Top positive review
169 people found this helpful
Fantastic HD camcorder in extreme simplicity and portability
on 25 July 2009
First I'd like to say top job as usual Amazon on a great service. Received the camcorder very quick and well packed.
Also, whoever rated this camcorder a 2 because it only took 2MP stills and not 6 like the Sanyo, remember this is a CAMCORDER, NOT a CAMERA. I don't care about the pictures it takes, I have a camera for that, the main thing being a camcorder is the video, which thankfully with all its features to help it is fantastic.
Now onto the important stuff. Well, I have to say, this is a fantastic camcorder. I chose the Panasonic SD10 over its similar sized/purpose camcorders mainly because of the 16x optical zoom which is what I need, and also mostly because unlike similar offerings including the Sony TG3 and Sanyo HD2000, the SD10 has an optical image stabiliser when filming and not a terrible electrical one, which when I saw a video of the HD2000 in action made me glad I didn't choose electrical, as for what I use it for the footage would come out no better than falling down a flight of stairs.
The Panasonic SD10 is so lightweight and easy to carry around. It is so compact that its unbelievable you can easily carry something this small with such technology in it to get great footage. It fits in my hand well when filming and can even fit in my pocket, I say it like that as my pockets aren't that loose! Although I'd advise you it would be better if you had slightly bigger pockets just to cover it better if you plan to put it in a pocket. You can easy fit it in a coat pocket or just a carry pouch or something.
Speaking of easy, the whole design and use is easy. It is very easy to use and the touch screen is easy to navigate after not much use. I barely read any of the instructions and got to grips very quick, mind you I do have a Panasonic DMC-TZ7 too so that helps, but either way, it is easy. It has a HDMI port and USB built in along with a few more common ports, so it is easy there too. Just connect it to a HD TV and watch. There is no spot for an external mic, but to be honest I don't need one, although it is worth noting.
The 16x optical zoom is very handy to have, and thanks to the optical image stabiliser, even when filming at the highest zoom, with a good hand the footage still isn't wobbly enough to the point where it becomes disturbing. Another thing I love about the filming is the 3 second pre-record function, its a fantastic idea, especially since I personaly enjoy filming concerts, it means that if you press the pre-record button on the side and something happens before you press rec, when you have stopped filming it adds the extra 3 seconds it memorized from the start using its buffer memory, so you get the clip! Great.
The video quality is also fantastic, the camcorder shoots in full 1080i HD in a number of different modes for if you don't mind using a lot of memory for the best quality, or still having good quality but taking up less memory. I use the best quality mode though, combined with a 16GB Class 6 SDHC card it works for me. Now along with the quality looking great, the sound really surprised me, it is fantastic from its Dolby Stereo speaker positioned on the top. It proved this to me from the Status Quo concert I filmed a fair few songs with it, the sound was great in my view, and if any piece of recording equipment has great sound then it gets my approval. The intelligent auto (iA) function also works very well too with good focus, along with the touch screen face detection which is hugely helpful, captures people much better. However if you don't want automatic there is a manual button/option on the side.
There are a few little issues, but in my view nothing serious, but worth a mention. Like with many a camera and camcorder, in low light there is some noticable graining, and even though it has a light for when it gets darker, don't think that will kiss it all better, as it is not the best in lower light. However even though the Status Quo videos I filmed were when it got dark at the outdoor venue, since the stage where I was focusing on was light (obviously), it came out good.
The touch screen at first takes a bit of use to hit each option correctly with your fingers, there were times when I'd touch an option and end up selecting the one next to it.
The microphone being on top is also more prone to wind, so watch out for where you film, although it does at least have a wind cut option to minimise a load of it spoiling things.
The battery also if you plan to film quite a lot does not last massively long, you get just over an hour, for me I plan to buy another battery and then you'll be sorted.
Finally, the AVCHD format at the moment is not hugely recognised, thankfully I don't really edit or want to change format, I just want to watch my stuff mostly and preserve the quality, so no biggie. Even though my computer cannot play the footage I get well at the moment, I can play it on my PS3 on my HD widescreen TV fine which suits me. The HD Writer software while not really much use to me at the moment however is easy to use, you can even easily trim and divide videos from the camcorder and the software.
Overall though, a fantastic camcorder well worth the money, I've got no regrets buying it. If you are after a great quality HD camcorder then this is a great one to get and a worthy consideration at least.