I went on a trip to Hawaii a few years ago and I really wanted an amazing camera to take with me. I wanted to be able to take amazing videos, of really great depth and quality, and thinking about how often I would be planning on going in the sea, I really wanted one that would be waterproof too!
I decided on this camera because, although it doesn't record in HD, it instead records using MPEG-4 format, it still manages to record 60 VGA frames per second at a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels, DVD-like quality! MPEG-4 files are small and so you won't use up loads of space on your memory card either which is another bonus!
I ordered this camera from Amazon, and it was around £160, however it has now dropped to about £100 on there now. It came with an 8gb SD card and a really nice case too, which I thought to be a very good deal.
The first thing I noticed about this camera was how light it is! It is also extremely thin, as you can see from the pictures and this makes it a lot easier to hold and carry with you, as it's not too bulky as to be too big to hold.
To turn the camera on, you simply pull the side screen 90 degrees outwards until it is perpendicular to the camera's body and twist it so that you can see the screen. It takes about 2-3 seconds to start up but it plays a sound to indicate that it has turned on, and you can see images appearing on the screen. To turn it off you can do this by simply closing the side screen and you will hear a noise indicating that it is now off. There is also an on/off button on the camera's body to turn the camera off when the screen is open, or vice versa.
Just above the On/off button is the button to record and play your videos. This is pretty self explanatory. When you hold the camera in your hand with the screen directed away from you, then there are several buttons, close to where your thumb will be. These are easy to reach and well placed so you don't feel awkward when holding the camera and taking pictures, it's almost like holding a gun!
The two main buttons are photo and movie. These are used to simply take a photo of the scene in front of you, or you can record video footage too. My one complaint with these buttons are that you have to really push them in far, and hold them for about a second for the photo to be taken, or for the video to being recording. Sooo many times I have thought I've taken a picture or recorded an amazing video, and I've gone to play it back and realised there is nothing there. You have to hold the button down until the screen flashes black and then you see the scene in front of you again. This has been annoying on many occassions! To stop recording you simply press the movie button again and it will top.
There is a button underneath the photo and movie buttons which allows you to zoom in. The zoom is not the best, only 5x, but I haven't really needed to zoom in on anything super far away so this hasn't been a problem at all for me.
The final button is the menu button. This is quite hard to push down, it almost feels like it isn't a button and is just a square marked on the camera, but it does eventually go down and you can see the menu! Once this is pushed you are faced with the following options: There is both an options menu and a recording menu, I found it quite hard to navigate through the menu options, and it was difficult to understand the layout, by splitting up the options in this way. The options menu includes basic settings such as date, time, sounds, language, brightness, image settings, noise reduction. The recording menu focuses on the size and resolution of the videos, various different filters that you can use, etc.
Now that all the details are out of the way, I will talk about my experience with this camera!
I loved using this in the sea! Having never had a waterproof camera I was quite nervous about taking it in the water with me. There is a lock button on the side which keeps the water out, so make sure that you can't see any red near there, or water will get in! It is waterproof up to 1.5 metres, and in general, I can't see anyone needing to use it any deeper, for leisure use like my boyfriend and I. It was so much fun recording our reactions to huge waves, and especially fun to use in the swimming pool to record ourselves swimming underwater! At one point we did notice a tiny bit of condensation on the screen, but after a few hours it had gone away and didn't come back again.
The battery life is good. It would last us a whole day at the beach, but that is about it. We would have to charge it every night but this was not a problem, because as long as it lasted through the day, that was good!
The quality of the videos are great, we can watch them on our TV screen at home and they look to be of DVD quality, it's great, and they play really well! The sound isn't the best quality but is still really good, especially for the price we paid. I was especially impressed with the photos it took. I bought this camera mainly for the video recording capabilities, but the odd photos we took with it turned out really well. Very clear and with a very high resolution, some of them were even better than the pictures I took on my digital SLR!
In summary, this is a great camcorder that I will take on all future holidays with me! It is easy to use, small and lightweight, and takes great photos. I don't think my holiday would have been as fun had I not had this cool toy to play with and I recommend it to everyone! :)