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on 5 February 2016
I never knew Amazon sold second/third hand items. I bought this during the January big discount sale, so I thought the cheap price was because of the sales. The camcorder/ camera came and the writing on the buttons had all rubbed off! Item came with no strap, case, proper instructions, was not in original packaging and no usb or any leads at all where supplied. If you read the description it says all these were included. I took some photos and videos and wanted to download to my laptop, but my new laptop would not reconise the camcorder. I tried to download latest driver because the current software and drivers where from 2006, 10 years old??? Impossible to find software as its a discontinued item. Item description was very misleading. The only good thing is Amazon issued an immediate refund.
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on 16 March 2016
Would agree with the comments made on a USA review, fiddly controls in comparison to Flip Video, no HDD connection, zoom or macro, which other makes have in various combinations, but seems ok despite these minor niggles. Can't try it properly as I bought it pre-owned and the box parts are missing, but they are on order. Not sure what the AV connection is for (used to be for PAL years ago), and my Freeview DVD recorders do not support MP4, but they are HDD and NTSC enabled if that is relevant.
Other makes I've owned also had different annoying features about them for recording, so it is difficult to find a perfect one which has all the best attributes in one package, on a unit of this size & price.
I have a Canon G10 Camera/video which is reasonable for quality, but with the set-up time, and a menu which wouldn't be out of place on a space-shuttle launch, it is likely to ensure a few fails when looking for that quick vid or pic, and it's bulky in comparison, so maybe this Panasonic is the one to have out in the field so to speak.
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on 31 May 2012
Probably one of the best value pocket handhelds in it's range, The panasonic TA1 is a reliable, strong and very convenient pocket camcorder. The built in USB is a great idea and is very handy when travelling, The battery does take quite a while to charge but on a full charge it has a very long lifespan. One of the great features of this phone is the ability to capture 8mp stills, The quality is great and is very easy to use and upload, Set the picture to the highest bandwidth for best results. My main issue though with the camera is the delay whilst pressing the capture button, There seems to be a 2-3 second delay and their is no way in improving the reaction time of the camera, Eventually you will be accustomed to it but others will find it difficult to understand at first which is not always a great thing when you need to capture a quick moment. The HD video is great quality for the price and size, The video works best in still or slow scenes, There is a picture stability function built in but it does not work very well. The light button is very useful and should be activated under low light conditions, Sound quality is good and the menu features are simple and easy to use. I would say in my opinion the worst thing about this pocket camcorder the screen size, Sometimes its very difficult to preview and capture a picture with the low res screen.
Overall it's a great little portable pocket camcorder, I bought it for quite cheap at the time and i did not expect too much but it has produced some great quality pictures and has been reliable and durable in all conditions from mountain to desert so i am very happy with it.
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on 19 January 2012
After reading reviews about this camcorder and the many other makes including the flip ultra 3rd gen camcorder,Kodak playsport etc, I could not make up my mind about which was best to go for, but being a Panasonic fan decided to plump for the HM-TA1 as it has an 8mp camera (actually only 5mp but is boosted to 8mp) and i wanted to take decent photos as well as video - something that is achieved more or less pretty well with this camcorder plus it has a useful light for dark indoor shots.

Firstly, there have been many complaints about the USB port being very fiddly due to the covering flap being hard to get off - Not so actually as if you read the manual (which those reviewers obviously did not) you will find that all you need to do is slide the usb slider button to extend the port and it will pop the cover open automatically - easy peasy!!

Secondly there were complaints about charging via USB - and I would agree with that, but with a removable lithium ion battery it makes sense to buy the seperate mains/car charger kit from amazon from around £8 upwards and charge it in a couple of hours whereverer you are- see link below - simples!!

PowerPlanet Panasonic VW-VBJ10E-K Fast 1-2hr Battery Travel (UK, Europe, USA Mains/Car) Charger for PANASONIC HM-TA1, SDR-H26, SDR-S7, SDR-S9, SDR-S10, SDR-S15, SDR-S25, SDR-S26, SDR-SW20, SDR-SW21

The cover flaps are not too niggly nor too flimsy (as has also been mentioned in other reviews)and if operated with normal care should not break unless you have sausage fingers. You have to attach the USB extension lead (supplied) to connect to your PC and I think it is a better idea than letting it hang off your PC ports!

I am disappointed that there is no 60fps option in 720HD mode like the Kodak and Flip Ultra 3rd gen but then the footage appears crisp and clean enough with good colour and pretty good sound pick up for a mono mic. Panning will cause slight blurring of video footage so best to keep as still as possible for best results and not use the digital zoom either as will cause similar problems.

