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on 24 June 2010
I did a lot of research before buying this camcorder, and I'm pleased with the result.

For me, it has the important features: AVCHD HD video, wide-angle lens, huge 25x optical zoom and advanced Power Optical Imaging Stabilisation.

I am really impressed with how well it copes in low level light (something my old camcorder didn't) and how well the image stabilisation works - even at 60x zoom the result is acceptable. The picture quality is very good, with smooth playback of action shots.

Having had a mini DV tape-based camcorder previously, the convenience of SD cards is great.

It is also very small and light, with a good range of available manual settings, not usually found at this price point.

It doesn't have a viewfinder and no progressive recording, just interlaced, and I didn't find the stills very impressive. It certainly won't replace my Ricoh Caplio R7 compact camera.

The wind noise canceller is also not particularly effective.

In conclusion, if you want a point-and-shoot camcorder that's very portable, shoots high quality HD video and has a very impressive combination of wide-angle lens, big zoom and effective image stabilisation, this is the camcorder to get.
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on 2 July 2010
I bought this after much deliberation as to which HD camera to get - I was mostly waiting for an HD camera with a decent zoom - this one has a 25x optical zoom, which is fantastic, but also has a 35x iZoom, which enhances the zoom but retains the HD quality of the picture captured. Having used the camera a few times, the iZoom appears to make almost no difference in the quality of the footage captured - which is a great feature! There is a very decent image stabilizer so that zooming in close to objects doesnt result in shaky video.

There are a few very nice additions, face recognition that will take pictures of any recognised faces (you input these manually first) if they smile while being filmed, so you can get those great moments captured and looking natural - which also brings me to the other great feature - you can take 5 mega pixel stills while filming, they look great and the video remains unaffected; it's probably my favourite feature on this camera as the stills taken are excellent.

The battery life is decent enough, about 1 hour and then some for actual filming, so this could have been better, but the quality of the video is fantastic.

I think it is also important to mention that the camera only films in 1080i format with 4 different bitrates, 5mbps upto about 20 mbps (I think); therefore a progressive scan video is not captured, however, as 1080i is the standard format for HD channels like BBC HD and ITV (or STV) HD it is definately comparable to any HD I've seen so far. The colours captured are vibrant and realistic, and I know that I can be sure that whatever is shown on the LCD screen when filming is what the video will look like on the TV once transferred.

I love this camera, and couldn't be happier with my purchase - it is more expensive than some others, but for what you get the cheapest out there!

In conclusion:

If you want an HD camera with a great zoom, excellent colour capture, lots of extra features and will fit in your pocket (the camera is very small) then you can't get better than this one. I highly recommend it to any home video enthusiasts.
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on 1 September 2010
Anyone thinking about buying a new camcorder should seriously consider this model. For the price and features it won't be beaten. I'd spent several days reading all the reviews about different camcorders on here and couldn't really make my mind up between this one and a couple of others (sony and samsung models I think). There were more positive reviews for this model so I decided to take the risk and I'm really glad I chose this one!

Others have commented on the features of this great little camcorder so I thought I'd add mine too! This camcorder is just the business! A great price from Amazon drew me to it in the first place then I read the reviews and decided to buy it. I bought a 16gb memory card to use with it.

We've just returned from a few days holiday to Weymouth where we used the camcorder every day. The 16gb card took us 5 days to fill up which was ok as that's how long we stayed for! Zoom is amazing, from Weymouth Beach I was able to zoom right across Weymouth Bay and could see Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove, some 8 miles away as the crow flies! Night vision also excellent, we used the camcorder to film the fireworks on our last evening and the pic quality was really good. Battery life was better than my old Sony camcorder, we plugged it in and charged it every night so it was fully charged for each day's filming.

Another point which I don't think anyone has commented on is the sturdiness of the camcorder. I accidentally dropped it on the pavement when it slipped out of my pocket. I feared the worst but having checked it over there was nothing wrong with it and no visible damage at all.

The software which comes with the camcorder to upload your movies to your pc is not very good and I think I'll have to spend some more money finding a decent software to do this job better. I'm also yet to figure out how I can connect the camcorder to my Sony HD TV to watch/record straight to DVD (via a panasonic DVD recorder).

We didn't use the camera feature. I'm the type of person who prefers using a normal camera for taking pics and a camcorder for filming! We have a decent 10mp fujifilm finepix camera for the pics!

So, if you're still thinking over which camcorder to buy then you really should think about this camcorder. For the price it's packed with great features that you won't find in other camcorders in this price range. I'm delighted I chose this camcorder now!

3 Sept update: I subsequently invested in a panasonic burner to burn my footage to DVD without messing with my PC. It burned nearly 3 hours of holiday footage in just under 4 hours which I thought was really good considering I'd spent most of the previoys day trying to burn to DVD via my PC without any joy! Anyone considering buying this camcorder might also want to think about buying the panasonic DVD burner. I know it's a big outlay but it will save you so much time when you come to transfer your footage to DVD.
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on 24 April 2010
I purchased this cam to get some footage of my new born, I ordered it at 13:30 paid 1st class delivery and by 11 am the next day it had arrived ahead of estimations.

