Unusually for a camcorder at this price, the LCD is actually a touchscreen. But this only operates the menu. Toshiba hasn’t harnessed it for any one-press focus or exposure functions. In fact, there is no direct manual control over the latter settings at all, nor shutter speed. There is a scene mode menu available, but this doesn’t include the usual portrait and sports options. Instead, Toshiba has rounded up a soft skin setting, alongside a night mode and backlight compensation.
There are also digital effects for black and white, negative, and classic sepia tone. You can only select one of these scene settings at a time, though, so there will be no black and white footage with backlight compensation and soft skin. Presets for white balance are also available, with two indoor options and one outdoor, alongside fully automatic. But you can’t set white levels manually.
Strangely, there’s also an Effect menu that doesn’t contain digital effects. This is where you toggle image stabilisation and a variety of special shooting modes. Like the Camileo S20, you can only use image stabilisation at resolutions below Full HD, presumably because – like the digital zoom – it uses the extra available pixels when not all the CMOS is being utilised. It’s not the most effective system, either.
Macro mode is enabled using software rather than a physical switch on the camcorder body, and this can be found within the Effect menu too. The remaining options include a motion detection system, which triggers recording when sufficient action is sensed within the frame, and a slow motion system, which records at 120 frames per second but with a resolution of just 320 x 240 pixels. The final option is time lapse, which records a frame every 1, 3 or 5 seconds, so you can watch grass grow or paint drying without getting quite so bored.
Not surprisingly, there’s no accessory shoe nor mini-jacks for an external microphone or headphones. A side flap houses a mini-jack for outputting composite analogue video and stereo RCA audio, mini-USB, and a mini-HDMI socket. Underneath a flap on the bottom is the SD slot, positioned alongside the compartment for the removable battery. You also get a small selection of extras in the box, which is another surprise considering the H30’s price. In particular, Toshiba bundles a cable so you can hook up the H30’s mini-HDMI to the full-sized HDMI found on an HDTV. There’s also a little pouch to keep the camcorder in.
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