sensor (1920x1080) The HV30 features a Canon manufactured HD CMOS image sensor. Similar to its use in Canons EOS Series digital SLR cameras, the CMOS sensor reproduces high-resolution images as true HD movies. Canons HD CMOS sensor acquires image information at 1920x1080 pixels. Canons HD CMOS sensor also features on-chip noise reduction technology. This low noise technology feature means that even in dimly-lit scenes, the signals from each pixel are as pure as possible, with minimal "noise" or other aberrations.
RGB Primary Color Filter Whether youre shooting video or photos, you will appreciate the HV30's stunning, high-definition image production. For rich, accurate color, the HV30 uses an RGB Primary Color Filter. It separates light into red, green, and blue color components, resulting in vibrant images with natural-looking tones similar to what youd obtain from 3CCD camcorders.
Genuine Canon Optics With more than 70 years of expertise in manufacturing lenses for professional broadcast and photography, The Canon names represents optical excellence. That's why Canon's expertise in designing lenses for photography and broadcast television goes into every camcorder lens we make.
DIGIC DV II image processor DIGIC DV II is the next generation of Canon's exclusive DIGIC DV signal processing technology designed specifically for HD. Since video and still images have different color requirements, DIGIC DV II HD digital signal processing ensures optimal image quality for both HD video and still images. Thanks to DIGIC DV II image processing, the HV30 produces video with improved color reproduction -- especially in skin tones, and dark and light scenes. It also uses a hybrid noise reduction system that employs two types of noise reduction -- for images that are crystal clear.
30p Progressive Mode 30p Progressive Mode is a progressive format that delivers clarity for fast-action subjects and is the perfect frame rate for the web. Plus, it is ideal for displaying crisp images on your home theatre system or computer monitor. Before now 30p was exclusively featured on pro-level camcorders but Canon now offers the widest frame rate options for every videographer.
2.7-inch Multi-Angle Vivid Widescreen LCD The HV30 is equipped with a Multi-Angle Vivid LCD. This newly-designed screen offers two key advantages for easy, flexible operation.
1. A wide viewing angle - view from any direction
2. A wide color range - provide robust, accurate color
Instant AF (Auto Focus) Instant AF is Canons new and advanced autofocus system. Using a Hybrid Control system, the Instant AF makes it easy to focus on previously difficult subjects. It dramatically decreases the time it takes to achieve proper focus and increases accuracy especially in low-light and high-brightness situations.
HDMI terminal The HDMI terminal transports high definition video signal with audio in one cable to your HD television. The new standard in HD connection.
1. The frame rate changes to 24p -- the same frame rate as movie film
2. The HV30 changes the color and tonal characteristics to make you feel like you are watching a movie in the theatre.
Advanced Accessory Shoe terminal The Advanced Accessory Shoe allows the use of additional accessories such as a video light and directional microphone.
Built-in electronic lens cover A built-in electronic lens cover automatically opens when the camcorder is turned on and closes when turned off. There is no dangling lens cover to lose.
Program AE Mode The HV30 gives you a choice of settings that automatically result in the best exposure for different conditions. Scene modes include: Portrait, Sports, Night, Snow, Beach, Sunset, Spotlight, and Fireworks. Each adjusts your camcorder's settings to compensate for different lighting conditions and different subjects.
Built-in video light Increase your low-light capabilities even further by shooting with the HV30. Featuring a Video light, the HV30 enables you shoot subjects in color in low-light at distances up to 4.9 feet away.
Microphone terminal with audio level control The HV30 features a microphone terminal for attaching an external microphone. The audio level can be manually adjusted for greater flexibility. A level meter is shown in the LCD screen.
Headphone Terminal The audio/video terminal doubles as a headphone terminal for monitoring sound while recording.
Focus Assist function When shooting high-definition, a properly focused subject is more critical than ever. With one push of the Focus Assist Button (during manual focus setting), video zoom and peaking (for emphasizing image contours) are displayed. Not to worry, this is automatically cancelled when recording is started.
Level Shot and Grid Markers It's easy to keep your HV30 level for more professional-looking video. Simply press the Level Shot Control button, and a horizontal marker appears in your viewfinder. Line up any horizontal lines in your shot to the marker and you know your camcorder is level. Also, the Grid marker is very convenient for setting up the special balance in your shots. Since background colors vary, you can select from two line colors to make the lines easily visible.
Smooth Zoom Control With this innovative feature, you can always be sure of smooth, steady, professional looking zoom shots. Simply select one of three pre-set zoom speeds. You can also select variable so you can control the speed manually.
