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Monday, 18 June 2012

Camcorder is one smooth operator



YOU could be forgiven for thinking the end of the camcorder is nigh. When smartphones aren't stealing their thunder, digital SLRs are proving they can capture moving images just as well, if not better, than their dedicated video camera peers.

With these challenges, camcorders need to stand out to survive.

Mercifully, Panasonic's latest mid-range video camera offers important additions that a willing audience could find very appealing.

For starters, the HC-V700 has lens power that simply will not fit inside a mobile phone.

Not only does its lens start from a wide angle of 28mm, to fit more into the frame from a close distance, but it features a 21x optical zoom and what Panasonic dubs a 46x "Intelligent Zoom".

This added range is achieved by an usual method.

Rather than simply blowing up existing pixels, the system employed by most digital zooms, the Intelligent Zoom crops the image down, retaining most of its detail.

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Another major benefit to this camcorder is its advanced optical image stabilisation. Panasonic calls it Hybrid OIS+ and promises it will correct movement and reduce blur in your videos.

Stabilisation kicks in automatically in the camera's iA mode and instantly smooths video, even when you've stretched its zoom to the limit.

Another feature of note is this camera's unusual sensor.

Rather than using three small sensors, the V700 packs in a single larger-than-usual CMOS sensor to capture footage and uses backlight illumination to work better in low light.

Image quality from this video camera was solid, on the whole, and video can be recorded in full high-definition and 50 frames per second in AVCHD format. While the V700 is likely to appeal to point-and-shoot customers, users can manually tweak its settings too, from white balance to shutter speed.

These controls appear on its 3-inch touchscreen and are easy to access.

Some controls are harder to use than others, however.

Setting the camera's manual focus using the screen is tough.

The V700 also has some baffling omissions.

While you can fit an external microphone to this camera, you cannot plug in headphones to monitor sound.

Also, the camera lacks any built-in storage - you must record to your own SD card - and the colours tend to look washed out.

However, at 270g and just 8.2cm long, the HC-V700 camcorder is a highly portable video camera and one that fans of faraway images should appreciate.

Raj Rajput [ MBA ]
Mobile Reviews Expert
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