Although most of Toshiba’s consumer electronics products aim for the higher end of their respective markets, its camcorders tend to be distinctly value oriented. The Camileo H30 doesn’t break the mould, with its sub-£200 price, but it does offer a few features not normally associated with camcorders this cheap.
For a start, it shoots Full HD, although Toshiba already offers this for even less with its Camileo S20. But where the S20 only provides a quality-reducing digital zoom, the H30 sports a fully fledged optical version, although the factor is a mere 5x, where most more expensive camcorders boast at least twice as much. Nevertheless, compared to similarly priced pocket Internet camcorders such as the Flip Video UltraHD, a real optical zoom of any nature is to be commended. If you’re shooting at resolutions below Full HD, there’s also a 4x digital zoom available as well, for a 20x total.
The H30 is built around a 10-megapixel CMOS sensor – twice the resolution of the S20’s, although as with the latter Toshiba hasn’t publicised the physical size of this sensor. A modicum of interpolation is added to bring the still image resolution up to 16-megapixels. There’s a small flash built into the H30 to help with photography, but unlike the S20 no LED video light is provided.
Video resolutions range from VGA up to the aforementioned Full HD. In between, there’s 720p and a curious 848 x 480 option called WVGA. This provides a 16:9 widescreen aspect but with the same vertical resolution as VGA. It also records at 60 frames/sec whilst the other modes use 30 frames/sec. Video is stored on flash memory, but the H30 includes just 128MB on board, of which only about 96MB is usable, so SDHC media is a necessity. At the top Full HD quality setting, a 4GB card will be enough for around one hour of video.
The H30 isn’t exactly packed with camcorder features. Discrete function buttons are few and far between. A Pre REC control can be found under the LCD, which also doubles as a web upload button, for one-touch YouTube video distribution. The jog dial on the rear also incorporates a trio of functions activated when you press strategic points around its edge. Top left toggles the Digital Light system, which brightens the image artificially using post processing rather than actual physical illumination. Top right toggles the onscreen data, whilst pressing along the bottom deletes the last clip or all clips from the currently selected recording media.