* Prices may differ from that shown
I have always used pocket camcorders (such as the Flip) before I bought this camcorder last week. I always thought other camcorders would be too big to carry around. However, I ran the risk when I bought this. The risk was worthwhile as it was nowhere near as bad as I thought, yes it is a little bigger than I am used to but it definitely is not a problem - if anything, the pocket camcorders now feel too small for me. The advantage of this type of camcorder in particular is that despite it being small when in storage, it unfolds when in use to reveal additional features which you wouldn't expect from its size.
Now on to specifications. The resolution of both the pictures and video of this camcorder is amazing. Usually, a 1080p High Definition camcorder such as this struggles with images. However with a 14.4 Megapixel image output, this camcorder stands out from the rest and is perfect for both video and photo enthusiasts alike.
Although this camcorder has digital zoom, I do not believe this to be particularly relevant as this can be done post-filming on any digital video. The key zooming feature of this camcorder is it amazing 5x optical zoom which will zoom into the area in front of the lens without degrading quality of the video. This is very useful in situations where is is difficult to get closer to the subject such as at a public event or gathering.
One of the most attractive features of this product is its very low price in comparison to many of similar specification of only around £140 at the time of writing this review. This means that even people just looking to use this camcorder casually can enjoy the equipment of more intensive users of video equipment without paying the same.
This camcorder does have a few nice additional features such as three pre-sets for white balance - cloudy, sunlight and indoor. These will be very useful in ensuring perfect settings for almost any situation without requiring expert knowledge to configure the camcorder. Its also has built in face detection for photos, low light modes and what Panasonic calls "Intelligent Resolution Technology". All of which promise to improve the quality of the camcorders output with ease.
The high shutter speed of 1/2 a second is useful in capturing images instantly as short notice, there is less chance of the object moving away before the image is taken with this camcorder.
The build quality of the camcorder is excellent, in all of my time using it, I have not found any problems with it and trust it to last for years to come.
If anything at all could be improved with this camcorder, I would have to say the resolution of the display when recording. At 230x400 pixels, it does require connecting to a HD monitor to analyse the quality of the output in many situations. I am not saying to put a HD screen on the camcorder itself as this would increase the price greatly, but a slightly higher resolution would be useful
Overall, the great video and image quality as well as compact size and low weight will make the camcorder perfect for those who travel regularly!
*Also on ciao