camcorders

Panasonic HDC-HS300 Camcorder Review

The Panasonic HDC-HS300 (MSRP 1399.99) is a first-class camcorder.

May 06, 2009
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Sanyo VPC-HD2000 Comparison

Canon's high end consumer camcorder, the HF S100, is another good comparison model to the Panasonic HDC-HS300. The Canon records solely to SD/SDHC and does not contain any internal storage media. For this reason, it is $300 cheaper than the Panasonic HDC-HS300, although the two models offer similar recording quality and control options. In our testing, the Canon HF S100 had better video sharpness and stronger still image performance than the HDC-HS300. The Panasonic, however, excelled in low light performance—specifically in low light sensitivity, which was not a strong point on the Canon HF S100.

The Canon HF S100 has quite a few manual controls. It offers a shutter priority and aperture-priority mode, auto gain control limiter, a few color and image controls, audio level adjustment, and a variety of manual focus assists. These controls can all be manipulated using a small control dial located on the front of the camcorder, which offers smooth, precise adjustment. The dial isn't quite as well-designed as the lens ring on the HDC-HS300, however, and the Panasonic includes more manual control options overall—including direct control over aperture, shutter speed, gain, and numerous audio controls. While both camcorders offer a 24p record mode (in addition to regular 60i), the Canon HF S100 also includes a 30p mode for a slightly different motion aesthetic. One big omission on the Canon HF S100 is its lack of an electronic viewfinder, which may be a deal-breaker for many old-school videographers.

These two camcorders are both very strong contenders in 2009. We feel the Panasonic offers an easier experience for beginners due to its iA touchscreen functions and its informative menu design, but the Canon may appeal to users that don't have an affinity for touchscreens. If you're planning on filming a lot in low light situations, the Panasonic HDC-HS300 has a clear edge over the Canon HF S100. The Canon, however, did show enhanced low light capabilities when shooting with its 24p and 30p frame rates. It is a tough choice between these two models, but our testing suggests that the edge goes to the Panasonic.

Canon also sells an HF S10, a model identical to the HF S100 except it includes 32GB of internal flash memory and costs $1299.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Product Tour
  3. Color Performance
  4. Low Light Performance
  5. Motion Performance
  6. Sharpness Performance
  7. Sample Videos
  8. Ease of Use
  9. Handling
  10. Controls
  11. Recording Options
  12. Hardware
  13. Other Features
  14. Sony HDR-XR520V Comparison
  15. Canon Vixia HF S100 Comparison
  16. Sanyo VPC-HD2000 Comparison
  17. Conclusion
  18. Photo Gallery
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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