The Panasonic DMC-XS1 is a point and shoot camera that records in 720p, is about as thin as a phone and the price point is very affordable to Frugalistas.
I'm not in lust with it but I do like it. First, let's look at some of the video relevant specs:
Aperture is f/2.8 to f/6.9 This camera will do well in most daylight recording situations and okay indoors if there is enough light.
If you engage the telephoto lens the aperture/iris closes down to about f/6.9. If you are outside in bright sunlight not a real problem but indoors it could be an issue.
5x Optical Zoom, very acceptable for a camera this size and this thin. How thin?
Yes, that thin. This camera does have optical image stabilization for minor hand tremors but for long term recording you'll need a tripod or other type of support.
Focal Length - I normally don't mention focal length but this camera lens has the ability to record wide angle videos. The wide angle for video is 26mm to 130mm for telephoto. If you are into real estate photography, nature, architectural videos or you are taking video of the team this rascal can do it.
Recording Media is a Micro SDHC card. I have a box full of standard SDHC cards. I get grippy when I have to buy MicroSDHC cards.
Video Recording Format Motion JPEG in the QuickTime MOV format. Almost every video editor can accept the MOV format.
I did say almost.
Those of you using Windows Live Movie Maker and earlier versions of the videos editing software are going to have issues. Issues as in problems importing video. Windows Movie Maker cannot import MOV files. Windows Live Movie Maker can import .MP4 video but I have my doubts about MOVs.
You can record in 720p high definition or 480p standard definition down to old school 320 x 240. Please don't record in 320x240.
Audio records in Mono and if you use that zoom lens during recording it will pick up the sound of motion of the zoom. Which is why you don't want to zoom during a live recording.
Camera body comes in silver, black or red. The price points I have seen in local ads and the Internet is between $79 to $99 before tax.
So Who Is This Camera For?
To be honest, the specs read like 2011. Still, I think this could be attractive to folks that have a legitimate need for wide angle lens video recording.
I also think it is a functional day to day camera/camcorder without the bulk. If you don't want your phone to be your camera this is a good option.
If you are doing only web based video, can live with it recording in Motion JPEG/MOV then this is a good affordable camera.
Small size, 5x optical zoom and under $100.
I can't kick about it.
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