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Now that most manufacturers are turning their attention away from tape Canon's HV20 has managed to remain uncontested for some time as the best HDV camcorder around. Until now. But fortunately for Canon the latest contender to the HV20's crown is its successor. So if the HV20 offered nearly the pinnacle of high-end consumer HDV, is there any room for the HV30 to show improvement?


The HV30's core specifications are nearly identical to the HV20's. Both use a 1/2.7in CMOS sensor with 2.96-megapixels, and the same lens with 10x optical zoom available. In fact, you will be hard pressed to find many differences beyond the new appearance. The HV30 is dressed in trendy black, whereas the HV20 used more old-fashioned silver, although the build quality is still the same, and not as solid as Sony's HDR-HC9E. One innovation is that the HV30 now has something called a Multiangle Vivid LCD, although it's still 2.7in with 211,000 pixels. This has a wider viewing angle than before, and a Hard Coat AR surface treatment, which improves colour vividness whilst reducing reflection.


Also, like the HV20, Canon has audaciously added the Full HD 1080 logo to the side of the box. But whilst the CMOS has enough pixels for 1,920 x 1,080, and does actually use 2.07Mpixels to shoot video, HDV is only recorded at 1,440 x 1,080, so the signal is scaled down horizontally. Still, the extra sensor resolution should still provide a more detailed picture, and was part of the reason why the HV20 was capable of such awesome image quality.

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