The 1st thing that surprised me was the size of the cam, it tiny and fits nicely within the palm of your hand. It weighs very little and is constructed well.

Video quality is excellent and it functions very well even in low light conditions. The audio play back is great and the cam is quick and easy to use....

Zoom runs silent and picture is crisp

Battery seems to last well also

Although I am a keen photographer, this was my 1st video cam since back in the days of tape! I really cant fault it.

Excellent cam and i would recommend to anyone after a great all round mid range vid cam.
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on 27 September 2010
I bought the Panasonic SD60 camcorder after looking at all of the available reviews online, which rated it as the best in it's price class and I have not been disappointed. The video quality in full HD is fantastic and far better than with my old mini DV camcorder. Just the fact that you do not have to wind the tape back and forth makes this camcorder so much easier to use.

However the Panasonic software that comes bundled with it only offers very basic editing capabilities, which I found was not up to scratch when trying to "stitch" together all of the scenes that I had taken of a wedding recently. What Panasonic do not tell you is that the AVCHD recoding format is highly compressed and designed to be played back from the camcorder on a TV and not on a PC. In addition I found AVCHD quite difficult to edit even on my quite powerful high end dual core Windows PC. I trialed the most well known video editing software (Sony Vegas, Pinnacle Studio HD and Adobe Premiere Elements) and found that they all struggled with the raw footage.

I finally chose Pinnacle Studio 14 HD vidoe editing software as it offers the best conversion options and is relatively easy to use. Whilst it struggled at times to play back the AVCHD files whilst editing them, I finally managed, after many weekends, to put together a decent movie with titles, transitions and background music. The next challenge was to then decide on the best HD format to save the edited movie to so that friends and family could actually play it back.

I first tried saving the 54 minute long movie in MPEG4 format at the highest quality but the file was too big to save to a DVD. In the end I went with DIVX HD as this still provides a very good HD experience but was not too big to be copied to DVD. Be aware however that the conversion process does take a lot of time depending on the processing power of your PC.

If you have a MAC then I am told that the whole process of editing and converting AVCD files is easier although I have not been able to verify this.

Playing back the footage on a Vista PC in Windows media player was also not straightforward as I had to first download and install the required video Codecs, which are available on line. Even with these installed I found that playing back HD footage in the various formats was not a great experience. I have now installed the open source VLC software as my default media player since it plays pretty much everything.

Despite all of these challenges and the relatively steep learning curve involved in editing and playing back the Panasonic video footage on a Windows PC, I do highly recommend this camcorder but you do need to take into account the additional cost and effort required if you want to do more than play back your the raw footage on a TV.

Footnote to the above:
My next purchase will be a media player so that I can play back my edited HD movies on an HD TV. Now I only have to choose one!!

Footnote to the footnote:
I have now purchased a Toshiba upscaling DVD player with USB and the ability to play back DIVX rather than go with a media player.
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on 27 April 2010
The Panasonic SD60 HD camcorder is a triumph of modern design - beautifully functional and, well, beautiful to look at.

We bought this for my wife's birthday and because her brother is getting married next month. She is a keen photographer (see the Canon 450D Digital SLR and reviews, including ours) and wanted, first, full High Definition camcorder but with a good zoom and stills ability - but it must be small and light too! This Panasonic covers all the bases, pretty much.

The unit is amazingly small & light. This was very important but has a knock-on effect on functionality because all the buttons are small. However, after reading (a good portion of) the manual, it quickly becomes intuitive so even my ample digits manage. The view screen is stunning, though direct sunlight washes the image away - but it's still light-years ahead of other screens we've used, giving bright, clear and crisp images.

The video images are superb too, even managing in poor light to deliver watchable footage - but at this price, I was expecting that! The sound is much better than I'd thought it would be, it's even stereo. The only limiting thing we've found so far is the constant `panning too fast' we keep getting told off for, but that's easily compensated for (as long as you remember!).

The things I don't like are:

The recorded video format is specifically Panasonic which means you need to install the supplied software onto you PC to download footage. Very annoying, but the software works very well and it's easy to use. It takes a long time to copy over videos - perhaps half as long as the original video so a half-hour clip will take 15 minutes or more to copy. (We take the SD card out and copy direct to the laptop.)

The battery will last about 1¼ hours, and takes just over two hours to charge. With a 16GB SD card, this will need re-changing at least once if you want to fill the card which means buying another battery & (presumably) a charger too. We got the Panasonic Accessory Kit for the outrageous price of eighty quid, making this - with the SD card - a half-grand purchase.

Also, as a keen photographer, my wife really misses not having a view finder, not least because the screen is limited in bright sunshine. The stills are okay, but not outstanding.

