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Toshiba Camileo P30 review

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Toshiba Camileo P30
  • Toshiba Camileo P30
  • Toshiba Camileo P30
  • Toshiba Camileo P30
  • Toshiba Camileo P30
  • Toshiba Camileo P30
  • Toshiba Camileo P30
  • Toshiba Camileo P30
  • Toshiba Camileo P30
  • Toshiba Camileo P30
  • Camileo P30 Digital Camcorder (Flash Memory - 6.4 cm 2.50" Active Matrix TFT Colour LCD - 5x Optical/4x Digital - 128 MB Flash Memory)

Summary

Our Score:

6

User Score:

Toshiba may not have won any prizes for the image quality offered by its camcorders just yet, but it's certainly competing well on price. The Camileo H10 provided 720p shooting for less than £150. Now Toshiba raises the value stakes yet again with the P30, which promises 1080p shooting for a similar amount.

Unlike the H10, the P30 uses a palmcorder format, and it's remarkably tiny, too. It weighs around 160g with battery and memory card, and measures just 104mm along its longest edge. These proportions may not be quite as small as the new breed of pocket Internet camcorders such as the Creative Vado HD, so it's not quite trouser-friendly. But it wouldn't ruin the cut of a jacket, and Toshiba supplies a handy pouch for protection. This is particularly useful as, bizarrely, Toshiba has continued its recent trend of not including a lens cap, so you better be careful not to scratch or get dirt on the optics.

Toshiba isn't as detailed about the internal specification of its products as some other manufacturers. The sensor is a 5-megapixel CMOS, but there's no information about its size. The high resolution allows the P30 to perform its party trick of shooting 1080p video. This is recorded with 29.97 progressive frames a second (effectively 30fps), but the native resolution is anamorphic 1,440 x 1,080, like HDV and the initial versions of AVCHD, rather than 1,920 x 1,080 Full HD. There are also QVGA, VGA, WVGA 60, and 720p HD shooting modes.

The Camileo also promises 8-megapixel still images, using interpolation. The actual resolution is 3,200 x 2,400, which isn't quite 8-megapixels. If you want to stay within the native resolution of the sensor, a 2,592 x 1,944 option is available.

The P30 does include a small amount of built-in memory, but this 96MB complement is only going to be sufficient for a couple of minutes of footage. Footage is recorded as H.264 MOV files, and the 1080p mode uses a fairly miserly 8.58Mbits/sec, so a 1GB SD card will be enough for around 16 minutes of footage. With 8GB SDHC cards costing around a tenner these days, storage for a couple of hours of footage won't break the bank.

Features are few and far between, however. There's a 5x optical zoom. A small LED video light is built in, but it's pretty weak, proving ineffective much beyond about 1m. This also doubles as the flash when in digital photo mode, and it's not much more effective here either. At least it has its own control button on the rear, making it easy to enable.

Manual settings are particularly scarce, however. Aside from a macro mode, you can alter exposure in seven steps from -1 to +1 EV, and that's it. There is no manual focusing and no control over shutter speed. Scene modes are on offer, but Toshiba has bundled digital effects in the same category. So alongside Night mode and Backlight compensation are Black and white, and Negative effects.

TheLostSwede

April 4, 2009, 5:37 am

Any chance TR will look at the PocketDV AHD Z700 from Aiptek?


It looks like a good contender for a cheap HD camcorder or sorts...

Pihrana

April 4, 2009, 5:29 pm

When are TR going to start providing video samples for the video recorders on test (I don't mean Video reviews either)? With Camera's you take sample shots. It stands to reason that with Video recorders you should be providing sample video... surely?

James Morris

April 6, 2009, 4:51 pm

@TheLostSwede I will look into getting that Aiptek for review.





@Pihrana Unfortunately, with the number of views we get for our camcorder reviews, the hosting costs for putting up sample videos would be prohibitive, and not economically viable. It's a shame, but there's a reason why no major camcorder reviewing site I know of puts up raw sample footage. With some footage taking 3MB per second, it's just not possible when potentially tens of thousands might download.

Alice

April 6, 2009, 10:09 pm

Yes it would be good if we could get the review for the Aiptek AHD Z700.


I am looking for a pocket camcorder with a good performance on low light, can you help please?

Scotty81

April 7, 2009, 1:25 pm

How about putting the samples on Vimeo?, as people could either watch online in its 720p mode, or download the raw file from there

Pihrana

April 8, 2009, 9:14 pm

@ James Morris - Thanks for the Reply. I apprieciate you explaining why it can't happen, and I'm certainly not going to argue with that. I love TR and their FREE reviews, so I'll stick with your written word for recommendations.....

Ali Senshi

July 27, 2014, 3:31 am

Is the microphone of this camera good enought to record Musical instruments please? with a good quality??? Answer me please

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