It's relatively big, weighing 535g, though it fits into a large, loose jacket pocket. We like the black chassis more than the silver, but the tape housing feels a little flimsier than we remember. When gripped for shooting, the cover moves a little. In all other ways the build quality seems solid, with tethered covers over the Advanced Accessory Shoe, HDMI/FireWire ports and mic/headphone/component-out jacks.
The 69mm (2.7-inch) widescreen LCD is on the small side 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 we wish it had a softer eye cup.
In addition, we 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 with your eye pressed close. The HV30 supplies both a video light and a flash for shooting stills. As always, we really like the built-in electronic lens cover.
Shooting with the HV30 feels easy and natural. Canon places the most frequently used options -- notably exposure compensation and microphone level -- under the control of the set button/joystick. Other shooting options -- program, shutter and aperture-priority, cine and scene modes, white balance, image effects and still-image mode -- get called up via the function button and navigated with the joystick. Since your thumb controls all of the activity, it's pretty straightforward and fluid to use.