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Panasonic HDC-HS100 Review
Panasonic HDC-HS100 HD camcorder is an improvement over HDC-HS9 which has poor image quality. The $1300 HDC-HS100 has better image quality than HS9 but it still lags behind other camcorders in its class. The camcorder is a clear winner in its class if you can ignore the image quality.
The camcorder records HD videos in AVCHD format and saves them into 60GB hard drive. The videos can be recorded at four different quality settings with highest setting at 17-mbps, and resolution of 1920×1080. The hard drive can hold 7.5 hours long video at highest resolution settings. The device also supports recording to SD/SDHC cards.
The HS100 senses images with three high quality 1/6-inch CMOS chips. The HD image quality of HS100 is better than the image quality of HS9 with better color contrast and better resolution. But you can still see some extraneous noise with over saturated colors. The low-light performance is almost similar to HS9’s performance as you will see noticeable amount of noise with lack of sharpness. The overall image quality shows much improvement over HS9’s image quality but it still lags behind the performance of other HD camcorders. The videos and still images show less resolution and color accuracy than other HD camcorders but the performance is not that bad.
Other than the average image quality, using the camcorder is a pleasure. The amateurs will definitely like the automatic mode which optimizes the camera settings according to the environment. However, the array of manual controls allows the experienced users to change the settings like optical zoom, white balance, aperture settings and shutter. The manual controls are arranged in a ring encircling the lens. Other features include viewfinder, headphone/microphone jack and accessory shoe. The camcorder has a lens with 12xzoom, optical image stabilizer, autofocus, and 2.7-inch LCD screen with a battery life of 2 hours. A tiny joystick control lies on the right side of the camera, the HDMI port, USB and DC power ports lie behind the battery.
The HS100 comes with HD Writer 2.6E for editing bit it is limited to Windows only. The iMovie 2008 is required to edit the AVCHD video on Mac platform. You also need a Core 2 Duo or faster processor to edit the videos.
The HDC-HS100 lags behind its competitors such as Sony Handycam HDR-SR12 and Canon Vixia HF10. But it provides better handling and usability than the two. If you put the images aside, HDC-HS100 is much better than its competitors.