Don't look for any great advances here: the Canon Vixia HV30 is a very minor upgrade from the admittedly top-notch HV20. It has a sleeker-looking black body, introduces 30p progressive mode, and supports the high-capacity BP-2L24H lithium-ion battery, but otherwise remains the same as its 2007 predecessor.
Of course, that makes it a well-designed prosumer camcorder with a useful feature set, good overall performance, and excellent video quality. It's relatively big, weighing 1 pound, 5.4 ounces, though it fits into a large, loose jacket pocket. I like the black chassis more than the silver, but the tape housing feels a little flimsier than I remember; when gripped for shooting, the cover moves a bit. In all other ways the build quality seems solid, though, with tethered covers over the Advanced Accessory Shoe, HDMI/FireWire ports, and mic/headphone/component out jacks.
The 2.7-inch wide-screen LCD is kind of small and at 211,000-pixels not very high resolution, but it's sufficient for manually focusing. The eye-level viewfinder is relatively large, but doesn't pull out or up, and I wish it had a softer eye cup. In addition, I just had to laugh at the Catch-22 diopter control. Since it's right on the viewfinder, you have to move your head away to get your finger on the switch, which means you can't set it for your eye pressed close. The HV30 supplies both a video light and a flash for shooting stills. As always, I really like the built-in electronic lens cover.