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I'm not going to go in to loads of detail about functions or lack of certain functions, the inconvenience of having to close the lens cover, MANUALLY!!!............or how light it is which makes it difficult to hold steady etc.....

For the price and what you get its a good camcorder (£50 cash back till Jan 2012). Panasonic quality, brilliant lens, touch screen. If you want a good quality fairly basic and at a fair price, then you cant go wrong. If you want a better equipped camcorder, go and spend the money on a more expensive one. My opinion is for the price this is a darn fine one!
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I got this Camcorder in June to take on my holidays. My old Camcorder was good, but I knew that high definition was the way to go. This Camcorder is not the best on the market, but for the price, you can't go wrong. I think that it is worth 5 stars. If you have not used a HD camcorder before, you will be overjoyed when you see your first family video and realise that everyone's faces are crisp and clear. I got a 16gb memory card, (Class 10) to go with the camcorder and you can shoot a lot of video with this much memory.

The camera is very small and compact, easy to use and comes with HD Writer software. The HD lead supplied with the Camcorder is a Component lead and not HDMI, this was not a problem for me, but may be for you if your TV does not have Component inputs.

I have recorded a lot of video on this camera. It is easy to use and I tend to leave it on the automatic setting and let it look after everything itself. Sound recording is fine. The battery life is good. The zoom is absolutely amazing, I could not believe how good it was; distant objects are brought 'up close and personal' in great clarity.

The photo/camera setting is not particularly good. I do not use it for stills, but it is adequate should you need to use it. The software supplied is fine, however I tend to use Windows Movie Maker to edit the video I shoot. I have a slight problem with the way recording does not stop when the screen is snapped shut. I have some video of my legs, feet and the inside of my wife's handbag etc. LOL. Still, this is just part of the learning curve. The lens cover does not shut when the camera is turned off either, it must be closed manually. Again, this is not a problem for me.

As I said above, this is not the best Camcorder on the market, but for the money it is great! I am very pleased with it and really enjoy watching home video in full HD. It is worth the money. My camcorder is constantly left on the coffee table in the living room ready to capture those special moments. 5 stars from me - good value for money.
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on 22 December 2011
This video camera is awesome, I couldn't believe how small it was too. I am a guy and thought I might struggle with the controls because it is so small, but the side strap keeps it in place nicely.

This video camera has a lovely touch screen for the options/settings, very easy to setup reading the manual. It has everything you need so as not to miss those memorable moments, it will also tell you when you are paning round to fast.

This is a very nice bit of kit, you have to get the SD card seperately, but you can get a pretty good 16GB one for £15, so it's not to bad.

I managed to get this lovely camera for £209, which is a fantastic price.
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on 25 March 2012
Greater value at the reduced price whilst launching the replacements model but I hope the new model has eliminated what I consider the one remaining poor quality feature. The lens is still a vital part of the camera & not to have automatic closure of the cover, looses that 5th. star. ONE careless moment is all that's needed to do permanent damage.
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on 10 December 2011
The quality of video is very good and I was particularly pleased with the photo quality. Having a flash for the camera function is a bonus and enhances the taking of photos in low light and at night. Viewing screen is a bit small but on the whole I am very pleased with this Panasonic camcorder. Convenient to carry around and hold in the hand.
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on 17 October 2011
I just wanted a decent Camcorder to take out to Australia to visit family, especially our first grand-child. I tend to look at Panasonic AV kit above other brands and this seems to offer really good features at a very decent price. No complaints so fat at all.
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on 22 September 2012
This is a very good first Video/cam I would suggest having a second battery and maybe a second card (16GB)the unit doe's not come with a card
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on 6 May 2013
with taking trips on hols and having two grandchildren this wonderful camcorder gets lots of use.would recommend to buy as its a really good model. Doug K
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on 23 December 2012
Used by my wife with little trouble to date, however much too small for my large mitts, can be difficult to use in strong sunlight.
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on 28 June 2011
I own an older SD60 which is basically identical to the new SD80.
When I bought my SD60 last year I knew it did not have a viewfinder, which to me was not a problem.
Adding a viewfinder to a camcorder would add bulk, weight and cost to a new product.

In the days of film movie cameras, having just a viewfinder limited a shot and was not an option.

With the introduction of digital technology and then the flip out/rotating screen, opened up in more freedom to the type of shot one could make.
High and low shots are a doddle with a flip/swivel screen.
By the way, a viewfinder that does not flip up through 45-90 degrees would not be much use unless one's imagination was lacking.

For really high shots I can mount my camcorder on a monopod, pointing the screen down. Before you say you could not see what you are shooting the idea of a viewfinder or screen is to just frame a shot NOT watch the action. They are to small to watch the action in detail.
While filming one cannot effect or change the content of the action so don't watch it, frame it.
I can frame a shot and look away for a few seconds in case something is happening out of shot without the shot wandering. This comes with a little practice.

Most camera users close one of their eyes when using a viewfinder and loose what is going around them and can and do miss a valuable shot.
This can be seen many times when viewing other users movies on the Net.

Many camcorder users are what I call "watchers". I am what I call a "framer".
A "watcher" is a user that concentrates solely on watching the action through a viewfinder or screen with detriment to all, missing out on developing incidents.
A "framer" is a user that will use a viewfinder or screen to just frame a shot while looking around for anything else of interest.

I have been shooting still, film and video for just over 40 years and learn't early to hand point a camera at a subject without looking throught the viewfinder or screen, this is called the "grabshot"
This is a very useful technique when shooting in a crowd or have a blocked view.
A technique used all the time by press photographers and easy to learn now with the advent of camcorders and digital filming.

Learn to do this technique while holding your arm lowered and away from your body and pointing your camera/camcorder with one hand at an object about 10 feet away.
Do this 5/6 times without looking at the results. This can be done with a camcorder without stopping filming. moving your arm through an arc, holding for a second or two on the object. Now review your results.
This test will show your prception of to where the camera is pointing. Take more shots/film tests, making adjustments with your pointing till you are satisfied with the results, then raise or extend your arm above you head and repeat. Change hands and repeat.
If you own a monopod, use it as well in addition. Adjusting the camera up and down or tilting the monopod.

With digital this training does not cost anything and takes little time to learn but can enhance your movies with the difference between getting a shot or not.
This technique is very useful when taking candid shots or video at weddings, parties etc.

Many camera users buy a camera/camcorder and straight from the box start using it without any thought, with only a glance at the instructions. And the results show.

With over forty years of photography and filming I am still learning and open to new ideas.

If it came down to a choice, I would without hesitation choose a flip screen over a viewfinder.

Jeff
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