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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Color

The Panasonic HDC-HS300 measured very accurate colors in our bright light testing. The camcorder registered a color error of 3.5 and a saturation level of 97%. Both of these scores are top-notch and they are statistically identical to the color errors we measured on the Canon HF S100 and Sanyo VPC-HD2000. More on how we test color.

In the color error map above (on the right) you can see how accurately the HDC-HS300 reproduced each color from our color test chart. The camcorder did very well with most colors, although browns and reds weren't as accurate as blues and greens. The 97% saturation level produced by the camcorder makes for deep, vivid colors in bright light. In the picture adjust section of the menu, the HDC-HS300 does allow for some adjustment to color gain (on a -5 to +5 scale). The test images below show how these adjustments to color gain will alter the video image.

In the images above, you can see how much setting the color gain to -5 really desaturates the colors on the HDC-HS300. Comparatively, bumping the gain up to +5 makes everything more vivid. A -5 to +5 scale for color gain doesn't give you loads of control, but it is a very good feature to have on a consumer camcorder.

All the camcorders in this comparative set have very good color accuracy at bright light. Of the group, only the Sony HDR-XR520V didn't put up stellar numbers in this test. The Sony also showed a darker, less saturated image than the rest of the competition. Looking at the close-up color comparisons below, you can see how much darker the Sony is compared to the Panasonic HDC-HS300, Canon HF S100, and Sanyo VPC-HD2000.

Like we said, all the camcorders in this group are very good bright light performers. Even though the Sony HDR-XR520V didn't do as well as the rest, it still captured very good colors. The Panasonic HDC-HS300, along with the Canon HF S100 and Sanyo VPC-HD2000, is one of the best bright-light color performers we've tested this year.

Low Light Color

The Panasonic HDC-HS300 had good color accuracy in our low light testing, although the results were fairly average compared to the rest of the competition. The camcorder measured a color error of 5.2 in low light, with a saturation of 64.25%. In our low light color test, the HS300's image looked very similar to that of the Sony HDR-XR520V and Canon HF S100. More on how we test low light color.

In the diagram above, you can see that the camcorder had more trouble with certain blues and purples than anything else. Still, a 5.2 color error in low light is quite good. You can see from our test image that the camcorder still has a decently bright image in low light and colors are still vibrant and strong. Below are low light comparisons with the other models in this group.

The Sanyo VPC-HD2000 clearly has the brightest image out of this set. As a result, its colors are also the most accurate. To some, the Sanyo's colors could appear too saturated, but that is entirely a matter of opinion. Both the Sony HDR-XR520V and Canon HF S100 measured a color error roughly on par with the Panasonic HDC-HS300.

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Noise

Panasonic camcorders have been measuring fairly low noise levels in our testing this year and the HDC-HS300 is no different. In our bright light test, the camcorder averaged 0.43% noise. This is a very good performance and it comes in right on the heels of the Sony HDR-XR520V, which measured 0.37% noise. Both the Canon HF S100 and Sanyo VPC-HD2000 did significantly worse in this test. More on how we test noise.

In the close-up comparisons above, you can see the level of detail offered by each camcorder in our bright light testing. Both the Sony HDR-XR520V and Canon HF S100 have a slightly sharper image than the Panasonic HDC-HS300, but all the camcorders in this set look very good in bright light.

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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