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on 3 June 2010
To Start with i purchased a Panasonic HDC-SD 60. and to be honest it was quite a decent camcorder. At top quality recording i was generally happy with the picture, although whatever i played it back with ( even hdmi lead onto 46 inch samsung 1080p tv ) there was a slight flicker that drove me mad. It would be visable when panning or moving vertically, or even horizontally where there were any straight lines or mesh fence ( for an example ) in the picture. ( i know most people will hardly notice this, but i am just a critical kinda chap ! )

So it was returned, and i decided to bite the bullet and purchase the Panasonic HDC-SD-700.

With 1080p at 50 fps Recording i was hoping i would be a bit close to camcorder nirvana than with the SD60.
Ive used the camcorder for over a week now, on many different kinds of filming, from full auto to complete Manual controll.
Firstly. i cannot emphasize enough the picture quality at 1080p 50fps. IT IS INCREDIBLE . and trust me i dont use that word lightly. INCREDIBLE. from playing back the footage through the camcorder via Mini hdmi lead ( not supplied ) i was absolutely blown away.
What really supprised me was that i could just take the SD card out, pop it into my PS3 and play back the mts files ( yes even full 1080p 50fps ) with virtually identical playback to using the camcorder. ( if im critical theres a bit of judder but its slight )

Fan noise... Nope. ive tried very hard to hear any. and maybe im just getting old but i cant hear it.

Problems... this will be a small paragraph . When using manual control with the screen open, the Camera function button near the control ring can be obscured by the screen.

Summery. The best Picture i have ever seen. Dont hesitate to buy one. Amazon customer service has been brilliant too.
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on 4 August 2010
I had waited a long time before upgrading to HD - all the horror stories about the computing power needed to edit, the cost of Bluray-writers, let alone players. I have to be able to edit my movies. but I was sick of listening to noise of the tape transport on my otherwise excellent Sony mini-DV (standard definition) camera, and the new TVs do not flatter its output, especially after editing.
My spec was: High Definition, SD Card recording, AND a proper Viewfinder, also known as EEV (Eye level Electronic Viewfinder). How anyone takes decent videos without one I cannot think. Answer- they don't. and just look at any Professional camera/cameraman. You just cannot see the fold out screens in bright sunlight, and you will not compose decent shots, or hold the camera as steady. Also if you are long sighted you will need your glasses on to see it ! (The EEV has a focus control, you set it up for your own eyes)
Well for the last year, Panasonic's SD-700 has been the only choice, it is that simple, so I bought it, plus two 16Gb SD cards.
Verdict: Picture Quality-fantastic.
Ease of use-Excellent - on standby the EEV pulls out and the unit switches on for immediate use, close it and you are back on standby. Of course you do not have to use the EEV, just unfold the main screen and it switches on, too.
Lens - breathtaking zoom-ability and clarity
Playback on HDTV direct from the camera is trivial, with the right HDMI lead.
Ease of downloading to PC - excellent and very fast, using supplied software "HD-Writer" . This is also a rudimentary editor - it will allow you to cut and trim your clips, apply a few transitions and titles, then save to a composite file. The file can be then written to an ordinary DVD, either in standard definition OR as an "AVCHD Disk", which can be played on most BluRay Players. And, if you are just joining the clips and applying minimal effects, it does all this at blistering speed because all the rendering has already been done in the camera ! A standard DVD can hold around 30-40 minutes of AVCHD video. If you have a BluRay writer, you can write a full BluRay disk (££££)
So this is THE camera and I am delighted to own it.
Right now I am fighting with Corel, to get them to debug their VideoStudio product - they will get there, but the world is still having teething problems with AVCHD, in spite of the fact that it IS the future. It seems that a lot of people just want to upload a clip to YouTube, obviously in low definition, oh dear. Panasonic's HD-Writer is rock solid compared with anything else that I have tried so far. Beware of what some software vendors claim to be able to do.
My PC 2.53GHz Dual Core P8700, 3Gb. You will need 100Gb or so spare disk space, for comfort!

