Feeds
65%
Panasonic HM-TA20

Panasonic HM-TA20 underwater camcorder

Taking a dip

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

Review Pocket camcorders might have lost their appeal since the spread of HD-ready smartphones but the amphibious nature of the Panasonic HM-TA20 is still likely to grab the attention of holidaymakers. The HM-TA20 is an underwater pocket camcorder capable of shooting 1080p videos and 8Mp still images up to depth of 3m and also doubles up as a digital voice recorder, with a number of ad hoc options.

Panasonic HM-TA20

Sub-aqua snapper

The HM-TA20 has a rugged and fun appearance with a bright orange or blue-coated body that felt just a tiny little bit too wide for my hands and slightly awkward to hold. The large 3in touch-sensitive screen whilst being generous in size, leaves very limited space to grip on. You need to hold the camcorder in an upright position while shooting, so it’s not the most comfortable camera to handle, especially underwater.

On a positive note the camcorder is very tough and well built, with every compartment protected by thick watertight rubber seals, along with a security system of double switches to prevent exposure of internal areas even during the most extreme sport or careless use.

The HM-TA20 has virtually no physical controls other than a large recording button at the front with everything else handled through touchscreen menus. The camera uses a resistive panel which is not very responsive.

Panasonic HM-TA20

Settings tweaks are performed using touchscreen menus

The user interface relies on three large virtual buttons, Play, Mode and Menu that unfortunately leave little space for the actual live view of the footage. The menu is very straightforward but lacks direct control of functions such as exposure or mic volume. Touch control issues aside, the LCD screen is bright even underwater and fairly sharp too.

Apart from being waterproof, shockproof and dustproof, the HM-TA20 does not exactly shine in terms of specs. The 1/4.1in CMOS sensor has a 5.33Mp resolution, which is further reduced if the 4x digital zoom is used. Presumably, Panasonic indulges in some image interpolation trickery to get this sensor to deliver 8Mp (3264 x 2448) stills. Video capture is at 30fps in Full HD, 720p, VGA or iFrame resolutions. The latter is 960 x 540 and is optimised for use with Apple's iMovie '11. For low light shooting, there’s a rather weak LED light on the side of the lens which helps, but not much.

Panasonic HM-TA20

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Super Cali signs a kill-switch, campaigners say it's atrocious
Remote-death button bad news for crooks, protesters – and great news for hackers?
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Will It Blend? Maybe. BlackBerry’s secret comeback weapon
The Desktop PIM buddy: A 1990s idea finally done right?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?