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on 8 September 2014
Like a lot of you, i was weighing up the pros and cons of which camcorder to buy from Panasonic's 2014 series. The Panasonic Panasonic HC-V750 is cheaper and has pretty much the same specs as the more expensive Panasonic HC-W850, so it it worth paying more for the same quality image? Yes, in my opinion. There are some key features that make the W850 worth every single penny that it's worth.

Night Vision
Wanting to go ghost hunting? Perhaps you just like the idea of being able to make use of the invisible light that most camcorders are unable to see. With the W850 you can, and i must say it works very well! In pitch blackness as the W850 is able to see things very clearly.

Twin Camera
Another feature the W850 has that the v750 doesn't is the option to use a second camera on the camcorder itself. The second camera can be moved left to right and is able to record things you'd normally miss such as the reaction on kids faces while at a circus, or cars speeding down the track. The main camcorder would point at the cars, and once the cars have left the main lens vision, the second camera can pick them up speeding by. One issue with this feature is that it records as a PIP (picture in picture) and is unable to record to its own file. What this means is that the second camera is permanently recording within the original recording. You can't watch the particular recording without the second camera in the corner (if you were using it. It's easy to turn second camera off and then obviously there is no PIP). The second camera is also lower quality than the main camera with different white balances and contrasts. It is not ideal for certain indoor lights.

These are the 2 main features that the W850 has over the V750. The following features can be found on both (though i am testing them on the W850 obviously).

Picture Quality
The picture quality is amazing. The quality to detail is superb and you really cannot do better for the money. I was debating if a new iphone would be simpler to use as a video camera due to its portability. However, after purchasing this camcorder i can tell that the iphones don't even come close. The zoom also works well and doesn't degrade in quality when using optical zoom. The intelligent zoom also works very very well. As for low light conditions, you'd be hard pressed to find a camcorder anywhere near this price range that performs this well under bad lighting conditions. You can record in both AVCHD and MP4 at 1080p. The fact it can record at 50M is impressive.

Sound Quality
Provides 5.1 audio and 2 ch audio with very effective wind cancellation. It has a standard input for microphone and also headphone.

Stabilisation
Excellent! I must admit i have never seen motion stabilisation as good as what the W850 provides. You are easily able to cancel out shaking and produces an image that is level and not jumpy (also vital for zooming). You can even slowly tilt the camera and it'll stay level to a degree. It's the best i've seen on any camcorder so i'm very pleased with it. Cheaper Camcorders have so much camera shaking when you film that it's hard to produce a video that won't cause massive headaches to those that watch it.

Build Quality
Feels like plastics to me. Not the best feel to the camcorder at all. I had an old 3 CCD panasonic camcorder that recorded to Mini DV tapes and the build quality is amazing. With my old Panasonic camcorder i'm sure i could drop it and it'll survive. The W850 on the other hand feels much more delicate and not something you want to be to rough with. This isn't the smallest camcorder in the world by a long shot but it's a very comfortable camera to hold. Although it may be slightly bigger, it still provides a fair amount of portability.

Slow Motion
Works much better than i had expected! The recording isn't quite the same quality as normal recordings in my opinion but it's still brilliant. Slow motion can work by using a button that allows you to do slow motion 3 times within a video, or you can set the camcorder to record in slow motion continuously with no real limitation other than the amount of space you have left on the SD card (SD card does not come with camcorder). Slow motion videos have no sound at all, which is a shame.

Time Lapse
Works exactly as expected. 1 second, 10 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 minute and 2 minutes is the options you're given. This camcorder is brilliant for time lapsing.

Battery
In my opinion the battery supplied is way to small. It keeps a charge for 1 and a half hours apparently, but in actual practice it seems much less. You'd need to purchase another battery but the prices are astronomical with no current options of buying replacements cheaper elsewhere. Panasonic is being greedy with the battery costs and have cornered the market in the sense that you can't find anything else cheaper elsewhere. I would recommend getting a battery that charges USB devices (i own the Anker Astro 5600mAh battery that i purchased from amazon). The camcorder charges through USB, meaning a portable battery device like the one i said can charge while you're on the go. It works out much cheaper until the prices for Panasonic batteries become cheaper (hopefully one day!!).

Touchscreen
The screen isn't fantastic in my opinion. It's perfect for filming and framing, but as a touchscreen it feels very unresponsive. It maybe just me but it's worth keeping in mind that you could end up having to push options on the screen more than once for it to work.

