Canon VIXIA HV30 vs venerable HV20? Review is in!
CancorderInfo has reviewed the HV30- the newest HDV camcorder from Canon that makes a few improvements on the HV20 that has garnered plenty of praise and quite an industry of people making it work as a “pro” camera by working around its consumer camcorder limitations.
Personally, I didn’t see much in the HV30 to warrant jumping at it, but after reading CamcorderInfo’s normally exhaustive hands-on testing, I’m prepared to rethink myself on the HV30.
CamcorderInfo’s review (oh how I hate separate pages) does a great job of not only assessing the HV30, but also providing a valuable comparison to the HV20 already in many user’s hands.
The Canon HV20 shares the same excellent 1/2.7-inch CMOS chip, as well as the same architecture and manual controls. At a glance, the HV30 is merely an HV20 with a ravishing coat of black paint.
That’s what I feared, but…
But under the hood, it’s a slightly different story. The HV30 is turbocharged with 30P mode in addition to 60i and 24P. Canon recommends this setting for video destined for the internet… Canon also revamped the Zoom toggle, hot shoe cover, and added a non-solarizing LCD screen with enhanced color reproduction.
Are these earth-shattering alterations? No. But those who missed out on the HV20 will enjoy the HV30’s additional stocking stuffers.
I’m going to side with David Kender here. If you didn’t already have an HV20, the HV30 makes the lure even more enticing than before by NOT screwing up what was good, and making a few subtle enhancements to make the good now even better.
The changes on this generation’s model range from the significant to the minor, but they are all improvements. Unlike Sony, Canon has not taken any backwards steps in their HDV line.
As someone who does corporate work a lot these days, and all of that is distributed on computer screens, 30p is an excellent addition to the lineup. It’s one of the reasons we purchased Canon GL2 camcorders there (long lens and Lanc control being two other key features, which the HV20 and HV30 don’t have). The better LCD screen is always good to have. The other features improve general usability which I have always espoused over any single technical feature.
It’s not what the camera can do, it’s what you can do with the camera. And, if the camera isn’t constantly hindering you with a bunch of piddly issues, you are more apt to get where your dreams are taking you.
So, if you already have an HV20, the HV30 does not look like enough of a change to make you swap out your gun. But if you were on the edge, or just starting to look, the HV30 should be more than enough for you to pull the trigger.
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David brings up another good point: How long does HDV have to live?
For consumers, using flash media is fine. They’ve been doing it with still images for years now.
But, for professionals, whose jobs, and reputations, live on the shoulders of their images, I see such a fear as I have never seen before. So many immediately back up their images to a hard drive storage device- in the middle of a job. Then, back int he studio, they back up all their media to the computer. Then burn disks they send off to the print house. That’s four copies of their precious images. Only then do they start to breathe a sigh of relief.
Flash media is not infalliable. Neither is tape, but tape stretches & breaks in a known, physically repairable way. Plus, one HDV tape gives you more than 13 GB of storage for $3. At that price, you can put the camera original tapes on the shelf and never have to worry about a hard drive crash wiping several of your video productions off the face of the earth.
Every professional I know who uses a hard drive recorder, or switches a multi-camera show live to tape still rolls ISO tapes in the cameras themselves because it is cheap insurance. Sony’s new S270 and Z7 camcorders continue to use tape but augment the tape with compact flash media that can get the footage to the edit stage faster than real time.
Flash is good, but tape still has a place in the professional realm (corporate, event video, EFP) where time doesn’t equal money, the completed footage equals money.