Still, it gets five stars because it's so good at what it does. The 25X zoom is surprisingly effective - better than I'd thought - but still lagging behind standard definition camcorders. It remains an amazing technical achievement for Panasonic who seem to be stealing a march on the tech in our house. Maybe half a star can be deducted for the high price - especially for the essential accessories - but it's still superb.

EDIT (3.5.10):

Having looked into the infuriating editing problem, it seems to be a Microsoft problem(among many others):

`... We are currently looking into the issue you raised. We will be making additional post to this thread as soon as we have more information' (from the MS Answers site 11.12.09, thread: 6f1340e0-3fa2-4299-a268-f97eb1b68d30 - no answer at time of writing).

The only advice so far is to update all (Panasonic & Windows - particularly Movie Maker) drivers, etc., but the upshot is that Microsoft applications and many other video players and editing programs do NOT recognise or support AVCHD: MTS/M2TS files even though most new cameras record in that format. Unless we spend even more money on new software (!) it means we can't edit the footage shot with these Panasonic camcorders. Fantastic.

Also, in correcting myself, the file format (M2TS) seems to be an AVCHD standard, not a specific Panasonic one. My mistake!
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on 1 June 2010
This camera is very good. The picture is awesome when played back on a full HD TV. The sound is good but does suffer if its windy. It has too many features to mention but I like working in manual mode & you can have total control over everything if you wish. Its very small, smaller than I thought it would be but then it fits easily into your pocket so thats a bonus. Only gripes (if thats what you call them), the touch LCD screen gets mucky quickly so I now use the supplied stylus and the memory card Amazon recomend at the time of purchase is (according to Panasonic) not fast enough, needs a type 4 and not a type 2. I am using the type 2 at the moment and it works perfectly in full HD but any more SD cards I buy will be type 4 as a minimum just to be on the safe side. All in all a very nice camera and you will not be disappointed with the results. The supplied software is not bad either but not as good as a commercial product (say Vegas) but if you only want to burn to blu ray or DVD ram without too much editing then is OK. Another bonus is you can convert to mpeg using the camera as a hardware boost which will save you loads of time if you wanted to make a standard DVD. Clever.
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on 26 June 2010
Have used this camcorder for about 5 months now, really impressed. Small, amazing hd performance indoors and out, battery life unbelievable for the size of battery. I liked the idea of no hard disk - very little left to "break".
2 8GB SDHC cards have lasted for hours.
Supplied software very easy to use, although huge update download took hours on my useless broadband service.
No problems downloading, viewing or minor editing of videos onto my "average" PC (2.6MHz 4G RAM).
Videos on 37" HDTV look broadcast quality to me.
Zoom lens is unbelievably good.
Thoroughly recommended.
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on 27 April 2010
Easy to use, small, outstanding picture quality, packed with features that just work fuss free, what more can be said about this? There's a bewildering range of HD camcorders on the market and it's pretty hard to distinguish which is the right one for you. This Panasonic offered as much, if not more, than the popular Sony models, but has the advantage of using SD cards rather than Sony's own stick media - a plus for me as we have other devices which use SD cards. It's also a lot cheaper than the premium Canon models, but certainly holds it's own in the quality stakes. Bang for buck it's a great choice. Super happy purchaser.
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on 10 August 2010
Bought a Panasonic SD60 to take on our 2010 family summer holiday to the Greek islands. Very simple to use, in either full auto or manual mode. Sound quality especially good and the HD picture quality looks superb on our 36" Sony Bravia TV. Image stabilisation works very well, but wind noise suppression is poor - as usual with camcorders. Note that there is no capability to add an external microphone or lamp as no accessory jacks. The auto light balance didn't always give the optimum colour realism with skin tones washing out so sometimes I would select white balance manually, depended a lot on the brightness of the sky. With the right settings the colour quality is very good indeed.
Low light picture quality is good compared with my 5 year old mini DV Canon MVX330i with useful LED light if required, however autofocus can start hunting in low light situations. I took two 16GB class 6 SD cards and each held 2 hours 20 minutes of HD video at one down from the highest quality setting. Battery life was good for about 2 hours intermittent filming.
There is no viewfinder, just the flip-out screen, so if you want to film anything without being noticed it's hard to do as the camera won't operate with the screen closed.
The only thing that I would change at this price is to add remote control functionality. When you watch the images on your HD TV via HDMI lead you have to manually get up and down to press play, fast forward etc. I believe that if you happen to have a Panasonic Viera TV the camera can be operated via the TV's remote control. Note that if you want to charge the battery detached from the camera (for example if you've bought a spare battery and want to charge the other one while the camera's in use) you will have to buy a separate charger - Amazon sell a good value accessory pack for the SD60 with spare battery, charger and carrying case which is cheaper than buying these items individually.
Overall a very good choice as a point and shoot holiday camera offering excellent video and sound quality in a compact, simple to operate package.
4 stars rather than 5 due to lack of remote, battery charger or accessory sockets but still very good indeed.
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