Panasonic HDC-SD80K is an entry level camcorder primarily aimed at the videographers who have just started off with their journey of capturing videos and clicking stills. At less than 200 USD, it is certainly one of the most affordable camcorders out there in the market or available online.
[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B004I43MH2″ locale=”us” height=”300″ src=”http://camcorderreviews.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Products63455-1300×1300-498375-300×300.jpg” width=”300″]In this review, we will talk about the experience before talking about the features since it is not a high end camcorder and experience and the ease of use is what matters the most for people who have just started using video cameras. Panasonic HDC-SD80K is an extremely lightweight camcorder. The sleek and small size easily fits into the palm and can even be conveniently used by teenagers. This makes a single hand handling absolutely easy. If you are using the strap to hold the camcorder firmly in your palms then the video turn on and off may be a bit difficult in case you have not used too many video cameras. You must try not to use the strap for the first few days or use the other hand to turn it on and off and it should work fine. Gradually one can get accustomed with this. The Panasonic camcorder is easy to use and is not overloaded with knobs and buttons and the manual is pretty well detailed. Most people would not need the manual at all.
The LCD of the Panasonic HDC-SD80K Camcorder is bright with a good quality display. Some may find it low on functions but without all the extensive display icons, the LCD looks rather neat and easy to maneuver. The LCD is a touch screen which is not found always in entry level camcorders.
Panasonic HDC-SD80K employs the CMOS technology and comes in with a 42x zooming and a 33.7 mm wide angle lens. The latter certainly offers a wide enough frame if you want to pull in a few extra people or cover a large area without panning. Most people do not like panning entry level digital cameras since they offer a lot more haze than high end digital cameras or analog video cameras. The model is available in black, red and silver so young adults and teenagers are going to love the choices.
Among the features, the Optical Image Stabilizer is amazing given the price range. The Hybrid Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS) in the Panasonic HDC-SD80K camcorder allows you to capture high quality images and videos even at the highest zoom levels. It is natural that slight movements create a huge effect when you zoom in any camcorder but with the Panasonic camcorder there is a Optical Image Stabilizer lock on the LCD screen itself which can be clicked and the integrated feature would lock the frame instantaneously. It is especially great considering most people who would use this camcorder would not be veterans or professionals and such a feature would certainly allow much greater quality pictures without the blurs and the shakes. The Intelligent Resolution Technology in the Panasonic HDC-SD80K ensures that every image is full HD and that retains the natural hues of the object or your subjects.
The image and video quality is excellent and the good thing is that even if you watch the video on a comparatively larger screen, you still do not get grains, dark spots and blurs. What is a little more impressive is that the HDC-SD80K is significantly better compared to the earlier models from Panasonic such as the HDC-SD60 or the HDC-TM60 in all respects. The Zoom Mic is pleasantly surprising and coupled with the Wind Noise Canceller really allows you to capture the organic and natural sounds of your subjects and the ambience even from a distance.
There are enough scene modes to experiment with and also a Macro feature. While all the conventional scene modes such as Sports, Portrait, Snow, Beach, Sunset and the likes can be used for either still or motion images, the Low Light mode can only be used for motion images while the Night Portrait is only usable for still images. That is not something any photographer or user of the Panasonic HDC-SD80K would mind. Besides the Tele Macro feature the camcorder also has a Soft Skin Mode which works great to reduce the focus on skin tones. This is especially helpful when you are shooting outdoors and the sunlight can create a burning and overexposure effect in the images and videos.
The 16 GB internal memory is impressive and there is an option to upgrade it to 32 GB. At the initial stages the 16 GB sounds good enough since most of us today end up transferring the contents at the end of the day. The battery is certainly one of the best out there in its price range and compared to competitors with its ability to easily last for more than two hours of continuous use.
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