Digital Zoom: 240 X
Optical Zoom: 12 X
LCD Screen Size: 2.5 in
Recording Media: Mini DV|MultiMediaCard|SD Memory Card
Audio Support: PCM
Additional Features: PC Connection|PCM Digital Recording|Viewfinder
Image Stabilization: Digital
: Number of User Reviews: 10
Reviewed by: mrholliday from CA on Apr 2, 2005
Experience: 14 Days
Strengths: Clear picture, good-sized LCD display, good zoom quality
Weaknesses: Eyepiece is too small, night-vision is choppy, can't use special effects without LCD display open
Summary: After scouring the web, I came to a decision between the Sony HC42 and the Optura. My final decision came after comparing the models at a local retailer. This camera is great for shooting friends and family as well as documentary style films. It is very easy to use and fits great in my hand. The video resolution is striking, about double that of most cameras in its price range. The optical zoom is of great quality, though the digital zoom is only so-so (don't rely on the image stabilizer here). I even got a really great deal on this camera, and after rebates, it will have cost me over $200 less than the HC42. I would definitely recommend this camera to everyone I know.
Reviewed by: jensen18 from GA on Jan 4, 2005
Experience: 16 Days
Strengths: Good low light performance, LCD, Video to SD card, Wonderful picture, true 16x9, Manual Controls
Weaknesses: Expensive, small standard wide angle, non-standard lense size
Summary: I looked for a while trying to decide on which camcorder to get. I narrowed the choices down to the Panasonic GS120 and the Canon Optura 30. The three CCDs were a plus on the Pany but I wanted true 16x9 for use on the wide screen set. After playing with both at the local electronics store the Optura was the clear winner. The LCD was far more crisp and did not suffer from the GS120's solorization issue. The menu was very clear, easy to understand, and well layed out. The jog dial for the Optura was another bonus. Although a bit tough to get used to at first it is far easier than having to use a series of buttons (up down left right and ok) on the side of the unit like other models. I like the fact that I can record small clips to the SD card so I don't always have to pull from the tape for a quick clip to e-mail. I have yet to pull video to the PC and rip to DVD yet but the display from the video out is very impressive. The Optura also came with a entry level version of Pinnacle Studio (which may not contain all the features I may some day use) so I don't have to go buy aditional software for Video editing and I have read several good reviews of Pinnacle (Far better than the standard manufacturer included bundle).
The main issue I have run into thus far is that the closest wide angle zoom never seems to capture everything I want in the frame. The plus is that Cannon has a wide angle lens add on for these types of shots. This is my first camcorder so this is probably not an issue with the Optura but camcorders in general.
I would definately recommend this camcorder based on my experience thus far.
Reviewed by: grab2000 on Jun 28, 2004
Experience: 30 Days
Strengths: Picture quality, easy operation, still picture capabilities, remote control, software for computer link.
Weaknesses: Some limitations on using special features in specific modes.
Summary: This is my first mini-dv camcorder. I expected some complexity, but was pleasantly surprised by how well the manual is written, and how the unit does so much, but is so intuitive to use.
Movie and still picture quality is better than I expected. Setting all controls to automatic seems to work well in almost all conditions. However, when I elected to override and use manual focus and exposure settings, this was very easy to do, and again intuitive.
On a quick summer vacation I didicated some time to learning every single feature and special effect of the camcorder. At times it is hard to remember some of the limitations on using these effects, as far as what mode you are in, and what output you are using when playing back into a VCR or computer video edit software. I probably don't really need all these special effects anyway.
I've already had more fun with the video and still shots I made than I expected I would! I'm very pleased with the camcorder.
The Optura 30 comes with Windows and Mac software to use on a computer. I used the Windows version, and was pleasantly surprised with how simple the software is, and how automated and easy the download function is. Just connect the camera, choose "download new images" on the camcorder menu that pops up, and there everything is, neatly filed in folders on the computer hard drive, and displayed in a handy window on the computer screen. Organizing and emailing from there is a breeze.
This is not my father's camcorder! I'm very happy with the whole package and more than pleasantly surprised.
Reviewed by: lcftir from NY on Feb 15, 2005
Experience: 32 Days
Strengths: very easy to use, high still picture quality at low light, viedo to SD card (512 MB for ~30 minutes), good software for viedo editing
Weaknesses: can not get higher viedo quality with SD card (320x240)
Summary: It is my first camcorder, and I found that it was so easy to record a viedo with optura 30 with the well-written manual. You can hear some noices while recording with tape at quiet circumstances, but with 1GB SD card, you can record for 1 h without noise, and easy to copy viedo data to your computer. I am happy to recommend this camcorder to my friends!
