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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Canon Vixia HF S100 Comparison

The Sony HDR-XR520V is a solid camcorder and it put up similar numbers to the Panasonic HDC-HS300 in our testing. The Sony didn't fair nearly as well in low light sensitivity or bright light color, but it did have lower noise levels than the Panasonic and nearly identical video sharpness. The optical image stabilization worked very well on both camcorders and each camcorder includes an electronic viewfinder in addition to an LCD screen. The Sony does offer more storage space with its 240GB internal hard drive, but the 120GB drive featured on the Panasonic HDC-HS300 is also quite sizable.

The real difference between the two camcorders comes down to manual controls. The Sony HDR-XR520V doesn't allow for direct control over shutter speed, aperture, gain, and audio levels—each of which can be manipulated on the Panasonic HDC-HS300. The Panasonic also has a 24p recording option, which is absent on the HDR-XR520V. Both camcorders have well-implemented tools for making manual adjustments (a lens ring on the Panasonic and a control dial on the Sony), but its the amount of controls that are absent on the Sony that will likely scare off some would-be consumers.

Both camcorders utilize LCD touchscreen systems and offer a number of automatic controls that are simple to use. The iA features on the Panasonic HDC-HS300, however, bring automated controls to a whole new level. The AF/AE tracking, as well as its one touch spot focus and exposure features are impressive and useful for beginners. We also found the Panasonic to have simpler menus and more tools geared towards giving assistance to novice camcorder users. The Sony, on the other hand, does feature a large, 3.2-inch LCD screen, which may be something that is very attractive to beginners.

Overall, the Panasonic is the clear winner here. Both camcorders did very well in our testing, but the enhanced set of manual controls on the HDC-HS300, as well as its simpler design for beginners, gives it the edge.

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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