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Customer Review

208 of 214 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb design and function - just about worth the (huge) outlay, 27 April 2010
This review is from: Panasonic SD60 Full HD Camcorder With SD Card Recording, X35 Intelligent Zoom, X25 Optical Zoom, Wide Angle Lens, iA + Face Recognition - Black (Camera)
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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Showing 1-10 of 21 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Apr 2010 19:42:23 BDT
Panasonic used to produce a battery charger where you plugged the battery directly into the charger, thereby allowing you to continue to use the camera whilst a "spare" was being charged. This camera (some Canon's also) don't allow for this which is a pity and a retrograde step. Also a remote control was provided so that when you played-back a video,whilst the camera was connected to the T.V. you were able to control the camera remotely and not have to scrabble on hands and knees to work the camera play-back controls.Ive only had this camera two days so these are first impressions.
Quality of image is superb and I look forward to getting to grips with all the functions. So far so good!!

Posted on 1 Jun 2010 00:31:24 BDT
I recently purchased this camera as well, I was wondering if anyone knows why I cant transfer the recorded videos from the HDSC card into my Mac Pro?
My Mac Pro has a built in card reader and can detect the memory card but does not show the content on the card. Can someone help me? I've tried to format the SDHC card on the camera but still couldn't get the recorded videos from the memory card to my Mac. Please help!

Posted on 13 Jun 2010 19:46:09 BDT
Mr. N. Rudd says:
Use either Sony Vegas or Pinnacle Studio Ultimate to edit AVCHD: MTS/M2TS files

Posted on 17 Jun 2010 18:28:27 BDT
theux says:
Hows the battery ? How long will it last ? 3-4 Hours or more ?

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jun 2010 08:45:38 BDT
Last edited by the author on 27 Jul 2010 18:35:29 BDT
Zara Rose says:
You should be able to import directly into iMovie 9 or FCE if you have it. We use iMovie 6 HD and import via a program called Voltaic (http://www.shedworx.com/voltaichd) and find it great! They also have a good HD video management program called Flamingohd (http://www.shedworx.com/flamingohd)

I import into a iMac directly from the camera, not tried via a card reader so dont know if that makes any difference.

EDIT: I have used a SD card reader into the USB port to import both into FlamingoHD and Voltaic, but FlamingoHD does not recongise it via the inbuilt SD card reader, although I can see it in finder and drag the files across.

Posted on 20 Jun 2010 09:49:54 BDT
Windows 7, plays / edits AVCHD (MTS/MT2S) Video files natively, but you'll need a very powerful PC because although the AVCHD (H264) format is very space efficient it requires a lot of CPU resources to encode/decode in real time.

Posted on 8 Jul 2010 16:07:12 BDT
Ryan says:
Hi, Great review.
I have just purchased this camera today but like your review mentioned I am constantly getting pop up message Panning to fast.
Is there anyway to turn this feature off as even with slightest movement I am still getting this issue and very annoying.

Thanks in advance

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jul 2010 09:56:29 BDT
Hi Ryan - we've not found anyway to disable the 'Panning Too Fast' error. The only thing I've been able to do is to get used to moving like I'm in slow-motion when filming - not exactly rocket science, but at least it stops the error!

Cheers,

Chris

Posted on 1 Aug 2010 16:31:56 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 1 Aug 2010 16:43:56 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Aug 2010 15:48:25 BDT
Square eyes says:
Just realised the same thing with my camcorder, looks like i now need an upgrade to the PC! apparently a new motherboard to accept a bigger dual core or quad core processor, new graphics card and upgraded power source are all needed.
Lesson learnt from all this is do the research first and see if your PC's are capable of editing this new HD format
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