Fantastic low light performance
We're impressed with the HF G10 in terms of performance and capability, but the camcorder's $1499 price tag may be too high for most consumers. You are getting a lot for your money, though, and for people who want access to professional-grade controls, paying around $1500 for a camcorder isn't that bad.
Good audio quality from the built-in stereo microphones
The Canon VIXIA HF G10 is a camcorder built for ease of use and high quality recording. While the CMOS sensor is a basic 2 megapixel sensitivity that creates 1920 x 1080 resolution video, the lens is of a high quality that enables up to 10x optical zoom.
Excellent results, especially in Raw mode
The Canon PowerShot G10 is still going to be the benchmark by which all other high-spec compacts are measured, but it's no longer the top dog. It is beaten on picture quality and portability by the smaller, lighter and slightly cheaper Panasonic LX3, and is beaten badly on value for money by most entry-level DSLRs. It's still an impressive camera and can produce excellent results, especially in Raw mode, but the price means its appeal is a little too specialised for some.
Excellent high-end camcorder with a wealth of features
Provided you've got a wallet padded enough to take the blow, the Canon Legria HF G10 is an excellent high-end camcorder with a wealth of features. A few usability quirks here and there, as well as a frustrating in-camera editing experience, stops us from giving the HF G10 a glowing recommendation with an Editors' Choice award.
5x Wide zoom
We always look forward to working with Canon's "G" series of PowerShot models, as they offer such a degree of versatility in a relatively compact package. This year's G10 proved to be yet another successful model in this category. While I was a bit disappointed at the loss of a few features from it predecessor, the G10 performed very well and all of the new additions (14.7-megapixel imager, 5x Wide zoom, new battery, etc.) helped me forget about the ones I missed.
Dedicated knobs for exposure compensation and ISO settings
If we were in the market for a compact camera to supplement the DSLR, we would be torn between the G10 and the Panasonic LX3. The LX3 is daintier and has fewer pixels, which we like. It has an outstanding Leica-branded lens that doesn't have quite the range of the Canon. Image quality is excellent. But we like the look of the G10 and will always prefer a camera with an optical viewfinder. And the brilliant ergonomics would probably win us over.
Good controls, build and ergonomics
The PowerShot G10 remains a superb compact camera. It's built like a brick yet comfortable to use, boasts full manual control along with a flash hotshoe and RAW recording, has an excellent looking screen, a flexible zoom range with wide angle capabilities and decent stabilisation, and the potential to deliver images packed with detail again so long as you stick to the lowest sensitivities and largest apertures.
Excellent motion and sharpness in 2D
If you are in the market for a high-end 3D camcorder you only have three options at the moment: the JVC GS-TD1, the Sony HDR-TD10, and the Panasonic HDC-SDT750 (and other Panasonic models that can use the VW-CLT1 3D conversion lens). There are also a few ultracompact models that shoot 3D, as well as a number of digital cameras, but the three models mentioned above are the only high-end HD camcorders aimed at consumers that allow 3D recording.
Affordable price point for the featureset
The JVC GS-TD1 is a high-end camcorder, promoted by JVC as the first consumer level camcorder to offer full HD 3D recording. The GS-TD1's full HD 3D capability is owed to the high speed processor that can simultaneously produce two full HD images (1920 x 1080i), recording in both the left and right streams (a process that JVC refers to as LR Independent Format).
Dual-frame Full HD 3D
With the Everio GS-TD1, JVC has produced the first consumer-grade camcorder to shoot two frames of Full HD in 3D mode, using a pair of parallel lenses and CMOS sensors. The resulting MP4 format is proprietary, but JVC’s approach also means better low-light performance even when shooting 3D in AVCHD mode. It’s the first consumer-grade camcorder to offer optical zoom in 3D mode, too. With a range of manual features as well, the GS-TD1 has loads to offer enthusiasts wishing to move into 3D.
It goes without saying, but without the correct TV setup the GS-TD1 is largely pointless. The 3D quality is among the best we've seen from a consumer camcorder, but the proprietary files means playback is limited to a direct TV connect. A decent camcorder, but other forces look set to conspire against it.
Touch GUI works well
We have to give JVC props for taking a huge step forward in home video, leaping from 2D to 3D. If you get the chance to see some sample footage on a quality 3D HDTV you'll be impressed big time as were we. The stills are another story but for us it's a sideshow to a major move in consumer electronics. The Everio GS-TD1 may not be generating the buzz of that other 3D device but you should definitely take notice.