WIFI baby monitor and external screen controls
This works okay. Not perfectly and i noticed a fair bit of lag. When it comes to camcorders we're not quite there yet at having perfect WIFI features. While these features do what they technically say they can do, the execution is normally not solid These are nice features to have, but i don't recommend buying just for these features. I am of course only going by my own experiences with these features.

Conclusion
This is, in my opinion, the best camcorder of 2014. You cannot go wrong by buying it and all the key features such as picture quality, sound quality and whatnot are perfectly executed. Panasonic is really leading the way with camcorders and you can tell they've worked hard at creating a powerful yet fun camcorder. It's a shame about battery prices but as i said, there are ways around it. If the Night Vision and second camera option isn't important to you, save some money and buy the v750. Otherwise, the W850 is your perfect buy. Would i buy this camcorder knowing what i know now? Yes.

Things to note:
It comes with HDMI cable
It does not come with any storage (must buy a suitable SDXC card)
Comes with attachable shoe adapter if required
Comes with battery and charger (usb wire and plug for wall).
Battery must be charged within camera
Camcorder takes filters that are 49mm
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on 11 July 2014
Nice camera over all.

The video quality is very good although the saturation is a bit low and makes videos look a bit drab so needs boosting in post.

The MP4 recording makes editing very easy. No need to create proxy files. It runs smoothly backwards as well as forwards. It does take up a lot more space so put a 128gb card in.

Second camera is a joke. Only a narcissist would use it. The white balance is completely different to the main camera and it is so obvious. I bought this over the 750 because it has Infra-Red night vision, so I am not disappointed in the second camera as I never intended to use that.

The zoom is fantastic up to 50x. Also on wide angle you are able to get so close to objects they are almost touching your lens while keeping in focus, so it's great for macro use.

The stabiliser at full zoom does a fantastic job. I always prefer to use a tripod, but the stabiliser makes hand held recording look very steady.

One downside is the display is difficult to see in bright daylight. When trying to video aircraft coming in to land it is hard to actually locate them because you can't see them until they are close.
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VINE VOICEon 9 November 2014
It felt a little odd renewing my camcorder this year. The exceptional video capability of current DSLR and mirrorless gear is reason enough for the enthusiast shooter to consider only one camera to cover just about any situation. Panasonic's GH4 is a prime example and I'm sure you haven't had to look too far for yet an(other) expert opinion on why the camcorder is dead.

Well it ain't dead yet, nor will it be for a while. I'm glad I bought the HC-W850 and here's why ...

First of all price. For the money it costs, the fire-power on-board the HC-W850 is exceptional. Superb progressive image quality, high bit-rates and excellent audio. I'm coming from a Canon HF-M52 (HD CMOS Pro) and I am more impressed with the Panasonic. Maybe that's a little unfair of course as my Canon is a couple of years old, but its been interesting to see how much better the Panasonic is in this regard. Focus is snappier and the amount of sharp detail held in panning is very noticeable. On-board audio is pretty similar to my Canon, but notably the Panasonic can drive an unpowered mic from its 3.5 jack, which opens up a whole range of cost effective options.

After price, its features. There are quite a few useful nuggets in here which bring an added dimension to shooting; slo-mo at full HD, miniature effect and time lapse to name a few. I haven't found a reason for infra-red yet, but its there. Image stabilisation features (mechanical and digital) work very, very well. So well, its difficult to tell footage apart from a dolly mount if you are careful enough. As a mostly run gun shooter I found this very impressive.

The 2nd on-board camera is interesting. I haven't found a dedicated use for it yet, but when I do I'm sure it will will be infinitely better than Panasonic's promotional video for it ;-)

Ergonomically the camera is well considered. It certainly not a small camcorder, but its not huge (ala X920 standard) either. The build is plastic but there are no creaks, it feels light and solid. One tiny annoyance is the flap over the headphone jack gets snagged by the hand-strap. I note noone else has mentioned this though, so it could just be me!

At the moment I carry the Panasonic HC-W850 alongside my Sony RX100M2. Both are truly fantastic cameras and fit in my small Domke-FX5B (day trip) bag with ease. They compliment each other perfectly. Yes I could indeed have bought a video capable DSLR for that money ... but I'm glad I didn't. The quality from both these cameras is staggering for what they are - and I chose them for maximum quality / minimum bulk. The perfect hybrid camera will no doubt eventually appear for me as the market butt kick by Apple/Samsung continues (long may it). Maybe a Sony RX10 Mark 2 will do it, maybe ordinary people won't have to sell a kidney for the Panasonic GH4. Who knows ...

