JVC Everio GZ-HD30

The best Everio yet.

JVC Everio GZ-HD30
  • JVC Everio GZ-HD30
  • JVC Everio GZ-HD30
  • JVC Everio GZ-HD30
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Excellent 'Full HD' video quality, 80GB hard drive, improved low-light performance, two HD video codecs

Cons

  • Cluttered menu interface, no optical image stabiliser, not particularly beginner-friendly

Bottom Line

The GZ-HD30 is unquestionably the best consumer-level HD camcorder that JVC has ever produced. Sporting 80GB of inbuilt memory, AVCHD/MPEG-2 TS recording capabilities and an impressive low-light performance, it is bound to put a smile on most videographers' faces.

Would you buy this?

The GZ-HD30 is the latest high-def camcorder to come off the Everio production line. Like its HDD-based predecessor, the Everio GZ-HD6, it provides a veritable legion of manual shooting modes, making it a good choice for hands-on enthusiasts. In addition, JVC has made some very significant changes to its camcorder technology, including a new CMOS sensor, an updated Gigabrid image processor and AVCHD recording. Boasting a vastly improved low-light performance, stunning 1080p resolution, an 80GB hard drive and multiple recording options, it is unquestionably the best Everio yet.

Unfortunately, what JVC gives with one hand, it takes away with the other. In place of the HD6’s optical image stabiliser, an inferior electronic variant is offered. This is an unfortunate omission that is bound to affect the quality of your video. Nevertheless, it remains a very impressive unit that most users will be more than happy with.

Like all HDD-based camcorders, the GZ-HD30 records data directly onto an inbuilt hard drive, which eliminates the need for discs or tapes. Up to 33 hours of AVCHD video can be stored on the HD30’s 80GB hard disk (or 10 hours at the highest quality). This should be more than enough for the majority of users, but if you feel the need for additional storage a MicroSD slot is also included on the camera (this is an offshoot of the SD/SDHC memory card format and is traditionally found in mobile phones).

Although JVC has been manufacturing HDD camcorders longer than any other vendor this is the first model to provide AVCHD recording (its previous high-def models adhered to the MPEG-2 TS codec). AVCHD is the ‘new black’ in consumer-level HD video, and the most widely supported high-def standard on the market. Sony, Panasonic and Canon are all purveyors of this format, so it’s nice to see JVC finally joining the party.

However, in an interesting twist the HD30 also supports MPEG-2 TS. This gives you two high-def recording options in one, which broadens the scope for digital storage and editing. Both standards have their own strengths and weaknesses (AVCHD provides higher compression rates, while MPEG-2 TS offers a superior picture), so the ability to swap between them is definitely appreciated.

The HD30 has also ditched the 3CCD sensor found on the HD6. Instead, a single 1/3in CMOS chip is used. While image purists generally prefer 3CCD arrangements for their greater colour fidelity (a point that is debatable), CMOS sensors perform better in low lighting. This made a huge difference to our night-time shooting tests, with the HD30 easily trumping its myriad predecessors.

Overall, we were highly impressed by the HD30’s video performance; special mention should go to image sharpness (which is very sharp indeed) and noise levels (noise was nearly non-existent). Meanwhile, fast moving objects exhibited minimal ghosting: a big plus for kids’ sporting events. While colours were a little oversaturated at times, this lent our footage a pleasantly vivid appearance, with reds and greens really popping off the screen. (JVC has also adopted Sony’s x.v. colour mode, which boosts the vibrancy even further.)

The HD30 has the dubious distinction of being the world’s smallest HD camcorder with a 1.8in hard drive. It’s an ‘accolade’ that reminds us of those convoluted box office movie records (‘best opening Sunday for a comedy feature, during a school holiday, ever!’) Dodgy showboating aside, there’s no denying that the HD30 is an impressively compact camera. It will easily fit inside most jacket pockets, which — combined with its quick start operation — makes for an impressive point-and-shooter.

In terms of operation the HD30 is very similar to the previous generation of Everio camcorders (although JVC has wisely dropped its much-maligned Laser Touch system, as found on the Everio GZ-MG730 and GZ-MG465B). Instead, an LCD-mounted joystick is used for menu navigation. Somewhat confusingly, nudging the joystick will trigger certain functions, such as night mode, even if you aren't navigating the menu. This may baffle first-time users and can prove annoying if you accidentally bump the stick during operation. On the plus side, it offers quick, fuss-free access to certain features that would otherwise be buried within the menu.

As with previous Everio units, we found the menu to be a tad complicated and unwieldy, though this is to be expected from a camcorder equipped with so many shooting functions. Some of the highlights include adjustable shutter speed, exposure, and gain; manual white balance; an aperture priority mode; backlight compensation; and a truly excellent focal assist function that makes manual focusing a breeze. On the other side of things, the HD30 lacks a novice-friendly Easy mode, which makes it less than ideal for beginners.

Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?