The first compact camcorders introduced by the top manufacturers made a great impression by consumers for their design but were put off for their mediocre performance and high price tag. Several changes were made to these compact device throughout the years with the most notable being the implemented HD capabilities. The Panasonic HDC-SD600 is one of the newer models that impresses with full HD specifications. But with many more 1080p models in the pipeline, Panasonic needs to prove that they are ready to face the competition with the HDC-SD600 and related models.
Design & Interface
The Panasonic HDC-SD600 is finely crafted to resemble larger pricier models, but the small design makes it easier to use. It is not the flagship model making it a better choice for those that are getting accustomed to digital camcorders. Unlike the high-end HDC-HS700, there are less manual controls on the device to avoid confusion and weighs a bit lighter for easier handling.
The display that measure 2.7-inches makes it a bit smaller than the HS700 model but it still manages to squeeze in 230,400 dots. The touchscreen is a bit fiddly but the overall user interface isn’t really that bad. This minor change contributes to the better battery life of around 110 minutes.
Although the HDC-SD600 is supposed to be recognized as a stripped down and lower cost version of the HS700, the SD600 surprisingly retains some of the internals including the triple-CMOS sensor array. It also has the same optics and 35mm lens which is needed to produce some highly-detailed footage. Even the still images look nice with support for up to 14.2 megapixels. The 12x optical zoom also provides a great deal of flexibility. Since it uses the same image processing technologies including the Advanced 3MOS System, Crystal Engine PRO, and Leica Dicomar Lens, the overall quality is comparable to the pricier HS700 model. These technologies translate to higher sensitivity and better noise reduction. There is only very little room for improvement in color accuracy, but that can be solved by editing the video.
The Panasonic HDC-SD600 brings convenience to inexperienced camcorder users that have difficulty in keeping the camcorder still with the POWER O.I.S. technology. This is an optical image stabilization technology that fixes the blur problems even if high zoom levels are used. Older models had this technology as well, but the HDC-SD600 vastly improves it. This technology also includes the “Active Mode” which is best for doing some recording while the user is moving. The clear footage is retained unlike older models.
On the HD side, the HDC-SD600 comes out strong 1080/60p progressive recording support. Although these types of videos are a bit difficult to edit, some of the benefits of progressive recording include a lack of color bleeding, blur elimination for fast-moving subjects, and greater image density.
“Next to or better than the broadcast quality videos. Words can’t explain how good the video shot at 1080/50p. Colours are very real. I have owned 3 camcorders in the past from Sony and Canon and I would say this at 100 times better. Seeing is believing, go for it.” – R.Cherian (UK)
The iA or “Intelligent Auto” setting makes a return in automatically picking the optimal settings for the current shooting conditions. Even the required functions are activated to make sure the recording looks natural. This feature can be applied for taking still photos as well. Specific to the Panasonic HDC-SD600 and other 2010 models is the added “Face Recognition” feature, which complements iA feature. This feature allows subjects to be registered so they can later be identified immediately when the subject is range. These faces are tracked even when moving as long as the subject stays in the LCD frame. Its memory can hold up to six faces and can display names of up to three different people simultaneously.
Compared to the HDC-HS700, the main thing that is lacking in the Panasonic HDC-SD600 is the built-in storage. This means that the only way in keeping the high-definition video is to use an SD card. Using a high-capacity SD card is recommended to record videos in the best quality possible as it supports very high bit rates of up to 28 Mbps. The overall performance is highly impressive for a model that costs under $800. Some online stores may even sell it for as low as $600. One thing to note is that it does not include an HDMI cable for viewing video on the high-definition display. Other than that, it is a great camera for beginners and is backed with some attractive features.
More user reviews:
• “I bought this camcorder after seeing the reviews on the internet. Although a bit more expensive than usual, I wanted something that would be futureproof so I could record my son’s sports day and play back when he’s older. Playing back on my Samsung HDTV, the picture is absolutely stunning and I found the camcorder not only small enough to fit in my pocket, but really easy to use. Would definitely recommend to others.” – T.Shipton (UK)
• “The Panasonic SD600 is a brillant product. Full HD is really superb on a Panasonic TV. The lens is extremely sharp and the detail and colour reproduced is excellent. The camera is easy to operate although I am not a great fan of touch screens but I am getting used to it. This is probably the best and most satisfying product I have bought for a long time.” – I.Griffiths (London,UK)
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