on 2 November 2013
I purchased the Legria HF-G30 as my Panasonic X920 does not have a Lanc socket which as I have found to my cost is (in my opinion) indispensable when using a tripod. The G30 picture is perhaps not quite as sharp as the X920 but you could argue that the result is more pleasing. Colors are rendered well.
I would criticise both camcorders for not supplying a full paper manual (rather difficult to pack your PC when going on holiday). The X920 on screen menu is perhaps more intuitive, but the assignable buttons on the G30 are extremely practical, its a pity that there are no neutral density filters. Having a proper lens hood is a definite advantage. I would prefer the standard accessory shoe to be placed further back but unlike the X920 the dead cat on my Rode mike does not show in the picture. A record button on top of the unit would have been useful.
The ability to set a focus point on the touch screen is very practical and works quickly and with the minimum of fuss. Still pictures grabbed from the camcorder itself while playing back footage on the camcorder screen (before downloading to a PC) are superb and better than both the dedicated photo facility or when grabbing frames in Vegas Pro.
One downside in the auto mode on a tripod, is that very cleverly the stabiliser is automatically switched off, but in windy conditions a gust of wind will cause picture shake before the auto stabiliser cuts in. The G30 zoom has a wider range both at wide angle and telephoto.
I tried recording LPCM Audio but although Vegas Pro handles it, the audio will not play in windows media player or in VLC player.
The X920 is smaller & lighter than the G30. end
on 26 March 2015
Most people reading this review will possibly be considering the purchase the G30 and will want to know what existing owners think of it, so I'll cut right to the chase and say that this camcorder is an excellent piece of kit, solidly put together and enough manual controls to satisfy the enthusiast. It also has a smart auto mode which is effectively point and shoot, so even beginners can use it. Yes, I would recommend it highly. It's a little larger than most, but that gives it stability in the hand. It's a little more expensive than most due to the build quality and specification, but mostly you get what you pay for, and with the G30 you get a lot of camcorder.
Previously I had been using a mid range Canon R506 which had impressed me with its image quality and features, but left me wanting on a few counts. Firstly, it had no viewfinder. In sunlight I found it nigh on impossible to see what I was shooting, let alone adjust the settings. The G30 is one of the few consumer camcorders that has a viewfinder, one that is sharp and clear and which tilts up at 45 degrees, making it much more versatile and I nearly always use it in this position.
Secondly, like most consumer camcorders, there are few if any manual controls on the R506, whereas the G30 has them all. You have control over pretty much everything - aperture, shutter speed, exposure, focus and lots more. You can even adjust the sharpness, contrast and colour depth. And there are a whole range of colour balance presets. The menus could be a bit more intuative and I got lost on a couple of occasions, but once I'd assigned some of the function buttons to things like aperture, colour balance, exposure and focus I had less need to go delving into the menus on the touch screen. The main thing I use the touch screen for is to set a focus point by touching the place where I want focus to be and letting the G30 follow focus on that object. This is handy for off center subjects or those that move about. The combination of a larger than average sensor and the ability to set a wide aperture means creating out of focus backgrounds is much easier to achieve. The G30 has a front filter thread allowing me to use a polarizing filter. I can now go to the zoo and shoot through glass enclosures without picking up the reflections of the people behind me !
Another reason I chose the G30 is the 20x zoom lens. I make a lot of wildlife videos and did wonder if even a 20x would been sufficient, but so far it has proved perfectly adequate. There is a digital zoom to increase the range but I have yet to use it so cannot comment on its effectiveness. I'm quite happy with the image quality too. Don't have anything to compare it with, but the blue ray discs I have produced look stunning. The zoom rocker switch is a joy to use - smooth and controllable, with what seems like an endless range of options for controlling zoom speed, soft start and stop, and more. You can also adjust the focus speed - from fast to slow - with a range of other options too.
Audio quality is very good and the inbuilt microphone seems less susceptable to picking up extraneous sounds than other camcorders that I have used. This helps in noisy environments like the zoo, or where there is passing traffic. Wind noise too seems less obtrusive also. There are a range of sound presets for different environments, and recording level can be set manually if you wish. Most importantly there are inputs for external microphone and earphones.
The G30 has a special switch for selecting auto, manual or cinema. If you're in a hurry, or just feeling lazy, just switch on, select auto, take off the lens cap, and point and shoot. It's as easy as that. The camera analyses the scene and selects the appropriate setting acordingly. Mostly it works well but it can be fooled. It mistook a bright red shrub for a sunset and the resulting footage was - interesting !
I don't do a lot of low light work but did casually take the G30 out one night and aimed it, hand held, at a floodlit church about two miles away on maximum zoom. I have to say the results were quite impressive, and had I taken more care I'm sure I could have managed to get even better results.
So, are there any downsides to this camcorder ? Well yes, there are a few. How significant they are depends on what your requirements are and how many compromises you are prepared to make. The G30 is significantly larger than most consumer camcorders. Not a problem for me as I find the inertia of the extra bulk makes it much easier to hold steady than the lighter R506 which moved every time I pressed the start/stop botton. But I do miss the convenience of being able to just drop the camera into my jacket pocket and hardly know it's there. You could carry it by its strap, but I always remove these on my camcorders and they generate a lot of handling noise in the audio track.