3.1-megapixel photos Capture stunning 3.1-megapixel photos in 4:3 aspect ratio to a miniSD card (2.07-megapixel photos at 16:9).
Advanced Photo Features
- 9-point Ai-AF mode
- Record 3 MP photos to a MiniSD card
- Simultaneous photo recording (at 2 megapixels)
- Photo grab
- Histogram display
- Built-in flash
- Easy Print/Share button
- Auto Exposure Bracketing
- Metering Modes (Evaluative, Center-Weighted Average, Spot)
9-point Ai-AF mode Auto Intelligent Auto Focus ensures sharp images and gives creative flexibility. Even when your subject isn't in the center of the frame, the HV30's Ai-AF function will automatically select from 9 metering frames on the screen to help bring images into sharp focus.
Histogram display Commonly used in Canons line of digital SLR cameras, the HV30 features a Histogram display. With just one push of a button, the brightness information of a still image is revealed. This allows you to monitor image quality so you can make adjustments to improve the next shots.
Print/Share button For fast and easy, one-touch printing of your photos at home, simply press the camcorders Print & Share Button. The button can also be used for one-touch downloading of your images to a computer.
1 Year Parts and Labor Limited Warranty Canons camcorder limited warranty provides protection long after other manufacturers warranties expire.
What's in the Box:
- VIXIA HV30 Camcorder
- BP-2L13 Battery Pack (with Terminal Cover)
- CA-570 Compact Power Adapter
- STV-250N Stereo Video Cable
- WL-D87 Wireless Controller
- IFC-300PCU USB Cable
- CTC-100/S Component Cable
- Digital Video Solution Disc for Windows and Macintosh
Read about our customers' top-rated camcorders on our review page: Camcorders
Top Customer Reviews
I'm very happy with my Canon HV30. I rate the picture quality, color quality, low-light ability, white balance all excellent. The zoom control is a little close for my fingers and I found myself holding the camera less firmly (ie with the tips of my fingers rather than my whole hand) which would be wearisome on a long shoot, but tripods are still the best way to shoot video for steady pictures. On the other hand the anti-vibration correction seems to help a lot.
The total package is good, not excellent and includes a battery with a nice contact protector that doesn't look like it will fall off (unlike the protector plate on the Elura and Optura that has to be taped on because it is so loose.) The plate keeps the battery from discharging on the keys in your pocket or bag. It also includes a charger which will also operate the camera without the battery, which is very handy. This is only good, because it won't charge the battery unless it is in the camera, so you can't charge while shooting with another battery.
The package also includes a remote control (see above) that frustrated me the first time I used it and seems to be of marginal utility. However, all of the minor problems with the package can be remedied with an add-on accessory. The camera is what does the work and it is excellent.
I've had this camcorder only one week. It was a busy week with kids graduation and parties and night club rock concerts on the video agenda but I learned a lot shopping for this camera and using it all week, so maybe my story will help you.
First, why miniDV rather than flash, hard disk or dvd? I already have two mini dv cameras, a Canon Optura and an Elura. These have given me good service and images that were the envy of my Sony, Samsung, and Panasonic-owning friends. The only brand I compare to Canon is Sony (for similar consumer equipment). I rejected the flash and DVD models because the recording time is too short. DVD, in particular, is a rip-off with just 15 minutes for a $10 disk.
This kind of short recording time is OK if what you want is to capture 1 or 2 minutes of magic moments and have them immediately available to put in a player. Personally I find the tape just as good for instant replay on the built-in video screen. It takes a couple minutes longer to rewind the tape.
The hard drive models have a recording time advantage that initially attracted me, but the transfer issue is what made me decide to stay with a minidv. Ultimately all video has to be transfered to another medium to be used and archived. I have been transfering my minidv tapes to computer hard drives and dvd for years.
Transfer is a tediuos, time-eating process that has caused me to spend more upgrading my computer and software than I spent on the cameras. Yes, I can make DVDs with my video; I can make YouTube videos; and I can put my own video stuff on my iPod and Zune. But it takes a lot of time to get the results I want.
Why tape? It's cheap and convenient. Video takes a lot of disk space to store the original and then to edit and render into other formats. I buy the cheap tapes but I only record them once. I can carry 2 or 3 which give me 2 or 3 hours recording time. The real restraint is the batteries. Once I have the image on tape I don't erase it. I can play it immediately if I want to, but the ultimate goal is to transfer it to hard disk for editing and archiving. The real godsend is the recent plethora of cheap 500 GB (now 750 and soon 1TB) external USB hard drives. The transfer time is a chore; so is the indexing.