But right now I'm having fun with this Panasonic and have encountered enough situations already where I've been very glad its in my bag. This year I've opted to spend my imaging budget on this and Final Cut (with pro training). Panasonic / Amazon discount(s) and an Extended 2 Year Warranty accepted ... this little guy will be with me for a wee while yet. And I'm kinda happy with that.
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on 28 October 2014
Very good camera. I am no filming expert but I know quality when I see it and this camera gives you crystal clear pictures. I use it for filming indoors and it is good in low, flashing light environments. For me the second camera is a bit of a gimic and I don't think I will use it, however the other functions far outweigh this. The battery which is supplied is good for about 1.5hrs of recording, £90 for a replacement is a bit steep. I bought a 64gig SD card and found that 1.5hrs of recording at high quality (1080P, MP4) used approx 17gig of space. Ultra HD mode for editing will use considerably more space on the card. Sound quality is good in very noisy environments, only a very slight distortion when fliming a very loud rock band. I use the camera to film bands and it has a good zoom, however you have to be careful with the zoom controls, a little movement can go a long way. The stabilisation function is first class, even in low light. As an extra wow factor, the zero light funtion is spooky to say the least. If you want to be a ghost hunter this is the function to use. I tried the camera in pitch black darkness and it could see everything clearly, it uses a small infrared light on the front of the camera. Couple of negative points, it you are fliming in a quiet enviroment you can hear the auto focus buzzing a little, also when you zoom in and out the camera can creak a little. The sensitivity of the touch screen is average and you have to somethings press the screen a couple of times to get a response, also if you have big fingers this might be made harder. Overall the camera is well laid out and easy to operate, it is good high quality camera for the price. The positives far outweigh the negitives. Glad I bought it.
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VINE VOICEon 14 August 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
We have really enjoyed using this camcorder, especially the double camera function - we went to a safari park and we could film the animals with the front lens and the kids with the second lens. This was really fun as we could film their immediate reactions. The only problem was that the second lens can only swivel side to side, so it was impossible to film the kids looking at a giraffe because the lens could not go up and down and we ended up filming something above their heads instead.

A lot of thought has gone into the design of this camcorder. - everything is well-made. I love the fact that the various sockets have sliding covers which slide into place, rather than those annoying rubbery covers that pull off and hang on a string. The camcorder is also much lighter than my digital tape one from years ago, so it's easy to slip inside your bag and won't weigh you down on a trip out. However, you will need to provide a suitable case for the camcorder as it doesn't come with one; I ended up using one that came with my old digital tape camcorder, which was a similar size.

The photos and videos taken with the Panasonic are of excellent quality, as you would expect from a HD camcorder. They look great on a TV (the camcorder comes with a HDMI cable to plug into the TV), but no so good on my two laptops as the screens are not great (probably would not happen if you have an Apple monitor!). On iPhones and iPads the images are really clear and sharp again, so it depends on what you are using to view them.

The camcorder has in-built wifi, which means you can control it using a phone or tablet if it's connected to wifi (i.e. not out and about). The camcorder can therefore be used as a baby monitor (place it in the baby's room and use the phone/tablet to look at what it's seeing) and as a home monitor (check on the house when you're not in - although I haven't tried this, I only operated it whilst my phone was on the same wifi, so I can't vouch for it working whist I'm out and the camcorder is switched on at home). The wifi means that photos can be posted to Facebook from the camcorder, but this can't be done with videos. The videos are in m2ts format, which is probably proprietary to Panasonic, and look great using the included HD Writer software. If you open the videos using other software then the videos become all blocky and choppy.

Some other small problems I found was that the photo button is located on the side of the camcorder for your first finger. This means that you need a really steady hand as it results in photo shake. Also, the on-screen menu is not very user-friendly, I could not figure out how to use the internal memory instead of the SD card when I ran out of space, even when following the operating manual to the letter. In fact, I still can't use the internal memory, I still have no idea how to do it - so I have ordered a new bigger capacity SD card from Amazon to put in the camcorder.
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on 14 August 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
First off, the most important thing: the picture's very good, definitely no disappointment there for a camcorder in this price range. The slow motion is also fantastic and I'm not trying to think (read: make up!) reasons to use it as much as possible. Infa-red night mode also works well and isn't something you get on all camcorders so could be a selling point. Then there's the zoom; even though I'm not one for using zoom too much, the sheer magnitude (pun intended!) of it at 50x is certainly impressive.

