An old dog learns some new tricks
- Performed excellently in low light, 25p Cine mode, unique and arresting design, extensive audio options
- MiniDV is a dying format, may prove a bit bulky for some
Despite its reliance on an outdated format, the Canon HV30 is a superior high-def camcorder that offers exceptional value for money. If you can get over your anti-tape prejudice and embrace MiniDV, this model will deliver on every level.
Price$ 1,449.00 (AUD)
The HV30 is part of a rare and arguably dying breed of high-definition camcorder. Instead of coming equipped with an inbuilt hard drive, it sticks to the oldest and most venerable of digital video formats: MiniDV. Canon is the only manufacturer that still supports MiniDV in the high-definition sector, which gives an indication of its ailing popularity. For some, this will be enough to put them off buying the HV30 entirely — who wants to muck around with fiddly tapes when you can use flash media or DVDs instead?
We feel sorry for these people because they're going to be missing out on a superb little camera. Simply put, the HV30 offers some of the best video quality we've seen from any camcorder in this price range. It will prove particularly suitable for amateur film-makers and people who like to extensively edit their videos.
As its name implies, the HV30 is a minor reworking of Canon's HV20, sporting the same 3.1-megapixel CMOS sensor and 10x optical zoom. Just like the HV20, it records video to MiniDV tapes in the HDV format.
In recent years, HDV has been largely superseded by the AVCHD format, which offers superior rates of video compression. While this is beneficial to hard-disk-based cameras, it's not so much of an issue for MiniDV. Plus, because it has been around longer, HDV is more widely supported by non-linear editing applications. This means cutting your videos together will be a lot less problematic.
When it comes to video quality, Canon is generally regarded to be the best camcorder manufacturer in the business. The HV30 continues this stellar reputation, delivering superb visuals that easily surpass the majority of competitively priced rivals. We were particularly impressed by its performance in low-light conditions, with less noise marring the shot than we're typically used to. (No doubt this is largely due to the HV30's superior-grade 1/2.7in CMOS sensor.)
One of the main improvements over the HV20 model is the inclusion of a 25p progressive mode. Similar to Panasonic's HDC-SD9 25p Cinema Mode, this new recording option offers rich, true-to-life colours that mimic the feel of celluloid. This is obviously very handy if you make short films, and will give your subjects a smooth, filmic motion reminiscent of the big screen. Needless to say, when it comes to recording video the HV30 will give you very little to complain about.
In terms of design, the Canon HV30 is a cut above the usual HD fare, especially when compared to its HV20 predecessor. As has become the norm for high-end cameras, its body has been dipped in glossy black paint to give it a professional sheen. The shape of the camcorder is vaguely futuristic, with an unusual curvature that sets it apart from its rivals. However, at well over half a kilogram, the HV30 is not one of those super-sleek models that can be tossed in your jacket pocket and forgotten about.
This is one of the drawbacks of the MiniDV format, with the tape's housing compartment increasing the camera's bulk. On the plus side, the extra weight may assist in capturing smooth footage; something which is further aided by Canon's excellent optical image stabiliser. Most users will be more than satisfied with the way this camera handles (provided their fingers are small enough to manipulate the menu's joystick)
Special mention must also go to the HV30's excellent audio options. In addition to an impressive inbuilt microphone, the camera comes equipped with a hot accessory shoe and external microphone and headphone jacks. You can also manually adjust audio levels via the camera's miniature joystick. This makes the HV30 an excellent choice for budding film-makers and serious videographers who require crystal-clear sound.
The HV30 also comes equipped with a MiniSD memory card slot. However, unlike the majority of its competitors, this can only be used to capture still images — not video. We were mildly impressed by its stills performance though, with a maximum image resolution of 2048x1536.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® Portable SSD
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Acer Swift 7
Google Daydream VR headset
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Venom Blackbook Zero 14 laptop review
Latest News Articles
- HBO brought its best shows to life at SXSW with an awesome escape room
- AT&T will acquire Time Warner for US$85.4b in content play
- Facebook adds Apple TV and Chromecast support as video push ramps up
- Remocam review: This security camera can control your home appliances
- Logitech's C922 webcam is the revered C920's vastly upgraded successor
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- LG G6: unboxing, hands on review and detail shots
- Samsung Galaxy A5 2017: unboxing, hands on review and detail shots
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTLinux / Unix Systems AdministratorSA
- TPJunior Business AnlystVIC
- TPBusiness AnalystNSW
- FTHead of Architecture, Global Financial InstitutionNSW
- TPSolution Architect - IntegrationQLD
- FTBusiness Analyst - SalesforceVIC
- FTFunctional Consultant - CommercialsQLD
- CCSharePoint Developer - Multiple Roles - 3-6 Mth Contract Initially - SydneyNSW
- FTOracle eBusiness Functional Consultant. (Procurement)NSW
- TPBusiness AnalystQLD
- TPTechnical ManagerNSW
- CCVirtualisation Engineer - IP NetworksVIC
- FTApplication Support Analyst - SMSF solutions - www.class.com.auNSW
- FTSolutions Architects - 10 roles availableACT
- FTService Desk AnalystsSA
- FTSenior / Lead AEM DeveloperNSW
- FTBusiness Analyst (BI / Analytics)NSW
- FTFull Stack Web DeveloperNSW
- FTSenior Developer/DevOpsVIC
- CCSenior Network Designer - CiscoVIC
- FTICT Business Development Manager - Technical Products/SolutionsQLD
- FTSolution ArchitectVIC
- FTTechnical Business AnalystNSW
- FTService Desk AnalystNSW