Panasonic provided the British team with its compact camcorders so that they could do a bit of blogging during the Olympics – and if it’s good enough for Team GB then it’s good enough for us. The SD9 isn’t quite small enough to be described as ‘pocket size’, but at just 12.5cm long and 350g in weight it’s still extremely light and easy to carry around. There’s no compromise on features, though, as the SD9 provides an HD resolution of 1080i, 10x optical zoom and even 5.1 surround sound audio recording. We’ve got no complaints about the image quality, but given the almost £600 price tag it’s a little disappointing that you’ll have to fork out some extra cash for a memory card as the SD9 has no built-in memory at all.
Samsung produces a number of attractive compact camcorders, but the HMX20C is the one that really hits the sweet spot for us. It’s very attractively designed, with a neat matte-black casing that is about the same size and weight as a can of Coke. The HMX20C provides very good image quality with 1080i HD resolution, along with a powerful 10x optical zoom that can be digitally enhanced right up to 100x. It has 8GB of built-in Flash memory, which allows you to capture about 90 minutes of video, and there’s also a memory card slot that accepts both SD and MMC cards. Other nice details include a rotating handgrip that makes it easy to take shots at an angle, and a touchscreen control panel.
Next page: Sony HDR-TG3
Bundled memory? No thanks
Nice set of reviews, but it's strange that you place such value on built-in or bundled memory. Surely most people own memory cards already? I don't want the price of my gadgets being pushed up by unwanted integrated memory. The kind of pathetically small cards that are typically included just end up left in a drawer anyway, replaced with whatever size of memory card is currently offering the best value for money (e.g. 16GB at the moment).
Re: Panasonic HDC-SD9 (Jolyon Ralph)
You also forgot the other bad things about this camera:
- SD card can not be read by PC, so you need to read it through the camera attached via USB
- in order to access the camera over usb, you are forced to attach it to external power. No accessing usb while on batteries. Yes, silly isn't it?
- the tripod thread seems incompatible with my tripod (which works fine with all my other cameras)
Apart from that, I have to note that Nero8 (Nero vision) handles the recordings perfectly.
Dont forget your phone
Many phones can take video as well as or even better than the lower end of this round-up, & have a colour screen thrown it. You are much more likely to remember to carry your phone than a camcorder, so if you want to be able to capture youtube moments learn how to use it...
I have a Tony Hawk helmet cam as I didnt want to strap my phone to my head when snowboarding! However, it is dreadful - 320x240 res @ something like 15fps, monstrous battery consumption & doesnt work with rechargable batteries. And the battery compartment is actually too tight for the batteries - I have to peel the graphics off them to get them to fit! I think I'll flog it on ebay to someone who hasnt read this post!
Aiptek and Toshiba apparently the same
I think that the Aiptek and the toshiba are actually the same hardware internally, so you probably should go with the cheapest (in France the Aiptek is actually cheaper than the Toshiba, which is why I bought that one).
What I can say about the Aiptek is that battery life is far from stellar, but the it arrived with 2 battery packs in the box, which made up for it.
The video files produced by these cameras are sometimes difficult to handle, however I had good results transcoding the files with the free application mediacoder (http://mediacoder.sourceforge.net/).
Video quality is OK during the day, however in low light condition my Aiptek has problem producing quality video. Don't expect the quality of a £600 HD camcorder in a £200 one.
I can vouch for the FS100
C'mon guys, this ain't no review, Ten of the Best ?, List of the latest more like,
I bought the Canon FS100 in April,
I wanted a simple Camcorder that recorded to memory card, no moving parts etc.
Its SD, not HD, but it outshines some of the cheap HD cams I've used,
after all it's got real Canon optics.
Battery life is great,
software isn't too bad,
beyond 20x optical zoom hello, mr pixelface, below 20x, clear and sharp, good colour balance
I get hours on an 8Gb SD card.
Top requirement for me, an external microphone socket, this makes ALL the difference.
Overall a fantastic camera, I probably wouldn't have bought it if I simply looked at the spec sheets, I'm glad I applied more thought