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Canon VIXIA Series AVCHD and HDV Camcorders
For VIXIA / LEGRIA Series (HF G, HF S, HF and HV) consumer camcorders.

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Old July 29th, 2014, 01:18 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Washington DC
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Vixia G20 or G30?

I'll be buying my first camcorder soon and am stuck between the lesser expensive, yet highly capable G20 or the full featured, more up-to-date G30. I'm a new Dad and most of what I'll be shooting is family fun stuff. I'm an avid photographer but completely new to video. I've tried shooting on my 5D and the results are great but the ergonomics are terrible. Plus, I'd like my wife to be able to shoot some video and there's no way she'll be able to on my DSLR. An easier-for-wife-to-use camcorder is needed... yet I still want manual functions and high capability to keep me busy with.

So, given that I'm already accustomed to Full Frame DSLR video quality, I figured I'd go for the best Consumer Camcorder I can get to get me as close to that same level as possible, without going all the way into the Prosumer category. This leads me to the $899 G20 or the $1399 G30.

Any insights appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
Steve Acuna is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 30th, 2014, 01:21 AM   #2
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Location: Brandon, England
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Re: Vixia G20 or G30?

Hi Steve,

I have the Legria HF G30, which shoots 25 or 50fps rather than the Vixia's 30 or 60. I find it a splendid camera. Good, well detailed image quality. If I were to pick 3 things I find particularly useful, they would be
1. The 20X zoom lens, nice and wide for indoors, yet long enough to capture wildlife quite successfully and has a pretty good macro capability.
2. The Dynamic Image Stabilisation, excellent for handheld footage and with care, very good for "flying" shots without a stabiliser rig.
3. The ability to assign buttons to functions I find important to be able to get to quickly.

I have been using an EOS 60D (with Magic Lantern) for video but overall, prefer the quality I get from the HF G30. Plus it's easier to use and transport, which means I haven't used the 60D for video since I got the HF G30.

Dave Baker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 30th, 2014, 08:03 AM   #3
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Washington DC
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Re: Vixia G20 or G30?

Thanks David. Much appreciate the feedback. I do think the upgrades the G30 has over the G20 are good. I'm just struggling with if they're worth the extra $500. I guess if I spread the extra money over the life of the camcorder then its not so bad.

I do think I'll be getting the newer G30 very soon. I'm going to wait a week to see if anyone can convince me otherwise.

Steve Acuna is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 31st, 2014, 10:53 PM   #4
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Re: Vixia G20 or G30?

There was this excellent comparison of the HF-G30 vs HF-G10 which you mind find helpful.

It focused largely on operational-design features. The HF-G20 was a fairly minor upgrade to the HF-G10, adding a newly designed lens hood (with lever operated lens barrier), larger EVF eyecup, and a claimed 20% (further) improvement in low light sensitivity. Otherwise, 'Same cowboy, not so different shirt'.

I recently acquired a S/H HF-G10. Great video quality, but if I'd had the bucks, I would definitely gone for an HF-G30, for all the reasons Dave mentions and for the design improvements that are highlighted in that YouTube review.

Worth mentioning also is that the HF-G30 gives the option to record in MP4 format, and with that 1080/60p recording at a higher bitrate (35Mbps) than is possible in AVCHD mode (max 28Mbps). Dave could elaborate on the ‘ins and outs’ of 60p (or, in his case, 50p) recording and editing better than I, but for me 60p wasn’t a ‘must have’. For most of the home video I shoot, 30p is adequate. That said, the option to record native 30p (29.976p) in Mp4 format has some appeal, especially if you have any intent to upload raw clips to/via the web, or to transfer to an iPAD for instant viewing....which, as a new Dad, you well might. Just came back from visiting family in the UK and there were some groans from the iPOD/iPAD savvy members, when I said they would have to wait until I could edit and convert the videos from the HF-G10 on my home PC. Of course, they are thoroughly impressed with the final results though.

Another consideration is that whilst the in-built microphones (stereo pair) on the HF-G10 (and I'm assuming the HF-G20 and 30) provide quite decent audio, they are, in my experience, very sensitive to ‘wind noise/rumble’ (not the baby kind, that is). There is a ‘wind cut’ feature, that is automatically activated in auto mode, or which can otherwise be switched on or off, and the option to apply a ‘low cut’ filter in the equalizer settings, which can help. But in strong winds/gusts, you might find yourself considering some additional ‘wind noise’ protection. There are these stick-on fur pads (Rycote, Micro-Muff, Windcutter do them) that can be applied over on-board mics. I’m about to try one myself for that very reason. But if you do find yourself considering an external on-camera microphone (with wind-jammer), or any shoe-mounted accessories, having that standard cold shoe plate on the HF-G30, I'd say, is a big, big plus.

On the HF-G10/20, you only have the 'Advanced Mini Hot Shoe’ plate which, aside from being inconveniently located right at the back of the camcorder (right behind the zoom control), requires a third-party adapter to mount accessories with a standard shoe. The only other option (for hand held video) is to use something like a L-bracket (if you can find one wide enough to accommodate the opened LCD screen) or Cam-Caddy to attach the accessory, which, of course, gets rather cumbersome. Keep it as 'lean and mean' as you can, I'd say.

Last edited by Bryan Worsley; August 1st, 2014 at 09:34 AM.
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