Reviewed by: captsmrtas from OK on Jan 9, 2005
Experience: 21 Days
Strengths: color representation and video (when there is enough light), feels great in my hand, all of the buttons are easy to find when you need them, manual focus, decent stills, top loading, real 16:9 mode
Weaknesses: Low light is worse than I imagined, Don't ever use the low light modes they are horrible (unless your using a tripod to look at something that is not moving; it will be fuzzy), image stabilizer
Summary: I want to make it clear that the only reason I would not recommend this camera is because of it's low light performance. Other people have complained about this too but I had my sights set on the other features and ignored what they said. I would not say that shooting indoors is terrible, but unless you have a lot of light the footage will be slightly grainy and very dark (compared to what the eye sees). Now that thats out of the way, I bought this camera over a sony hc40 because I would be able to shoot in 16:9 (since future TVs will be in that format), manual focus, better color reproduction, and top loading tape. Despite the real 16:9 I think I made the wrong decision. I have shot 3 full tapes w/ this camera in various situations. So I have a pretty good idea how it performs.
Reviewed by: shtdh on Feb 12, 2005
Experience: 10 Days
Strengths: Performance is very good in this price range,2M still image and 1.22M moving image. Support true 16:9 mode and can well display on widescreen TV. Easy to use and more portable.
Weaknesses: battery's life is not so long.
Summary: Canon¡¯s new Optura 30 Megapixel camcorder unites the world of video and photography like never before. Featuring DV Photo Plus, Canon¡¯s one-of-a-kind system for achieving premium image quality, and fueled by a 2.2 Megapixel CCD image sensor, captures video and photos with stunning clarity. An RGB Primary Color Filter adds dynamic realism, making colors come alive. Experience the ultimate in picture quality, while still enjoying unbeatable style and performance. Imagine a camcorder, digital camera, and webcam seamlessly combined, and fitting in the palm of your hand. Compromise is a thing of the past; the new Optura delivers the best of both worlds, giving you the freedom to capture exceptional quality video and breathtaking photos.
Reviewed by: doverrholt from OH on Jan 14, 2005
Experience: 11 Days
Strengths: very easy to use and compact. amazing quality for its size.
Summary: for a beginner or advanced user this optura30 fits the bill. you can take quick family movies or longer, coreographed movies. the simplicity with which it integrates with my GoVideo DVD burner is amazing. I am sure glad I chose the optura30
Reviewed by: iuz4ksk from CA on Mar 8, 2005
Experience: 2 Days
Strengths: Compact adn easy of use
Weaknesses: Too small for adult hands
Summary: I was so surprise to see the small size of the mini DV. First of all, I was very much satisfied with the compact and beautiful design. And, I felt that the size is a little bit smaller for adult hand size. Anyway, this is very good product.
Reviewed by: kmswindler from VA on Apr 30, 2005
Experience: 1 Week
Strengths: Compact, good color capture in various light situations
Summary: I purchased this camera after being very pleased with the quality of a friend's Canon Elura 50. A Canon representative at the 2005 MacWorld conference recommended the Optura 30 over this year's Optura models since they were being stripped of features such as the Hot Shoe to reduce the sticker price. I find the Hot Shoe very helpful for powering the optional VL-3 light. I have small hands and I found this model gives me good access to the common features such as the zoom.
Reviewed by: SgtWyatt from NY on Mar 4, 2005
Experience: 10 Days
Strengths: Feature-packed, built-in flash, image quality, optical zoom
Weaknesses: None noted
Summary: After my Sharp V7UL camera stopped functioning on me I took a trip to Best Buy and began browsing the camcorder section. I came across the Canon Optura 30 and liked what I saw (though I did not like Best Buy's price, some $699). I headed on over to PriceGrabber where I found the camera for significantly less (along with some very positive reviews). I decided to take a chance.
The Canon Optura 30 is an awesome camera and the Canon optics are well worth the cost. The camera is packed with more features than you'll ever use, but it's nice to know they're there. Low light performance is acceptable despite what some of the reviews have said. Let's face it, are we really going to be filming in a darkroom anyway? For most anything you'll come across this camera will handle it well.
The 12x optical zoom is a nice edge over many of the 10x cameras out there. I don't bother with digital zoom, though it's comparable to anything else out there since digital zoom is digital zoom.
I liked that this camera utilizes SD cards for its still images so that I could use the same one I had for my Sharp. Still images are very good at 2MP, better than many digital video cameras in this price range.
The camera is lightweight and compact. With the $100 rebate I couldn't beat it, though even without the $100 rebate I'd still recommend this camera.