The Samsung VP-D361 is a good Mini DV camcorder, great for capturing memorable video.
The camcorder itself is nicely designed, very compact with all the functions easily accessible. It has a black and silver plastic casing which is quite durable and gives it a real professional look. On the left hand side of the device you will find all the play back options as well as "Easy Q" mode which has auto-presets for you to use. Other controls are hidden behind the display panel for accessing menus, controls etc. The back of the device is where you'll find the viewfinder and battery, then on the right of the device you can access zoom, mode and ports for camcorder connectivity.
The VP-361 is packed full of great features to help you shoot some quality video. Most of these are easy to find and use meaning you don't need prior knowledge to use this device. Besides the usual playback and shooting modes there are also some great tools such as fade in and out that can be on the camera saving you time when you come to edit the video. There's also the ability to take still photos with the camera, however as it is Mini-DV you can't export them from the camera as usual photographs.
Video quality on the VP-361 is quite good for an old Mini-DV camcorder, sound quality is also impressive with 3D-esque effects coming from the microphone on the front of the camcorder (you can also use external mics from the ports on the side). Video playback can be viewed on the LCD display or the viewfinder. The display is well sized and means you can appreciate the video on the camera before exporting. The zoom function on the camera is also really good with an optical zoom of 33x. This means that you can capture video from far away without a reduction in quality or fuzzy picture.
As stated above the VP-361 uses Mini-DVs, these are quite cheap nowadays but you often have to buy them in bulk of 5+. The tapes are fed through the bottom of the device but it has to be on for the eject to work. The camera automatically detects when there is a tape in to close the tape area, unfortunately this doesn't work to well, often popping right back up rather than staying in place. There is also a problem with the mechanism as if you eject the tape soon after filming video the tape itself doesn't go back in the cassette so you can be left with quite a mess to wind back in.
The VP-D361 is very comfortable to use and fits nicely into the palm of your hand. It is made for right hands (no may be awkward left handers) and comes with a cushioned strap which is great for holding the camera securely in place. However it would have been nice to see more controls on the right side so you don't have to use both/switch hands to utilise all controls.
Battery life is the only thing that lets the VP-D361 down, it really doesn't last to long getting about 1hr 30 mins of footage before the battery dies, meaning you have to carry around extra battery packs if you want to shoot for longer. As well as this leaving the battery in the camcorder depletes the battery so you have to remove it every time you finish filming to save battery power.
Overall the Samsung VP-D361 camcorder is great for shooting video which is surprisingly good for Mini-DV. Footage is easily transferable to computers via the Firewire ports and easily edited. I would recommend this camcorder if you are looking for a cheap camcorder to shoot some short videos but it may be worth spending the extra money to get a HDD camcorder for better quality and exporting abilities.
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By incorporating the IEEE 1394 high speed data transport port, both moving and photo images can be transferred to a PC, making it possible to produce or edit various images;
The PHOTO function lets you capture an object as a still;
1200x Digital Zoom allows you to magnify an image up to 1200 times its original size;
Audio Enhancement provides more powerful sound by added Real Stereo and Audio Effect functionalities;
A high-resolution color TFT LCD gives you clean, sharp images as well as the ability to review your recordings immediately;
Digital Image Stabilizer (DIS) The DIS compensates for any handshake, reducing unstable images particularly at high magnification;
The Visual Effects allows you to give your films a special look by adding various special effects;
Back Light Compensation (BLC) function compensates for the bright background behind a subject you're recording;
The Program AE enables you to alter the shutter speed and aperture to suit the type of scene/action to be filmed;
Power Zoom lens allows users to magnify the subject clearly up to x33.