A lack of an HDMI port is another let down as is the lack of an included protective pouch for the camcorder, but a plus is that you do get an AV lead to connect to your TV so at least you can see what you`ve recorded instantly (even though you cannot lose the onscreen display icons which would be recorded along with your clips if you saved them onto a freeview HD recorder for example - though i understand that most other makes do the same)

My main gripe though has to be the playability on my Windows XP PC which at 3.2GHZ with 2GB DDR RAM and 256MB graphics card should be able to play MP4 smoothly - but alas they will not play unless loaded into the included HD Writer software but even then they play slowly and lose frames! Maybe you need a dual core CPU? - I dont know but am extremely disappointed about that issue - if anyone techy out there has a solution then please reply to this review! - That issue was why I gave four and not five stars because it is in itself a fantastic little unit!!
3 people found this helpful
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on 8 May 2011
I almost didn't buy this pocket camcorder, despite the low price, because of the negative reviews about the build quality. However, I decided to take the chance and I was glad I did. The video quality is good for everyday filming, and the photos turn out well. It's a great little pocket camera to carry around, to quickly capture some videos or take some snaps. As far as the build quality goes, I can't see a problem. Yes, there are little plastic tags attached to the covers, but the covers clip into place and the tags are there to stop you losing the covers when you unclip them. The only issue I had with the unit is that it's a bit slippery and on one occasion I accidently dropped it onto hard ground. From some of the reviews I have read I might have imagined that it would break into a hundred pieces, but fortunately it survived undamaged. After that I decided to fit a Wii strap instead of the usual wrist strap which gives a bit more security.
3 people found this helpful
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on 5 April 2011
Well I bought this item to use for a video project I was doing and wanted a camera that could be placed in a fixed position away from the main action I was shooting to get an alternative angle.
It would have been a good purchase but for two drawbacks.
Drawback one was that you cannot override any of the appature / exposure settings which is an irritation but not the end of the world but Drawback two was really annoying.
For some inexplicable reason Panasonic have decided to sell a camera in the UK which is not capable of filming at 25/50 fps. Pretty irritating and no amount of transcoding will integrate the footage shot on this unit with that shot fro other PAL sources. Panasonic won't even upgrade the firmware to allow for frame rate changes.
Don't waste you money if you want a little more from it than a glorified webcam.
I know there are those out there thinking 'You should have read ALL the specs before buying' but although I have to accept this statement I can't help thinking that selling an item in a country without the unit being capable of operating in it's native broadcasting spec is pretty poor to be honest.
Disappointed.
One person found this helpful
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on 28 April 2011
Well ive had this now for about a month, have a 8gb class 10 sd card inside and find it really easy to use. My 7 year old daughter can also use it without too much fuss. Quality outside is really good and sound is also great. Have it set on 720p as i find this gives great quality and does not use up as much memory as 1080p. Photos look really good but not sure what resolution they are. inside is OK but in very low light you do have a light but it really is not that good. Would be good as a torch in pitch black room but really just a gimmick. Battery life so far is also good. Got a spare one for around £6 which i have not even used yet!!
Shame that you cant charge it via a mains usb charger...a real pain that so have to charge it when PC is on. Can charge it from the PS3 as well!!
For £45 im well pleased. even if it only lasts a year, im sure in that time will get some real funny shots and pictures.
One person found this helpful
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on 1 May 2011
I was more than surprised at the quality of the images.They are very sharp,edge to edge, and the 8mp still quality is good too. My conventional camera is a Panasonic Lumix 14mp, and there's not a great deal to see between the results of both. I have yet to run the camcorder through a TV so I can't comment on the sound quality. Works perfectly on my lap-top. But as regards sound, what is paramount is that there should not be any mechanical noise. Some still cameras with a video option suffer from the background noise of the machine itself. Very distracting.
I have yet to fathom out how to burn to disc from the software programme provided,but have side-stepped that by copying to a flash drive so that I can insert it into a Arcosoft movie-making programme.
The one criticism is the battery charging facility, which is through a computer USB link. Thats fine, unless you're on holiday, and not in touch with a computer to do that - it takes some time. I took the camcorder on a long weekend in Spain, and had to watch, all the time, the battery life indicator. Travelling with Ryanair with only a cabin bag, there was no room for even a netbook!
I have noticed complaints about the covers to the various ports on the camcorder - i.e. that they are very flimsy. They are attached with strong nylon strings, so doubt they would break. In any even, that wouldn't matter that much - they're largely cosmetic.
All in all, a wonderful machine, and a bargain too.
5 people found this helpful
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on 2 August 2011
I bought this as a replacement for an SVP camera I had previously but had managed to break. That was a good camera, but this Panasonic is way better. The name Panasonic says quality, and this shows from the moment you unwrap it. It's extremely easy to use, the instruction book is easy to understand, and the quality of the pictures and video are amazing. I have mine set on the highest setting, and the picture quality is so good that you can blow them up to A4 size for printing and not lose any detail at all. The Li-Ion battery is a must for these cameras: never buy one with AA or AAA batteries, as they go flat in no time.

All in all, a fantastic camera at a great price. It's even better than my expectations of it, and you can't get better than that!
One person found this helpful
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on 10 December 2010
Was really looking forward to using this little gadget and although picture quality is good and it's really easy to use, I agree with some of the previous comments about the fragile nature of the casing. Not sure what I will do when it comes apart. Also, sometimes difficult to see when it is recording and at the moment can't get the softward to load onto my PC so can't edit what I've recorded.

All in all, average product and I certainly wouldn't buy the same again. Will wait to see how it operates abroad - another potential problem for recharging.
9 people found this helpful
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