Pleasing video quality
A fine follow-up to last year's M3xx series, the Canon Vixia M4xx series should please most home-movie-oriented videographers despite its relatively high price. If you don't need the EVF, the M400 is your best buy, but if you'll be shooting a lot in sunlight, it's worth it to step up to the M41.
Plenty of compelling features
The Canon Legria HF M41 is an excellent camcorder and offers plenty of compelling features such as the cinema filters and the external microphone port. It's comfortable to use and captures great quality HD footage while also allowing for some flexibility and a few creatives touches, making it a good choice for keen amateur filmmakers and those want HD home movies.
Lacks onboard storage - additional memory card purchase required
JVC's Everio GZ-HM30 is an entry-level HD camcorder, and is the most basic of the new Everio lineup. It upscales output to 1920 x 1080p resolution (though it is non-native), and has 40x optical zoom. Standard definition recording is also selectable. This particular model does not have any on-board flash storage, but has a single slot for an SDHC or SDXC card. Its image sensor is 1.5 megapixels and there is a 2.7-inch LCD display on the side of the body.
Decent image quality
JVC is frequently competitive at the budget end of the market, and the GZ-HM30SEK continues the tradition reasonably well. It uses the AVCHD Lite format, with its 720p resolution, to make the most out of a small 1/5.8in CMOS sensor. Image quality is decent, even in low light. There's no built-in memory, but SDXC is supported, and there's a sizeable 40x optical zoom. It's one step up from a pocket Internet model.
Great image and audio quality
The GoPro HD Hero is an absolutely massive step forward from the old model in terms of visual and audio fidelity. There's simply no comparing the footage you'll get from one of these to the footage from the originals and, since the design has stayed more or less the same, those upgrading will still be able to use all their old mounts.
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