Canon VIXIA HF M30
Recording HD quality videos has been the new trend lately as people are buying HDTVs and other high-definition equipment for much affordable prices compared to previous years. One of the major concerns brought up by average users is the amount of high-definition footage they can actually record. Hours of recording are possible in standard formats, but 1080p videos in AVCHD take up a lot of space. If budget is also a concern, then the Canon VIXIA HF M30 is well-rounded and serves as a nice addition to the existing midrange lineup of VIXIA camcorders.
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Design and Interface
Canon’s VIXIA digital camcorders were famous for their compact and sleek appearance that promises easy handling and comfort in all sides. This remains true with the new M30 model and its M31 and M300 siblings. In fact, a lot of the hardware remains the same, including the lens which still supports up to 15x zoom and CMOS sensor which can take 3.3 megapixel photos or record in maximum 1080p resolution. One neat addition to this model is built-in lens cover which can close automatically when camcorder is switched off.
The layout of the Canon VIXIA HF M30 is more simplified with fewer buttons because the 2.7-inch LCD display now doubles as a touchscreen. Some clutter is reduced as well with the microphone and other component inputs moved to the side of the camera which can be protected when the LCD display is closed. The only button found on the display is the Powered IS button which adds some stability whenever needed.
More controls can be found on the top of the camera, including the shutter button for taking still photos and the new video snap button. The zoom settings can be toggled from there as well. Rather than sporting a mode dial, the M30 features an accessible switch that lets users choose between manual and Dual Shot mode. The record button can also be found on the back of the camcorder.
The Canon VIXIA HF M30 is lightweight for a midrange camera and the large comfortable hand strap makes it one of the better camcorders to use for beginners that want some extra control and features.
“The VIXIA HF M30 is an awesome camera, probably the best under $700, with really good functions and a lense that gives you beautiful results. It won’t take up all of your computers memory either, unlike the $1000 semi-professional camcorders, but its quality is still first rate. It gives you the option to be very creative as an artist, and fits the needs for your vLoging if you want to take it to the next level. I adore this camera and am so glad I didn’t cheat myself by buying a $300 dollar camera with a garbage lense.” – J.W.Shimkus (USA)
In addition to the new touch screen interface, another main highlight is the Relay Recording technology wherein the recording uses up the internal flash memory. As soon as the 8 GB is consumed, the recording still continues as long as an SD memory card is present. Putting a high capacity SDHC card is good for recording long hours of uninterrupted footage. This also allows additional recording time for HD footage in addition to the initial 40 minutes of recording when the maximum 24 Mbps settings are applied. When quality isn’t as important, LP settings can be used to squeeze in 3 hours of video into the flash memory.
On maximum 1080p settings, video quality is decent overall despite some of the minor shortcomings in color accuracy and noise levels. One of the technologies that still make the Canon VIXIA HF M30 a good pick is the Dynamic SuperRange Optical Image Stabilization with Powered IS. The optical image stabilization alone is good when filming on the go using wide-angle focal lengths. In telephoto focal lengths, stabilization is even more important and that is where the Powered IS feature can be used. This technology also contributes to the stellar sharpness quality and motion performance. The other technology that is responsible for the good HD performance is the DIGIC DV III image processor.
Another technology that backs up high definition shooting is the instant AF feature which ups the accuracy and speed of auto focusing. Its use of an external sensor makes the focus instantaneous, allowing moving subjects to be accurately captured no matter the lighting condition.
It is easy to share the videos on the web, thanks to the HD-to-SD down conversion feature. This method significantly reduces the file size while preserving the original HD quality so nothing is lost. It can then be transferred to the card or to the computer using USB. If an Eye-Fi SD card is inserted, it can also be uploaded directly to certain sharing sites by pressing the Powered IS button during playback mode.
It also has improved face detection technologies with support up to 35 faces for noticeable enhancements along with a tracking feature that doubles as a face indexer for easier searching. Faces can even be tracked if they are turned downwards or sideways.
The Canon VIXIA HF M30 continues the same tradition as the HF20, so expect the price to be $100 cheaper than the M31 due to the reduced flash memory capacity and that is a good thing if a high capacity SD card is used.
More user reviews:
• “I have now owned this camcorder for a couple weeks. I love everything about it except the Pixela software it came with. The software gives an error message every time I try to import the videos from the camcorder to my computer, which is frustrating because I have tried everything I can think of to resolve the problem. Other than that, the experience has been very positive. The touch screen takes a little getting used to, but once I got a handle on it, I found it much more appealing than a traditional menu toggle.” – M.Helgeson (MO,USA)
• “The video quality is excellent. The zoom is great. The image stabilization is amazing. It has a button you can press to increase it even further and even zoomed in at 15x, I was able to get a very steady picture.
Where the camera has truly exceeded my expectations is underwater. I got the case Canon sells for this and have used it diving the past two days and its been awesome. The quality underwater is just as good as above! The camera has an underwater mode which is truly color corrects things underwater. They even realize that you may want to record above water and give you a way to switch between underwater mode and above water (boat) mode with the camera in the case. Buying the camera and the underwater case is not much more then buying a case from other 3rd party vendors either, so the value was huge for me.
There’s really nothing negative I can say, other then the touch screen takes some getting used to. In comparison to previous models, such as the HF100 which I also own, they’ve really improved a lot of issues, such as slow switching between modes or slowness issues with taking stills while recording video.
Bottom line – If you want a great High Def Camcorder at a good price with the ability to get one of the least expensive underwater cases available, then this is the camera for you. Even if you aren’t interested in underwater recording, its a great camera out of the water too!” – M.Shulman (MA,USA)
• “This camera is awesome! I did a lot of reviewing before i bought this, I looked everywhere and i did not find a better price than here on amazon. I love the size and the touch screen display. The quality on the videos and the pictures are great! The built in mic is excellent! I just recently went to see Underoath live and i recorded the full set. Afterward i was quite pleased when i played back the video and i could make out the individual instruments. Ive also made videos at night and the camera light is quite powerful as well as the flash. Hope this helped!” – R.O.Hahn (CO,USA)
• “Great Camera! Zooming takes a little to get used to because it’s slower then me but I don’t most things fast. I do recommend a wide angle lens to take in more up close and personal video but it’s a fast camera and easy to use. It’s almost a pro grade unit because of all the extras you can add but I would get extra memory cards if you want to use more than a hour of filming at a time.” – C.Mastrangelo (NJ,USA)
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