UPDATE - the latest Corel VideoStudio version ProX4 has finally got it sorted - I can recommend it highly.
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on 16 May 2010
I bought one of these about a month ago and I am very impressed with the quality of the output, which it has to be said, is stunningly good.
Even at full zoom the image quality is really good and it copes well in poor light.

Yesterday I took some videos and photos of Bluebells and the colour resolution was the best I have seen for this, sometimes difficult, subject matter. (this is not the only subject that I have tested the camera with and it has performed admirably).

The lens will also take filters, if you prefer to add them here rather than through an editing package. eg. Cokin.

The card will play directly in a Panasonic TV with an SD slot, and it seems you can rename the picture files on the computer and still play them back on the TV, so you could store the images on an SD card if you wish. This does not work for videos though. They have a structure on the card that needs copying in its entirety to work.

Creating a high quality interactive disk project from the output is proving more challenging due to software problems, but this is not a problem of the camera itself and should be resolved given time.

100% recommended.
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on 10 July 2010
I had a Panasonic hsc-sd10 for a few months but i did not like the low light performance,
i decided on the sd700, wow, the difference is great, and not just in low light, the 50p setting blows away anything i have seen, even pro cameras,

the good points first

the manual control ring is very good apart from zoom (see below) it does zoom, focus, white ballance, iris,
there is both an earpiec out and a mic input stereo minijack , not xlr, but still great.
its amazing how sharp the cam can be, even now a month on, i am shocked by the clarity,
quality semi-wide angle leica dicomar lens with auto open/close lens cover
46mm threaded lens for adding hood (small one included) filters lenses etc.
decent 14 mp still photos (with flash)
5.1 dolby mic
coldshoe (unpowered) for mic, lights etc,
good lcd screen with optional patterns to keep everything level
46mm threaded lens for adding hood (small one included) filters lenses etc.
nice and compact so light to carry (see bad below)
it has a nice remote control.

ok, bad points now,

the eye level view finder is pretty rubbish, and it only comes out it dosent tilt..but it is colour and better than not having one,
the mic is ok, but very bad with picking up wind, luckily however, there is an external mic input (stereo minijack)
the fan DOES make a noise, but only really noticable on very quiet filming, again en external mic fixes this issue,
the manual ring is good for focusing etc, but pretty rubbish for zooming as its unstable and not controlable, i still use the rocker zoom,
you will currently struggle to find anything to play 50fps on your hdtv set but even so, still great, you can use a ps3 via the usb stick, in blu ray construct, or stright to the tv unedited via mini hdmi cable from the cam.
no inbuilt camera light like the sd10 etc
no zoom control socket (Lanc)
mabey too small so not pro looking enough (see above) ...you cant have everything...where would you put it all ?

overall, i would recommend this camera very much, im REALY fussy and i am happy with it.
99 comments| 37 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 July 2010
This camera has a very good balance of auto/programme modes and manual controls when you need them. Yeah yeah, blah blah, but what really matters is that It produces images which are just breathtakingly beautiful, certainly when viewed on my matching Panasonic HD TV.
Just last year I bought a Panasonic single chip HD camcorder which looked superficially impressive at first, everything was very sharp but after viewing the footage a few times, after the HD novelty wore off, the colours started to look a bit weak and unconvincing. After some research and quite a lot of prevarication, I took the plunge and shelled out for this three chip camera. I'm so glad I did. Colour saturation is excellent and the image stabilisation is improved too. Shots made while walking or from a moving vehicle look more like Steadicam shots than ever.
Take a tip from me, if you're at all serious about image quality don't bother with a single chip model as I did, it's false economy. Learn from my mistake and go straight to one of these (there are three versions of this camera available), better value in the end.
Meanwhile I'll be trying to flog the SD10 a.s.a.p.
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on 19 October 2010
Received the SD700 last week. A joy to use, easy interface. Very user friendly even for a novice. Video quality is superb both indoors and outside.

