I had no plans of upgrading my camera, but found out about a great deal that a member posted on the hv20 forums. The website samys.com has a refurbished HV30 model for $450. I decided to look on ebay and see what my camera, the previous model, the HV20 would sell for. I was amazed to see that used ones sold roughly between the $450-$550 range. I decided to go ahead and order the HV30 and then promptly put my HV20 up on ebay. Instead of an auction I decided to try a fixed price listing at $500 and had the option for potential buyers to make an offer. Over the last couple of days, I had offers ranging from $200-$400. I counter offered at $450, but no one took it. I then had one of the potentials who lived in Australia offer the $450 if I would ship it out today, so he could have it in time for a shoot he was doing. In the process of working out that deal someone hit the buy it now of $500 and got it at the full price. I’m really happy it worked out this way because with the ebay fees and such I pretty much break even with the new model.
The timing even worked out in that this morning I shipped out my HV20 and then this afternoon the Fedex truck pulled up with my HV30. There aren’t a whole lot of differences between the models. The HV20 came out 2 years ago, last year the HV30, and then this year the HV40. The cameras retail for $1000, but the current model can usually be picked up for around $800 which is what I originally paid for the HV20. The HV30 added a 30p mode, switched to a black body, and I’ve noticed the LCD is now glossy instead of matte. It has the exact same insides and their is actually a project right now to hack the firmware to unlock these features for the older cameras and bring more manual controls. The HV40 is the same, but adds a true 24p mode that editing software recognizes. The older models have a 24p mode, but you have to capture it at 30 frames and then remove the excess frames with additional software. Hopefully the firmware hack will be able to unlock that mode as well on the HV30 and HV20.
I really like these series of cameras and the quality is exceptional. The only thing that would make it better is if I had a Blue Ray burner for burning the footage at full resolution. I’ll post some footage when I get a chance. A friend and I filmed one of Sarah’s friends weddings and we are thinking of trying to get a side business going in this lucrative Utah market. Finally, for anyone interested in the camera here is CNET’s Review