Tape is patient. I can do it on my schedule. With a hard disk, it can get full at a time that is inconvenient to transfer but I need to do some more shooting. Then I would have to consider the dreaded DELETE of something I shot. With tape I can postphone transfering and editing for months without impairing my camera readiness. After I transfer, I still have the tape.
I considered the Sony HDR-HC9 and the older Canon HV20 vs. the Canon HV30. I was tempted by the 6MP in the Sony and also by the low prices on the HV20. I saw a deal on an HV20 for $520 but it was gone before I made up my mind to settle for it. Ultimately I was looking at $999 for the Sony or $771 for the Canon. The HV30 had 30p mode and the $228 savings provided a budget for extra batteries and other goodies.
So am I happy? Yes.
My wife used it at my kids' graduation. Perfect color and detail, oohs and ahs from everybody. My wife just uses automatic mode with the lcd screen hanging out. I took some mobile shots in my car, one-handed through the windshield. The anti-vibration mode works great, as does the autofocus. During this shoot there were times when the camera was looking almost directly into the sun. The meter responded quickly and closed down the aperture, but the resulting scene was a little dark (not too bad, actually). There is a back-light compensation button that could have helped but I didn't think about until later.
Then it was off to a night club. I took a recharged battery, not totally topped off because of numerous replays of some of the recent shooting. The lighting was typical dim night club ambiance with flashing disco lights on the dance floor and stage. My plan is to film the whole show.
I have plenty of tape but just the BP-2L13 that came with the camera, which the manual rates at 75 minutes using the viewfinder, or 70 minutes using the LCD. I also know that new Li-on batteries need to be recharged a few times before they reach their full capacity.
47 minutes of continuous filming is what I got, using the viewfinder. The image in the viewfinder was bright and easy to see. I wear bifocals but I was able to hold the camera several inches from my face and still see the edges of the viewfinder screen enough to frame the picture I wanted. My Optura and Elura both had decent viewfinders, but many was the time when I just pointed the camera and hoped my framing was ok because the image was so dim. The HV30 is really a huge step up.
I haven't had enough experience with this camera to fiddle with the focus and white balance while shooting so I left it on automatic. The colors of the spotlights were changing very quickly and I was panning the stage and the crowd, zooming in and out. After the battery died I took it off and held in my hand to warm it so after the show it gave me a few more seconds of shooting. Considering it wasn't topped off on the charger and it was only the first time it had been cycled I wasn't that disappointed. I just ordered a BP-L24H rated at 145 minutes recording time on the viewfinder from Amazon for $99 with some of the money I saved over buying the Sony.
The images were fantastic. I've shot in light like this with my Optura and ELura and there were always dark shadows with almost no detail. The Vixia showed great detail in the shadows. The automatic white balance reacted in a pleasant way to the red, orange and blue spotlights. Occasionally, on a wide shot of the band, while I was panning, the lead singer would be washed out from the bright spot on him while the rest of the band was in shadow but the overall effect made him look rather god-like which was cool. When I zoomed in the aperture closed down and I got excellent skin color and detail on his face. The anti-vibration did a great job because most of the images were pretty steady even though I was handholding and the crowd was bumping me often.
The sound was the only detail that keeps this from being perfect. The sound started out OK for the first few numbers, but as the night went on and the playing got louder, there was a lot of distortion because of the overloading. The band used big Marshall amps and I was standing 3 feet in front of an eight-foot high stack of speakers so it is to be expected. For a more acoustic or quieter show the automatic limiter would have been fine. Next time I won't stand in front of the speakers.
At home I hooked it up to the HDTV with the HDMA cable, tuned to the HDMA input with the TV remote and fired up the camera with the included remote control. The remote is a little skinny thing that does't provide any feedback when you select a function. My bedroom is less than 15 feet long so it couldn't have been more than ten feet to the camera. I had to get up and check the display in the camera to make sure the tape was rewound. This would be strictly an experimental item to be used at close range in a shooting situation.
On batteries: I have bought the "compatible" batteries and been burned many times. On my Canon sure-shot the compatible batteries would be charged (Charger light is green) but the battery would run the camera no more than 5 minutes. Same problem on my phones. For my Optura, I bought three "compatible" batteries and they worked fine. YMMV.