Impressive 3D quality, well featured
It goes without saying, but without the correct TV setup the GS-TD1 is largely pointless. The 3D quality is among the best we've seen from a consumer camcorder, but the proprietary files means playback is limited to a direct TV connect. A decent camcorder, but other forces look set to conspire against it
A masterpiece of compact engineering
The JVC Everio GS-TD1 redefines what we can expect of a 3D camcorder. This shooter may be a tad cumbersome, but compared to a pro-rig it's a masterpiece of compact engineering. We loved the unparalleled creative control on offer, and 3D image quality is excellent. Overall, this is a remarkable piece of kit.
Best non-broadcast class model
Make no mistake; JVC's GS-TD1 is a highly specialised camcorder. I certainly wouldn't advocate buying it unless you have a serious interest in 3D photography. However if 3D is an area you want to be creative in, this is by far and away the best non-broadcast class model I've seen and puts in an excellent performance.
Camera is very light, easy to handle
The Panasonic HDC-SD90 is a mid-cost camcorder. This camcorder's iA (Intelligent Auto) feature selects the most suitable shooting mode at the press of a button. This feature includes Face Recognition, which finds the faces of registered people (up to six faces can be registered) and optimizes the focus and exposure for them.
Great video performance
The 3D compatibility may be the biggest headline for the HDC-SD90, but at its core this is essentially a very well featured midrange HD camcorder. If your budget can't quite stretch to a high-end model, this model would make a very acceptable compromise. With more enthusiast features than similarly priced competitors, and equal or better image quality, the HDC-SD90 gives you plenty for your money, with the added bonus of 3D if you're feeling a bit more flush.
Well built and has good ergonomics with an intuitive touchscreen control.
The Panasonic HDC-SD90 is well built and has good ergonomics with an intuitive touchscreen control. It has a bright lens plus decent lens reach and feature set but is relatively expensive and clad in a plastic-y high gloss case.
Overall, the SD90 is a splendid camcorder for the sub-£500 price bracket and offers lots to get excited about, even before you consider its 3D capabilities. Apart from its slick chassis and comfortable design, its versatility is a key selling point and one that allows for plenty of creative input. This makes it a good choice for budding filmmakers who don't have a lot of cash to spare or those that want some high-quality home movies.
It is a great 2D camera
The key to producing a decent 3D camcorder is to make sure that, first and foremost, it is a great 2D camera. Panasonic managed this admirably with its first 3Dcorder the high-end HDC-SDT750 - but now it has brought the technology to the mid-range and a more beginner-friendly user base, with the HDC-SD90.
Very good low-light video quality
The flash-based Panasonic HDC-TM700 and its hard-disk sibling, the HDC-HS700, stand out for their low-light video quality and broad set of manual controls. However, while the TM700 is very attractively priced for its class, the HS700 is not, and not worth the price premium unless you absolutely need the hard disk.
Good sharpness and motion in 1080p
Overall, the HDC-TM700 is a solid camcorder that is sure to be one of the best - if not the very best camcorder of the year. If you can get around the fact that the 1080/60p footage is difficult to work with, then you're going to be pleasantly impressed by the quality the HDC-TM700 is capable of. The $999 price tag is also a very reasonable cost for such a top-notch camcorder, as it comes in significantly cheaper than the flagship models from other manufacturers.
relatively healthy 12x optical zoom
Overall, the HDC-TM700 produces a killer combination of consummate manual control and best-of-breed image quality. And with a price already similar to the outgoing models, you should look no further than this if you're in the market for a top-end HD camcorder with semi-pro capabilities.
Excellent video quality
The TM700 is a solid contender for the high-end of the camcorder market. It deftly combines a nice selection of advanced features for the tinkerer with functions to help more novice users to get the best video. With a lens that's the best in its price range the TM700 can tackle a variety of challenging shooting environments far better than most camcorders.
Superb HD picture quality
The TM700's picture and sound quality is of an excellent standard, the same as the HS700. Virtually everything we pointed the camcorder at looked gorgeous when played back on a high-definition television, especially when using the 1080/50p shooting mode. Panasonic's proprietary Intelligent Auto technology also made light work of focusing, colour and lighting adjustments, although like all consumer camcorders on the market, the TM700 has a tendency to blow out highlights.
Low price tag
With its low price tag ($999 MSRP) and exceptional video performance, the HDC-TM700 is one of the most impressive camcorders to come along in a while. Simply put, it is a fantastic camcorder that is a much-improved upgrade over last year's HDC-TM300 (which won our award for camcorder of the year in 2009). To be fair, there are a number of flagship models from other manufacturers that we have yet to review in 2010, but we are confident the HDC-TM700 will remain as one of the bestâ??
