Top positive review
20 people found this helpful
on 3 April 2013
The hand-sized (aimed at right-handed) Panasonic V520 camcorder is a very good camcorder with some very good features for the money. It arrives well packaged with all the bits needed to get you up and running - USB cable, battery etc but no SDHC or SDXC flash card. You can get a decent 64GB SDXC card for not a lot which you might well need given that the V520 does HD 1080p video. It has an adjustable hand strap installed.
It has a 50x optical zoom which means it genuinely zooms there. The extra zoom to 80x is digitally invented. Thing is, it does it very well. The zoom selection is smooth and simple to use. It's 5-axis hybrid image stabiliser works very well too though a tripod will give the best results. IQ is as they claim very good indeed and even in low light where it is relatively noise free. The lens is pretty good too at f1.8 to f4.2 and with lens abberrations well controlled.
The LCD is nice and clear and offers touch sensitive control of the camera. When you open the LCD, it reveals a group of buttons for power on/off, iA, OIS and Wi-Fi and sockets for USB, A/V and HDMI on the side of the camera. On top is the zoom selector and a shutter button for the camera. The record toggle button is on the right side as is the psu socket. Everything else is set via the LCD which is responsive.
LCD menus are logically set out and intuitive. It's easy to work out what they do without constantly 'chimping' the manual.
I did not delve deep into Wi-Fi, but found it very easy to set up the Remote Control access using my Samsung Note 10.1 following the instructions given in the Wi-Fi set up pdf file. The screen update is a bit laggy using the Panasonic Image App but nonetheless usable. You can get the app via Google Play.
I have various modern cameras Sony NEX 5R and Nikon D3200 etc and none as yet replaces a camcorder for the job of video. These stills cameras allow the use of some fine lenses and various aperture techniques etc but they are not camcorders just as a camcorder is not a stills camera. A dedicated tool will usually do the job better.
I have a Canon HG20 camcorder which I have had for a few years. That is a nice camcorder but this Panasonic V520 is better in terms of IQ, size, use and functionality and it costs a lot less.
There are a number of pdf files available on the Panasonic site. Not a bad idea to download them and have a look.