For editing, I've been using Ulead Visual Studio 11.5. The HV30 doesn't come with any software for movie editing or even transfering to disk. The included CD has software to transfer still pictures to a computer, but you don't need it. I verified that the HV30 is recognized automatically as a digital camera when you plug in the USB cable to the computer running XP.
I didn't install the Canon software, but I did install a miniSD chip (not included) and take some pictures. There is a different button to snap still pictures which I missed the first time I took a picture. Even if you have the switch on the still position, it starts the video tape recording if you press the camera start button. The three megapixels doesn't maake for a great picture but it may come in handy. This isn't one of the feaatures that attracted me to the camera but it may come in handy.
It copied my video from the camera and I edited it into a DVD. My Visual Studio 11.5 edits and burns AVCHD, but I haven't got a player that will read AVCHD anyway (other than my computer). I'm waiting for the Blue Ray burners to come out at reasonable cost, then I'll probably get some software that burns those. My computer is a quad-core Pentium with 4GB RAM.
If you read all the way to the end you are really a glutton for detail like me. I don't really care if you buy this camera or not. You should buy the camera that is right for you and your budget. If I felt I could afford it, I'd get a 3CCD profesional model with interchangeable lenses. I'd hire a grip to carry my equipment and set up and hold the boom mikes. I'd get some professional grade editing equipment too, like Avid. I'd get one of those business disk duplicators that print the labels and burn the disks while I sleep. OK, I'll stop.
I previously used the Sony TRV38, another very capable camcorder. The HV30 comes in a slick, black color and is slightly smaller than my Sony TRV38.
I have three young kids, so I take tons of video mostly indoors. The HV30 has very good low light capability. There's some grain in the darker videos, and the shutter speed also slows (you can see the stuttering movement in the video when taking in very low light). However, you can still see faces clearly. One cool thing I like about this camera is that it has a manual controlled LED light that can add about 3 feet of light when it's too dark. Sony has that 0 lux Night Shot that works in complete darkness, but the colors change to green and black and makes the eyes look scary. I prefer the LED light feature on the HV30 over Sony's Night Shot.
You can select from 5 different shooting modes:
1. DV (regular)
2. DV (wide screen)
3. HDV (high definition - wide screen by default)
4. HDV 24P (cinema mode)
5. HDV 30P (progressive mode)
Although I don't have a high definition TV yet, the colors in every mode looked great on my regular TV. The 24P and 30P modes give the video a "movie look and feel" (thus the name cinema mode), and this is cool just to have. I look forward to shooting something all in 24P or 30P and showing the DVD to family/friends. I'm sure they'll be amazed that my home videos don't "look" like home videos.....and this is all due to the camcorder modes.
You can take photos using the HV30 (saves onto mini SD card). You can use the camcorder as a stand-alone digital camera (3 megapixels), and there's even a flash on the camcorder for the digital camera. You can also take still photos while you're recording video. I use this to take photos while recording only because it's a nice little extra thing to have. The pictures are not all that great but not bad either. It's definitely a bonus that both video and still pictures are built into this one camera. I would still recommend a dedicated digital camera to take better quality still photos.
I backup all my videos to DVD because it's easier to watch that way. I prefer the miniDV tapes because it stores "pure" video and information like the time and date. I just started doing a little video editing using Sony Vegas software....and that seems to be a nice software package. The final video on the resulting DVD looks great.
I thought I would stick with Sony products, but so far I am enjoying the Canon HV30 and have no regrets.
I will probably be adding more to this review as I use the camera more.
Update April 7, 2008
Still liking the camcorder because of the 24P and 30P modes. You can really see that difference in the images compared to regular mode. Your video editing software must support HDV (high definition video) in order for you to edit any high definition stuff. Sony Vegas Movie Studio doesn't have it, but the Vegas Movie Studio Platinum edition DOES have it. Make sure to buy the right software if you're going to do editing.
I noticed that the sound is a little soft. Maybe there's a setting for this, but another possible reason is that the Canon's HV30's microphones are on the top of the camcorder facing up compared the my Sony TRV38's microphones on the front facing forward. This does not bother me too much.
There's an automatic lens cap which makes protecting the lens very convenient. No more fussing with a lens cap or having it dangle in your videos.
The package does not include a neck strap...you would think Canon would throw in a strap for a $900 camcorder. I bought a regular Canon strap at a local shop for $18. I think this is worth to have to keep the camcorder secure.
The battery is a cheap one and keeps a charge for about an hour or less. Since a miniDV tape is 1 hour, it would be prudent to get a better battery just to be safe. Canon makes an extended battery for about $60.
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