Canon Legria HF G30 review
1/2.84 CMOS sensor, PAL, 1,920x1,080, 1,280x1,080, 640x360, 20.0x zoom, 900g
The Canon Legria HF G30 is a very wide Full HD camcorder with a 20x optical zoom, 400x digital zoom and a large 3.5in OLED touchscreen monitor. It also has an electronic viewfinder, built-in Wi-Fi and a host of enthusiast-oriented features such as a zoom and focus ring.
Although it’s wide, we had no trouble holding it in our medium-sized hands. The HF G30 isn’t light, but it doesn’t uncomfortably heavy either, even though its 900g weight makes it almost twice as heavy as many camcorders. The well-padded handstrap helps in this respect, but we still found ourselves holding it with both hands. Of course, it makes sense to mount it on a tripod if you’re shooting for a protracted length of time.
When held, your fingers naturally fall on a tapering part of the top panel, except your index finger, which sits on a rocker switch that controls zoom. Important buttons on the rear include a large Record button, a function button and a push-button joystick that’s used to traverse menus in the viewfinder and touchscreen. One switch on its top panel lets you choose between its media playback and camcorder functions, while the other lets you choose between manual, automatic and cinema modes, with the latter mode providing you with cinematic filters that you can use for special effect.
Also on its top panel are two accessory shoes. One is a regular shoe and the other is Canon’s Advanced Mini Shoe, which lets you use Canon accessories such as microphones and lamps.
The Legria HF G30’s 3.5in OLED touchscreen is absolutely superb. It has a high resolution of 1,230,000 dots and objects viewed through it look incredibly detailed, with good colour accuracy. It’s large size and high resolution also mean that the icons on it look sharp and don’t crowd the monitor. As well as battery life, the display also shows you whether you’re in auto or manual mode, the amount of recording time left on the SD card and the currently set bitrate and frame rate, among other things; all the information you really need to know.
Its viewfinder is similarly excellent, and we had no problem using it and viewing the onscreen menu, even with our longsight. The onscreen menu is the same as that viewed on the touchscreen.
If you don’t want to or can’t stream videos to your TV, you can always connect the HF G30 to your TV with the included HDMI cable or transfer them to you PC with the include USB cable. The HF G30’s other connections include an A/V output, 3.5mm microphone and headphone jacks and a remote control jack. Conveniently, the HF G30 has two SD card slots, and you can select the one you’d like to use for videos and the one you’d like to use for photos.
The HF G30 can record video in either AVCHD 2.0 or MP4 formats. We recorded at the highest, which is 28Mbit/s and 50fps progressive in the AVCHD format, and found the footage to be excellent. We saw mosquito noise on a handrail in our rooftop footage, but we expected to see it there. Even so, it’s barely perceptible unless you zoom in on it. We also saw noise around the clouds of an overcast sky but again, this was only perceptible if you looked for it. We also saw chroma noise, but only where very light coloured objects met very dark objects.
Noise is a little more prevalent on indoor footage under fluorescent lighting, but was more noticeable in darker environments, predictably so.
The HF G30 provided great amounts of detail, so much so that we noticed things on the BT Tower that we haven’t before, such as light fittings and shadows. Not only could we see the texture of bricks in a wall, we also felt a sense of depth and could see where one set of bricks was slightly indented compared to the others. Even reflections in glass had a natural appearance.
The colour accuracy is excellent, with beige electrical boxes looking beige instead of a light grey. Some camcorders make bright objects lose all their detail and staining and make them appear a uniform shade of a bright colour. The high-end HF G30 doesn’t not suffer from this problem, and we could see detail on very brightly coloured paving slabs.
We were even impressed with the lower 17Mbit/s bit rate recorded in the AVCHD format. Even at his lower rate, there was very little evidence of compression and noise.
You can control the HF G30 remotely, but you must connect to its web interface through your browser rather than use an app, as is more commonly the case with modern camcorders. We found its web interface slow and unresponsive, with a lot of delay and a low frame rate, whether we used a PC or an iPad. We found its media server function much more useful, and were able to stream video to our PC without problems.
The Legria HF G30 is a consumer camcorder, but it has plenty of features that will make enthusiasts very happy, such as the audio jacks, lens ring and two accessory shoes. Plus, its image quality is excellent.
The Panasonic HC-X920 is much cheaper and is a great alternative if you don’t want to spend lots of money. If you have the money, however, the charismatic Legria HF G30 is an excellent buy.
|LCD screen size||3.5in|
|Video recording format||AVCHD 2.0, MPEG4|
|Video recording media||SDXC|
|Video resolutions||PAL, 1,920x1,080, 1,280x1,080, 640x360|
|Maximum image resolution||1,920x1,080|
|Memory slot||2x SDXC|
|Digital inputs/outputs||mini HDMI out, mini USB|
|Analogue inputs/outputs||AV out, 3.5mm micrphone input, 3.5mm audio output|
|Other connections||charge jack, remote terminal, accessory shoe, Canon Mini Advanced Shoe|
|Battery life||2h 37m|
|Battery charging position||camcorder|
|Warranty||one year RTB|