Making a scene
Additionally the HM-TA20 is equipped with Panasonic’s Intelligent Auto System, which automatically recognises a scene, adjusts exposure and white balance and enables functions like low-light or face detection. The HM-TA20 sports a nice, if limited, range of creative effects: black and white, sepia and skin tone smooth.
A satisfactory rather than outstanding performer
Video quality is not outstanding but certainly acceptable. The camera features decent electronic image stabilisation with well-controlled judder that enables capture of fast moving subjects and delivers smooth panning. Colours are quite vibrant and the monochrome modes appear well contrasted.
The actual videos are not always super sharp but there is sufficient level of detail and a pleasant overall result. Underwater the HM-TA20 does not deliver a particularly distinctive image quality. When you are quite close to the subject it can be quite clear and detailed but at a distance it becomes foggy and loses contrast and depth. I found it near impossible to use the zoom without producing unacceptable shake.
Battery life is not a particularly strong point but allows you to get through a day or two of occasional recording. In the box are some handy accessories including a tiny but useful mini tripod and a stylus pen for operating the touchscreen with gloves. Even so, these are hardly enough to make up for the cost, which depending on which Panasonic link you click on is either £160 or £180. This pricetag is a bit steep compared to cheaper waterproof offerings in the Kodak PlaySport range, when the only main difference is the touchscreen.
The Panasonic HM-TA20 is far from faultless and suffers from a chunky design and poorly implemented software. Still, if you have kids, are into water sports or just need a survive-all camcorder to take on holiday with you, it can be a reliable companion for your trips and is capable of producing decent looking videos and, if you shop around, can be found at a reasonable price. ®
Catherine Monfils is a professional photographer specialising in portraiture, lifestyle and fashion.
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Panasonic HM-TA20 underwater camcorder
3m - no thanks
That is less than a shallow dive with a snorkel.
If it was 10 I would have bought it straight away.
Three? What's the point? That's not for diving, that is for dipping in a puddle while pretending to do "extreme" sports.
[deliberately ignores troll face]
Good luck getting a capacitive touch screen to work under water.
Was the girl swimming underwater looking for her bikini top?
+1 there. 3m is not even the deep end in most swimming pools.Snorkelling, 3m is not even trying.
I'm not any kind of expert, but I've been down to 12m just on a good deep breath. I know it was 12m bcos the boat had a depth sounder on it. My mum dropped a shoe over the stern while we were moored and muggins volunteered to go retrieve it. (Memo: If you drop something slightly floaty, reach for it straight away. Don't flap around like a demented chicken, shouting "oh no, I've dropped it, I've dropped it", while it slowly sinks out of easy reach...)
There are *so* many waterproof cameras that are *so* much cheaper than this. Most are probably not great quality, but I'd rather use something that started life as a proper camera, instead of a half-arsed attempt derived from a cheapjack phone. Or buy a waterproof case for whatever camera you've got - plenty of good waterproof cases for cheaper than this PoS.
Beer icon, bcos I wouldn't trust this gadget in a pint glass, never mind anything deeper.
That's not underwater, that's splashproof. depth is sorted by pressure isn't it? Moving the thing underwater will generate more pressure than holding it still, so you'll be lucky with a puddle. Get an proper enclosure for your existing camera.