Generally excellent video quality and a straightforward.
Panasonic's trio of prosumer camcorders, the hard-disk-based HDC-HS900 and flash-based TM900 and SD800, deliver generally excellent video quality and provide the full set of manual controls and features advanced users want. But you have to be willing to baby the white balance a bit. The TM900 is my top pick of the three for its EVF, but if you're on a tight budget the SD800 should suit just fine.
Excellent color and noise results with great motion and sharpness in 60p.
The HDC-TM900 (MSRP $1099) is a great camcorder, that much is clear. It captured excellent video in a variety of record modes, and its performance recording 1080/60p HD video was as good as it gets. It has a ton of controls, a solid body design, and its 3D recording option (with the purchase of an optional conversion lens) makes it a cutting-edge product.
Despite all this, we are still disappointed with the TM900.
Great image quality in most conditions.
Panasonic's HDC-TM900 offers no revolutionary new features, now that 3D shooting has already started its journey to ubiquity. But like its predecessors it blends excellent enthusiast features, headlined by the lens ring, with supreme image quality. There's also no significant premium being charged for this new model compared to the outgoing TM700, if you can still find it. So the TM900 takes over from its predecessor as our videomaking enthusiast camcorder of choice.
Good amount of storage with 4GB of built-in memory
The Panasonic SDR-T70 is a lower mid-cost standard definition camcorder. This camcorder is equipped with the iA (Intelligent Auto) suite, a series of features (including Auto-focus/Auto-exposure) that automatically selects the appropriate settings for optimal video quality.
Lacks onboard storage - additional memory card purchase required
JVC's Everio GZ-HM30 is an entry-level HD camcorder, and is the most basic of the new Everio lineup. It upscales output to 1920 x 1080p resolution (though it is non-native), and has 40x optical zoom. Standard definition recording is also selectable. This particular model does not have any on-board flash storage, but has a single slot for an SDHC or SDXC card. Its image sensor is 1.5 megapixels and there is a 2.7-inch LCD display on the side of the body.
Decent image quality
JVC is frequently competitive at the budget end of the market, and the GZ-HM30SEK continues the tradition reasonably well. It uses the AVCHD Lite format, with its 720p resolution, to make the most out of a small 1/5.8in CMOS sensor. Image quality is decent, even in low light. There's no built-in memory, but SDXC is supported, and there's a sizeable 40x optical zoom. It's one step up from a pocket Internet model.
Frustrating user interface
With the JVC GZ-HM450 you won't get the best entry-level HD camcorder on the market. Instead, you're getting an acceptable camcorder at an affordable price. The Canon HF R21 and the Sony HDR-CX160 are certainly flashier models with more features and better performance, but, of course, with higher price tags as well.
Image stabilization does a good job accounting for handshake
Sony's lineup of HDR camcorders are classified as entry-level products for first time users, and judging by their specifications and features, the Handycams will keep most consumers happy. The HDR-CX360V is a step-up model from its counterparts, the CX130 and CX160, offering a highly sensitive CMOS sensor, the capacity for 7.1 megapixel photos, and a GPS and map feature.
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