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I don't know what you are looking for when you buy a video camera. Personally, when I do I am expecting something that I can make use of in almost any situation. If you are also looking for that, do not buy this camera, it's not what you're looking for.
I read another review of this camera, already written here on DooYoo. It stated that it was a good, lightweight, "holiday" type of camera. I try to be creative but they pretty much nailed it right on the head there, that is EXACTLY what this is. Now for me, that wasn't good enough, but like I said before, I don't know what your camera wants/needs are, so I'm just going to basically list off the pros and cons and you can make the decision as to whether this works for you.
This camera is super light, you can easily film with one hand without being a body builder.
I guess you would expect this with it being lightweight and all, but just in case you didn't realize by now, this is one of the smaller video cameras on the market right now. If you're a woman, this will fit in even the smallest of purses without a problem.
-Pretty good quality video.
It's not like you're filming in HD or anything, but the video does come out very nicely, especially when you consider that this is a much cheaper camera than most of the stuff you see out there these days.
-Very easy to use.
Just pop in an SD card and you can start filming/taking pictures. Viewing your videos or pics on the camera itself is also a breeze, as well as transferring the media files onto your computer. There are only really a couple buttons on the whole thing so learning how to film with it is easy as well.
-The "stop recording" button.
It's in quite the awkward place. You would think they could just have it somewhere where your finger is naturally going to be when you are holding the camera, but instead it's like at the bottom of the camera, and near the front as well. The button to start recording is placed at the perfect spot to click it easily with your thumb, but for whatever reason they picked a weird spot for the stop one.
You have to make sure you are filming in a very bright area. If you are in a room that is even relatively dark, your view upon playback will be significantly dark, even if it indeed is only slightly dim.
-Eats up charge.
I suppose all video cameras have this problem. Just noting that this one is no exception. If you go on a trip, make sure you've got the charger with you.
All in all this is still an okay digital camera, but the whole problem with it being too dark has been a really annoying problem with me on multiple occasions. If you plan on using this only a few times a year (like 10-20 for holidays or maybe musical recitals for your children) than this camera could work for you. But if you want to use this as a serious video camera, I recommend you just put in the extra $50-100 and get something a bit more heavy duty. This isn't anything hardcore right here, but then again, it doesn't really have the hardcore price. Like I said in the beginning of this review, it all depends on your needs.
I bought this camera from Amazon for about £150 last summer to take with me on holiday, as it looked relatively cheap and looked simple to use. I also had bought Panasonic products before and trusted the brand, so that influenced my purchase as well.
The first thing you notice about the camera when you take it out of the box is how truly tiny and light it is. It really is a pocket camcorder, and I wouldn't say you even need particularly big pockets. It looks sleek but also well made, and you can get it in silver and black ( I have the silver one). It has a relatively big fold out screen that can be tilted 180 degrees, so you can see yourself if you are filming from in front. The camera does not have touchscreen controls, but the controls that it does have are quite easy to use, however maybe a little sluggish for some. There is a "prerecord" button at the back which I feel is a handy feature: the camera remembers two seconds of live recording constantly, so that if you miss shooting something but still pointed the camera in the right direction you can press this button and you will still get the previous two seconds footage.
The camera does not however have a viewfinder, which is a bit of a pain if you are outside in bright sunshine and the sun reflects off the screen. The manual controls are almost unusable too, as it is really hard to judge when something is in focus or not in manual mode. For this reason it's a good thing that the autofocus is quite quick and relatively accurate.
The actual video quality is alright, but by no means fantastic. The camera doesn't do hd, it is slightly grainy in low light and it takes time to adjust brightness, but the overall quality is ok. It's good enough for home movies and capturing family moments, but I wouldn't use it for shooting a short film or anything. The still image mode is so bad that it's not really worth talking about, and to be honest I don't really see it as a "feature", more something Panasonic thought they ought to put in but didn't spend much time on.
The camera takes SD memory cards, which is convenient for just slotting it into a computer and does make the camera lighter, however it does mean you have to spend some extra money. For a tenner of Amazon you can get a 4 gig memory card which will store about two hours of footage.
In terms of optics, the camera has 10x optical zoom (ignore digital zoom when you're looking for cameras as all it does is magnify pixels), which is fantastic for such a tiny camcorder. The lens is covered by a sliding lens cap which means there is no way of loosing it (for forgetful people such as myself).
