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Good: Excellent video playback, really clear and bright colours when playing back on TV. Easy to use, just keep it on Auto and away you go.
Bad: Nothing, apart from the fact that after 3 years of ownership and not a huge amount of usage it has stopped working. Seems theres a fault with the processor which prevents it from being able to record anything. I can still play back recordings on it. Really disappointed that its gone wrong so soon.
Comment: Great camcorder. Just wondered if this is a common problem though as its not cheap to repair.
Good: Excellent picture quality...
Bad: Standard battery life just abou adequate, buy an upgrade.
Comment: Can we first get something off my chest about a lot of ratings given to equiment on this site (and almost all others).
This review is for a camcorder. So its purpose is to faithfully record pictures and sound. Unless it does this well I feel it cannot be given a high rating. I am constantly reading reviews that will say' the pictures and sound are so'so', But it got 'SO many bells and whistles' it gets a rating of 9!
It doesn't matter if its got inbuilt tea maker, mp3 player and mobile phone, if the pictures are poor its rubbish...Sorry...rant over...many apologies!
This camcorder with its 3-CCD swtup produces beautiful HD quality movies, the lens is good and the automatic focus and exposure are very good too. Leave it in auto and just use the on/off and zoom controls and you'll be a very happy snapper. Its easy to carry and use, although I have big hands and it makes the zoom a little bit of a squash, but no-one else has a problem. So, unless your also 6'4" plus, ignore this comment.
The inbuilt mic suprised me with its ability, it says its a 'zoom mic' and in use... it is. Playback in a decent stereo you can heard the far sounds increase, and the near ones fade...great trick!
The only weaknesses I've found are in low (party) lighting the picture gets a bit noisy. Conversely in very low light (moon and stars) the picture gets much better?
The standard battery life, using the good quality LCD screen is a little short, but larger aftermarket batteries are available cheaply. Using the eyepiece greatly increases battery life, but the screen is so goon (even in sunlight) that I rarely use it.
Like most people i read about the other bells'n'whistles, but I've never needed to use the so I can't comment. The only other thing I do is link it to the PC and go editing, which was asy from the very first time.
The still camera function is reasonable quality for a 3mp camera, but it is not its forte. Better to keep the footage rolling, you never know you may get something unexpected for 'You've been framed'.
Overall, a very good, high quality camcorder that you can still find, if you do grab yourself a bargain.
Good: Quality of the videos is SUPERB!
Bad: Not much... the bottom feed for the SD cards is idiosyncratic!
Comment: I bought this for a month long family holiday through the Canadian Rockies-Vancouver Island-Seattle-Mt St Helens. I bought it on the strength of the Cnet review off the internet for less than £300.
I used it constantly for the full month using over 20 tapes in every possible condition. Standing on the Columbia Icesheet at -23oC, to monsoon rains in Vancouver, to a 45oC! shopping trip in Edmonton. It always functioned well and battery life was good, although I did buy a second one a week into the trip just for convenience sake.
It fits in your hand perfectly and all the important controls are easy to use which was a pleasant suprise after my previous Canon unit. It light so you don't feel it even after prolonged use. I only used the Automatic setting throughout the trip and they always seems to cope admirably with all the conditions I threw at it.
But, the real treat was after we'd returned home. We played the tapes back...what wonderful, colour rich pictures! There are no visible abberations even on my 50" screen. The image stabilisation was also really good too. A high speed whaling trip looked smoother on video than it felt on the boat! I also got some lovely sunset shots, I think they also might look better than the real thing did!
The other nice suprise was the quality of the stereo sound from the in-built microphone. Not as good as the directional mic I used for most shots, but the quality was great for "grab'n'go" use with good suppression of wind noise.
The biggest suprise from its performance was at at nightime laser show on the Grand Coulee dam. I videoed proceedings not expecting much from it, but when I found that the results were really good, there was a little bit of low light fuzziness to the general shot, but the laser figures were clear and bright, and even the sound was clearly audible.
Overall, I can't praise this unit enough and would recommend it in a second! Well done Panasonic.
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