Recording in 1080p is so simple, just press the button and hey presto! Watching recorded video on the tv via HDMI is straight forward.

Only two things which I found offputting.
1. When connecting HDMI to tv, you can't close the LCD screen as the HDMI port is underneath. Which can be annoying and a bit risky with little kids around
2. The major issue however for me is the fan noise. After recording an outdoor scene when playing back on the TV it sounded like there was the hum of traffic in the background. This I also noticed when making video of the kids.

This for me was the deciding issue, the camera isn't cheap and I expect something like this to be near perfect. So have returned the item. I know the issue can be solved by setting the mic to manual or using an external mic. But for someone who wants this for making video of the kids, its complicating what should be a straight forward process.

If you're happy using an external mic or setting the mic manually then this camera is perfect, for anyone else you need to decide how annoying the fan noise would be.
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on 26 July 2010
This is a near-pro camcorder at an amateur price.

I believe that at present the only choice for anyone wanting a future proof cam is the Panny 700 series. Whether you go for a hard drive, on board and removable flash memory, or removable memory cards is a matter for the individual. I went for removable cards because I felt that that was the most flexible option. BTW class 4 cards work fine on this machine.Kingston SDHC 16GB Class 4 Flash Memory Card

The downside is that no one has yet produced an editor that can handle the 1080p AVCHD footage. That won't be too long coming though I am sure and there are plenty of workrounds in the meantime.
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on 21 December 2010
I bought the SD700 about 2-months ago after reading countless reviews and critiques. The plus side is very heavily weighted against the minus as you would expect from a camera of this specification and obvious build quality.

Plus:

- 1920x1080p quality is outstanding. The video files are of course huge but you have to be prepared to deal with this with a high performance Apple or Windows based machine. I have a 4GB iMac 2.66GHz based system and it edits and processes reasonable quickly.
- other recording quality is most acceptable and useful if the end result is a long recording onto a standard length DVD
- Focus is very rapid and the sound quality is very good.
- The optical eye piece viewing is a great boon and aids considerably in helping me produce stable recordings and more accurate panning especially in low light. I cannot believe anyone would choose an HD camcorder without one. The LCD screen is fine - indoors!
- With Aunsoft MTS/M2TS converter it is easy to convert high quality recordings to be processed within iMovie. I have tried to get Adobe Prem Pro to recognise the files but failed so far.
- Mic input is good and manual override is very good.
- Low light recording is excellent and fine detail is recoded very well. The lens is superb (Leica)
- Easy to hold, carry and fast to power up
- I wish it looked a bit more expensive !!! Its looks do not promote the excellence of the camcorder. Stupid comment I know but it is an unassuming product

Minus
- Mains power is a non-stater in record mode - I tried to record a stage production and the hum as a result made the fist half unusable. Nor were the so-called 50Hz hum filters any use at all in Soundbooth etc. So buy a bigger batter than that supplied which manages around 90 minutes or less
- Touch screen is prone to miss finger stroke - use the stylus.
- The software supplied is functional and allows minimal editing etc. But it has annoying "confirm this" demands and "exit this function" instructions at every single b****y step. It will soon drive you nuts. I use iMovie and soon Final Cut if Santa is kind
- SDHC card is hidden ion the bowls of the camera.....

To be honest these are niggles except for the mains unit pain. Apple and Adobe need to get their act together fully to support the MTS output in native mode
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on 9 April 2010
This is a great machine, the quality is incredible. For my purposes, the cheaper and probably more robust "SD" version with no inbuilt memory is probably best. I really do hope that the Mac will be able to cope with the high quality video format at some point soon (it can't at present). By the way, I got it elsewhere far cheaper than Amazon... ;-)
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on 7 August 2010
What a great camcorder!! Well worth it, really sharp images and good in low light, wipes the floor with my old one! Dead easy to use, the still pictures you can take off the movie images are good quality considering it's on movie format. Love it, love it, love it!!!!
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