It's great to have the function buttons in various locations around the G30, but to my mind they are too flush with the camera body making them difficult to locate and operate by feel. Just raising them up by a millimeter or two would make them much easier to use. I have to use my fingernail to press them in bur someone with smaller fingers may find it easier.
Non of these were deal breakers for me as the pros vastly outweighed the cons. I did a lot of research before settling on the G30. It's obvious competitor is the Panasonic WX 920, which is smaller, lighter and cheaper, but only a 12x zoom, no tilting viewfinder, and the manual controls seemed to be limited. Also I got the impression that it was built to a price with some evidence of cost cutting. So the Canon Legria HF G30 won out. I love it and can highly recommend it.
on 11 April 2015
With the same questions popping up on numerous sites I thought I'd post a review explaining what I have done.
Firstly, I have the Canon Legria HF G30.
The most repeated minus point from the different sites has been the need to recharge the battery in the camera, with no-one explaining that this hasn't got to be the case.
I bought an: EX-Pro@ Canon BP-808, BP-820, BP-828, CG-800E, CG-800B Battery Travel Charger, UK, USA, Canada & Europe - 2 hour Fast Charger for Canon Camcorder HF . . . £8.95 from Amazon.
I bought an: EX-Pro@ Canon BP-828 2670mAh Lithium ion high capacity plus replacement digital camera battery for G/X series camcorders . . .£24.86 from Amazon.
This battery is twice the capacity of the £99 Canon battery which comes with the camera. Even though they give a life of 2 years against the Canon's 10 years these batteries usually last longer than 2 years, and experience has shown me that 10 year batteries rarely last that long . . so a fresh battery for £25 every 2-3 years is what I prefer.
A Hoya 85mm Pro-1 Digital UV screw in filter . . . £17.10 . . . from Amazon. I don't need to tell photographers that this is the first essential to buy.
Photographic Solutions 10x10cm pec pad (pack 100) . . . £9.03 . . from Amazon. Non-abrasive pads for lens cleaning.
Photographic Solutions Eclipse lens and ccd cleaning fluid . .£13.85 . .from Amazon. to use with the pads.
Well ! . .there it is, I hope some find it useful, particularly the charging batteries off camera, and everything you need can be found on Amazon.
PS. Download Daum Pot player, superior codecs, and it's free . . it will play all your audio.
on 14 February 2014
I have a number of Canon still and video products and this is a seriously good bit of hardware.
It is a little bigger than the predecessor (an HFS-11) from my kit bag and a little heavier but that is where any downsides end.
The image quality is quite simply superb. Full HD reproduction is excellent and there is a choice of recording data rates to take care of the majority of users needs. I use the maximum data rate and a pair of 64GB hi speed (45Mbps) cards to handle the 38Mbps recording speed.
A full range of manual functions are included as is the ability to define certain buttons to whichever custom function you might prefer.
Wireless 'n' standard is built in allowing direct uploads to the usual collection of online services or to your own ftp server/laptop should you prefer.
There is an App which allows control of the camera remotely, although there is an annoying and significant delay between what the camera is seeing (and recording) and what appears on the lo-res ipad display.
The viewscreen is touch capable and allows selection of functions during recording without affecting it in terms of sounds from using the display screen. There is also a colour viewfinder.
There are two accessory shoes - one Canon's proprietary standard which only works with their hardware, and a second 'cold shoe' for mounting your own lights, microphones and other accessories. Connection is also available for the Canon GPS-E2 for setting the clock - though not for geotagging video.
This is an expensive camera, but that is what I would expect from what is clearly a 'Prosumer' model. Those looking for a fully specified and high quality full HD camcorder will find this a welcome addition to their own kit bags.
on 18 April 2014
After six months of use I am downgrading this from 5* because of the poor performance of the stabiliser, which while panning in any mode is jerky & awkward. A big factor for filming in most circumstances. Well short of the Sony cameras of similar price.
Well there are so many good things to say about this cam but I just want to mention the one bad thing which is the darned stabiliser switching itself off. Would be much better if they can do a firmware update & just allow it to be on all the time even if it is being held still.
It is ridiculous that it gives up if you're doing a good job yourself. My Sony CX730 still has the best stabiliser ever, their so-called BOSS system. If only they could all cross-pollenate a few patents.
on 9 June 2015
I bought the Canon Legria HFG30 because i wanted to upgrade to a semi-pro camera after years of wanting one - there's been alot of good reviews about this camera and so far most of them live up to expectations, although i must admit there's more controls and functions than i've ever been used to so will need to get my head around those... also the Manual you need to load from CD-ROM which i find frustrating as i'm not the best with computers but other than that all is good.
The camera is a funny shape, but solid and quite bulky more than i expected.
So far the images i have seen the quality is fantastic and been playing around with cinema mode. Again, this camera has alot of options, controls and needs to be figured out properly.
As for the product very happy with purchase so far and Amazon dispatched quickly. Bought the camera on a Saturday and delivered by Monday very happy with fast service and delivery.
Hopefully can get some good home and family footage with this once i get my head around the functions ;)