I like this camera for its portability and build quality, however the quality of the video really isn't great. I would recommend this camera for holidays or home videos as it is really easy to use and has a good zoom, but if you want some professional looking video go for a more expensive hd camera with an electronic viewfinder and better manual controls.
I bought this nifty little camera just over a year ago and it's been well used as my stills camera broke. The stills picture facility was outstripped by almost all the mobile phone cameras i found about me at the time, so don't think you can but this as a kill two birds product. The biggest advantage is the size, it really is tiny and will fit in reasonably sized pockets. It's not got a lot of clasps and buttons visible to catch on while being bumped about either though it does scratch up quickly. It charges through the mains and keeps the charge well. It also doesn't discharge too quickly if left on the shelf for some weeks.
The camcorder had a reasonably quick start up time and the only thing you need to remember is to remove the lens cap by means of a little slide switch on the side. It doesn't make a dot of sound apart from the faint snap of the lens cover. The buttons are hid behind the flip screen and are a little small for larger hands, and the main spin wheel can be a little over responsive, I've more than once spun it to off at the start of a shot. What i love is that you don't hear the zoom, a big bonus for shooting round people and animals.
Usually it's fine to be left on auto if you are just catching quick - in the moment - memories. If you are trying to shoot more professional stuff then lighting is key. It has no lighting of it's own and with the settings tuned, to allow for the minimum external illumination, you get very blurry and jumpy shots. I'd not recommend it for shooting anything you will get paid for, as especially indoors with the light problems you can get quality that looks like an 80's movie.
It's not HD and this is probably it's biggest drawback. But it does produce decent size manageable footage and for home viewing and YouTube it's fantastic. Older bigger camera did give me clearer pictures but for most of what i do this has been fine, and the ease of throwing it in your bag for the what if moments is irreplaceable.
I bought this camera second hand from ebay and took it on holiday. It is very small so fits well into a pocket although I often forgot to close the lens cap which has to be done manually. The screen is clear and bright but I found the lack of a flash to be a problem in some dim settings. The picture quality can be put on 3 settings depending on how much space you want to save on the drive but I put in a 16gb sdhc card which gives me about 3.5 hours on highest resolution. The finished version is a good movie but I found that when you zoom in it gets very shaky. It comes with youtube software which I've not tried yet but I can tell you that you can't upload to youtube without it because I've tried. For the price this is a good little camera but I think that a decent mobile phone would do the same job and it some cases do it better.
After being shown this camera by my freind, i thought it would be perfect for me as im going around the world, i had a little play with his camera and was sold. I found the cheapest place at the time was Jessops (£149.00) and grabbed it for that price. I love this little camera it's perfect if your going abroad and want a little almost un-noticable camera to not bring attention to yourself. It's about the same size as a moblie phone! Picture quillity is good, and has three setting of image resolution to help save space on your memory stick and is as basic as High, Medium and low. The stills option is ok and in the right light takes an ok picture. Its so easy to use you just turn it on with dial and set it on which mode you want to use and off you go. The sound is excelent and the zoom also good. The only down side is the softwear that came with the camera. The actual edit function is not to bad ( pretty much the same as Imovie or widows movie maker) but cant seem to get music imported!!??!?!?!
All in all great little piece of kit for the money
In the past, typical camcorder usage centered on recording special events, such as weddings and vacation trips. Camcorder usage has evolved, however, with many consumers now demanding models that offer higher image quality than previous models. Panasonic has moved to further expand demand by creating two new SD Card camcorders that fit unique applications and lend themselves to casual, everyday use. The SDR-S7 is a stylish model with an ultra-compact, go-anywhere design.
Today many people post still images taken with their digital cameras onto Internet Websites and blogs. Sites for posting video clips are now becoming popular too, and more and more people are using motion images as a form of creativity, communication and self-expression. The SDR-SW20 and SDR-S7 debut at a time when the trend toward using video for casual, everyday use is growing strong. These two models, offering the small size, light weight and superb mobility made possible by SD/SDHC Memory Cards, let users shoot video with the same casual ease and carry-about convenience they enjoy with small digital still cameras. For occasions when in the past it may have seemed a bit awkward to pull out a camcorder, such as on short outings or business trips, the SDR-SW20 and SDR-S7 offer no such discomfit. Users can take out the SDR-SW20 or SDR-S7 and shoot with the same casual freedom as people snapping everyday photos with a still image camera.