I wasn't really expecting to use the second camera, but have recorded a couple of concerts and had the idea that I could record the crowd as well and intercut a few of those shots into the footage, so hopefully that'll work out pretty well. The sound isn't anything to shout about, but then it never really is on a camcorder and if you want to record seriously you'll no doubt be using a separate mic anyway. The controls via the touchscreen/dial are easy enough to use so no problem there.

A viewfinder would've been nice, but it's not uncommon on camcorders not to have one these days. I haven't used the software that was bundled with it so can't comment on that, I'm sure it suffices if you don't already have editing/burning software. Overall, this is a great camcorder, can't really fault it for the price.
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on 14 November 2014
An amazing piece of equipment!

Buy a 950NM Filter for this camera , which will give you x ray vision! hunt UFO's in the daytime! (You will need the 49mm screw on filter by Delamax (950 Infrared Filter 49 mm IR 950) you can buy this on Amazon.

This camera has Infrared night vision. Great for Ghost Hunting!

It truly is Full HD and is one of the best Camcorders on the market in this price range.
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on 13 February 2015
I have been using the sister camera to this for a while now. The v750 , which is essentially the same without the gimmicky (imho) twin camera. I have to say I have been bowled over by its quality, especially its sound recordeing ability. For comparison I have made lots of videos (search alex sally ) and have been using a dslr for the last couple of years. This camcorder finally means I won't be using the dslr for video anymore as it equals or betters it in every respect.

I have had to completely upgrade my opinion of this little camcorder. If you can look past the lack of electronic viewfinder, which you can because the lcd is nice and bright, then there isn't much to say about this camcordrer that isn't positive. I have been using this camcorder now for a month non-stop, after two years of using a dslr for wildlife filming. This camcorder is so much better than the dslr! The focus is fast and the quality bit rate is the same as the dslr. Scenery is rendered superbly and the quality of the image is excellent. If you bare a few things in and you will get brilliant results. Usefully I have just posted a video of the native footage but I can't post a link here, so you will have to search alex sally hc-v750 on the tube and you'll see what I've filmed. The most amazing aspect for me is something that hasn't been mentioned in other reviews. THe mic records better than my rode. Look at the video mentioned above and remember all the sound was recorded in the field. It has staggered me how it does it. It really does zoom the mic to be shotgun like to match the optical zoom. Again just search alex sally v750 and you can hear for yourself.
You might want to check this out, if you are new to camcorder filming.
Make better videos with your dslr or camera: Filming with Canon and Nikon dslr, compact cameras and camcorderVelbon DF-61 Heavy Duty Aluminium Photo/Video Tripod

please click helpful below if this is helpful.
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on 29 November 2014
Excellent camera great size and weight beats the jvc everio i had prior to this video camera.
Colours are vibrant picture is sharp just need to fine tune my recording skills.
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on 8 July 2014
Ignore the idiotic reviews of those who carelessly shell out over £600 before even checking what it does! This is a superb piece of equipment and well worth the price and five stars! The second camera is a bit superfluous to me but I can see how it could be handy for reaction shots for those with children at parties, etc. The picture quality is superb, even in low light, and I don't really miss having a separate viewfinder. It's a simple matter to rig up a quick card shield for sunny weather. The full HD slow motion is unbelievably cool and I know I will have fun seeing what I can achieve with it, especially once you find out that you can have it on permanently rather than in short bursts when you press a screen icon!

There are neatly concealed inputs for headphones and mic and the touch screen is clear and easy to use with good touch sensitivity and an easily navigable menu. The HD Writer software given along with the camera also is easy to use and glitch-free. You can be loading videos on to your computer within minutes of putting a charged battery into the camera.

However, before you buy, do have a look at the specifications on the site here and see if it is what you want. There are other cheaper cameras, but they don't have the range of features seen here, such as full manual controls (there is no manual focus ring but this is done through a small multi purpose dial at the front) Infra red night mode and slow motion, and if you want these then I can think of no better camcorder to choose.
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