Solid frame with a bland aesthetic
Panasonic's top camcorders have historically been great performers, after all. We were just hoping thatâ?? despite the fact that wireless features have become the connecting thread of imaging-related announcements at CESâ?? this model would stand out in some other way. Maybe the new back-illuminated sensors will do the trick, but we'll only be sure after lab testing.
That said, we have to admit the new WiFi features are pretty darn cool.
Great prosumer camcorder
This camera has the new wifi feature for external control. Since this is version 1, I'll give them a break. Someone needs to go back to the drawing board for the Droid interface. I was at least hoping I could use my phone to act as a remote control, since there is no remote unit that comes with this camera. Alas, the only thing Panasonic wanted the phone to do was to record (or take pictures) remotely.
Class-leading image quality
The HC-X920 is priced £50 above the RRP of the HC-X900, but it's still sub-£1,000, and should be £50-100 beneath this when it becomes more widely available. With even better performance and additional WiFi-features, it's well worth the extra cash anyway. The HC-X900 was the king of consumer-grade camcorders, and the HC-X920 is heir to its throne. If you're looking for the best 2D camcorder on the market, Panasonic has raised the bar yet again with the HC-X920.
Fantastic picture quality
You might be a little sceptical about the need for a proper video camera in the days of DSLRs and phones, but we promise you, there's something a lot nicer about picking up a tool designed to do the job. Sure, you can do all DIY with a hammer if need be, but the results will cary from good, to very smashy and not all that nice to look at. Pick the right tool, and use a couple of things together, and you'll get a much better result.
Sharpness is outstanding
It's hard to get excited about a camcorder that offers so few performance improvements, but bear with us, because the Panasonic HC-V720â?? like its predecessorâ?? is a great deal.
Minus a few slight changes, both for better and worse, the V720's image quality is quite similar to the V700's. But let's not forget how strong performance was to begin with.
Comprehensive manual controls
The Panasonic HC-V720 may only have minor improvements in central areas, particularly image quality, but it does have enough additional features and enhancements to make it a worthy upgrade nevertheless. The additional image stabilisation options, 5.1 surround sound, and comprehensive WiFi features are all very welcome. With great performance and loads of features, this is a great mid-range camcorder.
Clever Wi-Fi features
The important thing when considering whether to get the Panasonic HC-V720, then, isn't whether it'll give you vastly improved image quality in your video over what some cameras or the best smartphones will do. Sadly, it often won't.
But what it does is enable you to smoothly record footage that you couldn't get any other way: close-ups in sporting events; perfectly smooth tracking of a bird taking off; video from a boat that doesn't make people too seasick.
More solid feel less plastic-y build than cheaper camcorder rivals
While the "core" optical zoom here appears comparably modest at 21x, with a focal range stretching from a wide 28mm-729.6mm and a bright f/1.8 maximum aperture, this can be digitally extended via what Panasonic calls its 50x "intelligent" zoom, though that still falls short of the 53x "advanced" zoom of the Canon and 65x "dynamic" zoom of the JVC.
50x optical zoom gives the Panasonic an incredibly long range
This Panasonic goes the whole hi-def hog, trumping the JVC GZ-VX815 with 1080p recording at 50fps. Arty video effects and a time-lapse mode are backed up with a lens that goes wider than the JVC and zooms a whole lot further too. There are Wi-Fi remote control skills too, via Android and iPhone apps.
Delivers very good image quality
The benefits of the HC-V520 are clear. It has more manual controls than the Canon and its zoom lens is ridiculously long. It's a stronger camcorder in low light and it comes with a better battery. But the Canon is easier to use and it comes in a slicker, fancier package, which, in a way, makes it more fun to handle. Both are good options for low-end camcorders, but the Canon HF R40 is the better bang for your buck.
Good image quality
The Panasonic HC-V520 is quite an improvement over its predecessor. With better image quality, the WiFi features, and enhanced zoom as well as more image stabilisation options, there are many reasons why this is a better buy than the HC-V500. However, at around Â£130 less than the HC-V720, it's not such a clear value proposition in the mid-range price bracket. If you have the extra to spend, the HC-V720 is a clear winner around the Â£500 mark.
Lots of recording options and still features
At first blush, it doesn't seem like the Panasonic HX-WA2 will be a top camcorder. Construction is shoddy, design is boneheaded, and if either of these are an indicator of image quality, then we're not expecting much. Of course we've been fooled before. And not by just any camcorder, but by this model's direct ancestors: the Sanyo Xacti models like the VPC-HD2000 and VPC-CG10, which, thanks to Panasonic's acquisition of Sanyo, featured very similar designs as the WA2.
This is absolutely perfect for those who don't want to carry around a larger camcorder and all of the chargers/attachments that come along with it. This fits nicely in my pocket of my husband's jeans or in my purse. We prefer the smaller size so that we can bring along and not feel like stalkers. The videos are of great quality and we were very happy with the purchase.
Optical zoom with 15x maximum iZoom
At a little over £200, Panasonic's HX-WA2 isn't as budget conscious as pocket Internet camcorders costing £100 or less. It doesn't quite have the immediate single-function appeal of Flip-style camcorders, either. But if you do fancy a go-anywhere pocket-friendly shooter, and are willing to pay a little extra for quite a lot more features, this is a capable camcorder for the money.
Wonderful SD Camera
This camera is fantastic. it is full HD 1080i and yet remarkably small and lightweight. honestly this is the smallest camera I've ever seen yet has all of the capabilities I need including Full HD and basic features.
I am going to purchase a 32 GB memory card and the "Extended" battery to get 2+ hours of video time for charge and space in full HA 1080i.
I combined this with freemake and can make my own Bluerays of my home movies easily.
Capable optical image stabilisation
If you're on a tight budget, Panasonic's HC-V100 is a very tempting proposition, with a street price of around Â£170. Although the JVC GZ-E15's Â£150 price wins out for sheer cost-conscious value, the HC-V100 gives you a greater range of manual settings, which are easier to access, as well as digital photography and optical image stabilisation.
Good video quality in low light
The upright camcorder format won't appeal to everyone, and the D-pad used for accessing the main settings isn't the most finger friendly around. The HX-WA10 is also significantly more expensive than pocket Internet camcorders, even waterproof ones. But there's a proper optical zoom, video quality is better, and still images are far superior to any pocket Internet or similarly-priced Handycam-style model.
Excellent iA imaging system
Overall, we're mightily impressed by the HX-WA10. You're paying something of a premium for the waterproofing features, but we'd say they're worth it. It's safe underwater, it's easy to use and it produces some excellent video. We do recommend investing in a tripod to go with it, but as a fairly small, reasonably light consumer camera, it's absolutely worth your time.
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