A feature packed camcorder
The Panasonic HDC-TM700 is a feature packed camcorder that most beginners and avid videographers will find easy and intuitive to use. Its 1080/60p record mode shoots videos with striking details and flawless quality. This Panasonic flash memory camcorder is one of the best consumer camcorders that is a joy to use.
Good scores in both color and noise
The HDC-SDT750 ($1399 MSRP) is an extraordinary camcorder for capturing regular 2D content, but its 3D features are definitely limited. Performance-wise, we were definitely impressed with how well the camcorder recorded footage in 3D, but we were consistently disappointed by the lack of manual controls in 3D mode. You cannot use zoom, manual focus, manual shutter speed, or manual aperture while the 3D conversion lens is attached.
Real semi-professional 3D camcorder
The Panasonic HDC-SDT750 is the first serious 3D camcorder for consumers, and it performs its job commendably. However, the current price is nearly twice that of a similarly specified 2D-only Panasonic HD camcorder, such as the HDC-TM700. So you're paying a significant premium for the 3D lens and shooting abilities. If you're a die-hard early adopter with deep pockets, this is a real semi-professional 3D camcorder. But the rest of us will have to wait for the prices to go down.
An excellent 2D Full HD cam to boot
Panasonic brings 3D creativity to the home user - and it turns out to be a lot more entertaining than watching a ceaseless cavalcade of big-screen 3D toons. The HDC-SDT750 is essentially the HDC-SDT700 shipped with a conversion lens the size of a tangerine. Once you're over the limitations it imposes, shooting in 3D becomes rather addictive. Home movies take on a fresh appeal, and we predict a whole new business opportunity for forward-thinking wedding videographers.
2D footage is stunning
The Panasonic HDC-SDT750 is an excellent 2D camera. At its heart is a 3MOS system that provides 1080p visuals and does a decent job of ridding footage of any image noise. 2D footage is stunning and the optical image stabiliser makes sure that even the shakiest of hands produce smooth results, with crisp, clear colours.
Good low light performance
Although the JVC Everio GZ-HM650BEK lacks some manual controls, at this price the performance in automatic mode is one of the key priorities, and here the camcorder does well. You will almost certainly need to budget for extra removable memory, despite the 8GB on board, but overall this is a keenly priced entry-level HD camcorder capable of shooting decent-quality footage in a variety of conditions, making it well worth considering as a budget buy.
Good value compared with similarly featured competitors
Aimed at a family audience, the JVC features common digital camera gizmos such as subject-recognising intelligent auto mode (with its own button), face recognition and smile-shot modes, while time lapse recording and the ability to add an animation effect to footage provides a degree of creative scope. HDMI, AV and USB output are hidden beneath the screen when it's not in use.
Full screen recording, in-camera tagging
The Bloggie Touch is by far Sony's best effort in the pocket camcorder market to date. The autofocus lens may frustrate a bit indoors, and holding the camcorder horizontally may take some Flip fans some getting used to. But the video quality is excellent and the use of the full 3-inch touchscreen really makes it easy to capture your movies.
Large, high-resolution LCD
If you're a video hobbyist or a pro looking for something portable to complement your workhorse equipment, the Canon Vixia HF S21 is a solid choice. But if you don't need the more subtle aspects of the manual controls, such as shutter speeds below 1/15 second or a choice of Zebra stripe levels, then it's more expensive than it's worth.
Good manual controls
While Canon spent a good deal of effort improving the features for the HF S21, it didn't do much (if anything) to improve the video performance of the camcorder. In our testing, the HF S21 actually did worse with color accuracy than last year's HF S11, although it did do slightly better with video sharpness and low light sensitivity.
As for the improvements on the HF S21, we thoroughly enjoyed them for the most part.
Large 1/2.6in CMOS sensor
Fortunately, the most important thing the Canon Legria HF S21 doesn't have in common with the HF S10, at launch, is price. It's still on the costly side, coming in at around a grand. But this is much closer to the competition, making the HF S21 a much keener option. Whilst we'd still opt for Panasonic's HDC-TM700 due to its exceptional manual control, thanks to its lens ring, the HF S21 comes close in most other respects.
Movie and stills quality
The LEGRIA HF S21 is not for the frivolous. It's an expensive and heavily specified camcorder and one that requires time and dedication to create the best results. If that appeals to you then this is one of the most comprehensive and compelling HD camcorders on the market today.
Excellent video quality
The Canon VIXIA HF S21 is an impressive camcorder with features and performance to meet most prosumer needs. Its manual options and versatility in video recording will suit most intermediate videographer's needs. Its auto mode provides excellent video quality and its large internal flash drive with two SD/SDHC card slots will provide continuous video recording that will surely provide convenience for the avid videographer.
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