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Good: Just about everything, especially the image stabiliser
Bad: Availability of filters etc (only a 46mm thread)
Comment: In answer to Tropi, it comes with HD-Writer software to transfer stuff to PC via USB cable (supplied), but no editor. Adobe Premiere Elements (about 80 quid) is recommended and can handle all formats; Cyberlink Power Director (cheaper) can handle most, but not the top-whack 1080p.
This is a serious camera and needs a serious PC to work with it. Mine has an i5 CPU and 6GB RAM, but you could probably get away with less if you don't mind waiting longer for the results. You will need LOTS of free disc space though - HD video gobbles it up!
About the camcorder - I can't really fault it. Switch on the optical image stabiliser and stop worrying about shaking hands. The optional 1/25sec shutter speed gives super low-light performance. My only complaint is that I hunted high and low for a 46mm filter adapter but couldn't find anything smaller than 55mm. Trying to order accessories direct from Panasonic left me less than impressed.
Comment: With respect, although there is no doubt that this range of camcorders can produce exceptionally good footage, the average punter NEEDS to know
1. Can HD be easily transferred to a PC for storage?
2. Is the camera supplied complete with PC software to edit that HD footage? (and is the software any good?)
3. If adequate software not supplied, then what software IS adequate and how much extra to budget for it?
3. What spec of PC is required to run that software?
That information is absolutely essential if an unsuspecting buyer is not to be hit with extra costs that could double the outlay on the camcorder.
This lack of crucial information reminds of the 1990s, when Standard Def digital camcorders were first introduced. An awful lot of those camcorders did not have the requisite Firewire sockets, to transfer footage to PC, nor did many of the PCs at that time have Firewire facilities either. Even those that did, could not be guaranteed to be compatible with the camcorders. The result was an absolute shambles of infuriated customers who considered that they had been "DONE". They had!
Please, CNet, if your reviewing goal is to inform customers, so that they can make an intelligent purchasing decision, then you owe it to them to provide this essential information, in order to avoid them making a VERY expensive mistake.
Good: Manual Focus Ring and manual balance settings are a videographer's dream
Bad: Nothing at all
Comment: Its truly marvellous with broadcast-like quality.
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