Monday, June 18, 2012

Quck Look At Panasonic HC-V10

I'm reading, looking and lifting under the hood but I still have questions about this camcorder. What got my attention about Panasonic HC-V10 was the 70x optical zoom. Yeah, I'm zoom happy. Have tripod and will use it to get the shot I want.

The thing, is that 70x optical zooms are generally found on standard definition camcorders. You might see 10x or 35x optical zoom on consumer high definition camcorders but not 70x optical zoom. It is getting better but this doesn't feel right.

At the MSRP price of $250 and selling around the $170 in retail something doesn't ring true.  I'm going to strap on my metaphorical deerstalker cap and see what's up.

More info at Specs Page

A Look At The  Relevant Specs

Image Sensor Size 1/5.8
Total Available Pixels 1.5 megapixels

Per the specs on the web site:

Motion Image     0.56 - 0.44 megapixels [16:9]

Whoop, there it is. My older Canon FS200 standard definition camcorder has 680k.  The image sensor is about the same size too.

Optical Zoom - The actual is 63x and, as suspected, the 70x optical zoom is probably a digital zoom overlay of some kind.

HD Video Format     MP4 and it can also save video in the iFrame format which would be good for Mac users wanting to see video on the iPad.

Frame Rate(s)     60p, 30p
Manual Aperture     Yes
Manual Shutter Speed     Yes
Manual White Balance     Yes
Auto / Easy Mode     Yes

So this is a high definition camcorder that records video equal to or less than a standard definition camcorder?  That makes no sense. Yet, I give you the ocular proof. Check out this video from YouTube user torker24

Not sharp. Not clear. Some pixlation. 

I suspect...(sniff sniff) software interpolation is being used. .What is worse is that it is upconverting from standard definition to a psudeo HD video.

Interpolation is when you take an image or a video and though a software algorithm cause it to go up (theoretically) to the next resolution. I say theoretically because what works on paper does not work with the human eye. 

You can't mathematically add more pixels that what was originally recorded. Not today anyway. What you do get is mushy, pixelated and not worth the price of a 1280 x 720p camcorder.

With this camcorder you would have to downshift to widescreen standard definition to get a good recording. That isn't what you paid for. In effect, people who purchase this camcorder are not getting HD video. 

Panasonic isn't the first manufacturer to do this. I have my beloved JVC GZ-HM30US that upscales to 1080p. I don't record in 1080p on that camcorder because it would look bad. 720p is fine for web video but it is actually high def 720p, not a software interpretation of HD.

I didn't mind because I got it for $125 and I knew what I was buying.There are people buying this camcorder who don't know how bad the video will display on a HD television or even being seen on web video.

Tsk, tsk and for shame.

Oh Panny...

I have Panasonic camcorders. One of them is used for a backup to the backup camcorder. But affection cannot hide the truth. 

This is a compact camcorder and yes, it is simple to use.

I like that this camcorder has manual aperture, shutter speed and white balance. Optical image stabilization is good but when you engage zoom past 10x optical and beyond you need a tripod. With video quality this doggy you really would need to record in standard definition on a tripod to get the best quality.

All is not lost. Some of you are going to get this as a present.  If you can exchange it for something better please do so. Cuz this is not worth $160. You can get better camcorders.

If you can't exchange it then I would do a breath of acceptance then check out software like vReveal. It might help but I don't think so.

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