Panasonic HDC-HS100 high-definition video camera

Panasonic HDC-HS100 high-definition video camera

Cool Yule Rating: 5 stars

Price: $1,299.95

Product Web site

Description: The Panasonic HDC-HS100 is an impossibly small high definition video camera that records video directly to an internal 60 GB hard disk. With its battery, the camera weighs in at just under 1 pound, making it comfortable to hold for long periods of time.

The camera records in high definition at 1920 by 1080 resolution with 12x optical zoom, so the quality is fantastic. Like many video recorders, it offers two ways to record and playback video – LCD and through the eye lens. The LCD rotates in several ways, making it a convenient option if you don’t feel like holding the camera up to your eye all day.

For such a small camera, the HS100 offers a tremendous amount of technology. There are a variety of ways to transfer video and sound, including HDMI and USB. In addition, you can play back video and sound on a standard or HD television via included component cables. The included remote control is a nice touch, making it easy and convenient to preview recorded scenes before transferring them to your computer. You can also do this using SD cards, but in all likelihood, you’ll need a pretty big card to transfer anything over. Having an SC card slot is more useful for still picture, which the camera supports, but for video the USB port method is most convenient.

The camera comes with software designed to transfer everything to your computer, edit clips, etc. The software works well, but was much slower than I expected. In order to transfer anything to your computer, it's necessary to remove the battery from the camera, as the USB port resides behind the battery (as does the HDMI). I was a bit annoyed by this initially, but it didn't take long to get over that and appreciate that Panasonic was able to cram so many ports onto this small camera. Also, Panasonic designed the battery pack to power the camera while the battery is removed while simultaneously charging the battery. This was highly convenient – if you're going to remove the battery to reach the ports, at least you can still recharge it!

Another nice feature was how the camera created thumbnails for videos for viewing on the LCD. In the old days, to watch videos on the camera you would have to rewind or fast forward and hope you landed in the appropriate spot. With the HS100, the camera creates thumbnails for each recorded clip, so if you have a bunch of short clips, each one will be represented by a thumbnail to choose from, an easier way to find the clip you want to show off to the grandparents.

The Panasonic HDC-HS100 video camera is an awesome answer to all your video needs. It is highly recommended if you’re in the market for an HD video camera.

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