This year’s high definition camcorder line from Panasonic is becoming more and more popular with the enticing Panasonic HDC-SD80 as a perfect example of quality and features. With features such as Intelligent Zoom, HYBRID O.I.S, a wide angle 33.7mm lens, Wind Noise Canceller, Zoom Mic and the price line coming in very close to its little brother the HDC-SD40, this camcorder is worth a second look.
Panasonic is focusing on the HDC-SD80 as a high-end camcorder while keeping the price tag in the mid-range of their 2011 series of video cameras. Although each camcorder looks very similar, the features do set them apart. When choosing a camcorder, the key is to focus on features that will really help you achieve a more pleasurable experience when using your camcorder.
The camcorders Panasonic’s HD 80 series offer 42x ultra-telephoto zooming with the Intelligent Zoom function. They also feature the Hybrid Optical Image Stabilizer (O.I.S.) for well-defined, blur-free zooming. The main differentiator between each of the HD 80 models (HS80, TM80, and the SD80) is the media use to store your videos. The first model, the HDC-HS80, provides you with a ton of storage with an on-board 120GB hard disc drive and you can use the SD cards, too. The middle model, the HDC-TM80, doesn’t have the hard disc drive, but does come with 16GB of flash memory and optional SD memory cards. The third model, HDC-SD80, uses memory card recording exclusively, plus your choice of SDXC/SD/SDHC cards.
Comparing the Panasonic HDC-SD80 to the HDC-SD40
While the HDC-SD80 looks very similar to the HDC-SD40 they are very different camcorders. The HD 40 series is more of an entry-level camcorder for people wanting to see if video recordings are something they like using. The HD HDC-SD80 camera has high-end nearly professional level capabilities.
If you lift the SD40, you’ll notice that it is extremely light even with a battery installed, 213grams. This lightweight feature is most appealing to people wanting to step-up their recording capabilities from the lightweight web-style flip camcorders. Once you pop on your SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards to either camera you’ll be recording in 1920 x 1080 high-definition. While it is a bit heavier than the SD40, the SD80 is very easy to handle and weighs well under 1 lb, even with the battery installed.
Another big difference between the SD40 and the HDC-SD80 is that the lightweight SD40 can only zoom to 16.8x as compared to the SD80’s ability to zoom to 42x with Intelligent Zoom. The Intelligent Zoom gives you ultra-sharp images without any blurring. That said, the SD40s zoom shots are clear, it just has more limited zoom capabilities.
When looking at the HDC-SD80 for the first time, you will see the excellent ergonomic qualities right away. This camcorder is sleek and easy to handle like all of this year’s Panasonic camcorders. The developers spent a lot of time in this area making sure the user experience would be exciting and pleasurable at the same time. Because the HDC-SD80 camcorder is light, it’s easy to hold for long periods of time and a perfect fit for even small hands. Naturally, Panasonic has included a support strap on the right side to help stabilize your camera during photo sessions, as well as to help keep you from dropping it.
Reviewing and editing your movies recorded to the HDC-SD80 is easy. Use the Advanced Highlight Playback feature to select the days of recording you want to view. You use this function to select your favorite scenes, arrange them in any order and then play the scenes back to music. The SD80 can play back in slow motion, do still image fade-out and flash playback.
Panasonic has made sharing movies easy. Just plug in your SD80 to your HDTV with the VIERA Link cable and sit back to enjoy your personally directed HD movie. Facebook and YouTube are great ways to share your video memories, too. This is easy to do simply by connecting the camcorder to your PC with a USB cable, then using the HD Writer AE software to upload the video data to your PC. Then you edit it until you are ready to post the video to one of these online services.
The LDC touch screen for the SD80 is 2.7 inches wide with good viewing quality. Another nice feature is the Face Recognition function. This feature can identify the faces of subjects in your viewing frame and then automatically adjust the focus and exposure for those faces. This auto-focus really makes using the HDC-SD80 user friendly. No fumbling around trying to focus on your subject while filming.
Along with the 1920 x 1080 high-definition recording capabilities, the HDC-SD80 offers a 42x zoom in conjunction with the Hybrid Optical Image Stabilizer (HYBRID O.I.S.) Here’s what this O.I.S. does for you. When zooming in, you get a clearer sharper image without image instability, and it preserves image resolution in the process. If you have ever had a problem when recording video because of little shakes here and there, problem solved. With the image stabilizer system, the blurring that occurs with the slight tremble of your hand or movement of your arm is eliminated. Using the O.I.S. lock allows you to take those very difficult shots you sometimes have to make by using maximum zoom. On most camcorders you will lose image integrity, but not with HDC-SD80. On maximum zoom your recording quality is excellent. This creates a perfect zoom-in video every time.
The Crystal Engine Pro will your camcorder to instantly process large amounts of data which in turn provides you with excellent detail, higher-resolutions, picture noise reduction, and enhanced full HD quality.
The camcorder has excellent wide-angle functions too. The picture quality is perfect with the wide angle 33.7mm; you can now fit all those items in the background that you had to leave out before. The Crystal Engine Pro is the brains behind all this processing power the HDC-SD80 provides.
If you want to take still photos you can. The HDC-SD80 allows still picture recording with a 3.0 megapixel resolution and you have the ability to capture stills from recorded video as well. You also have various recording modes that allow that perfect mode for recording. One mode in particular is the Soft Skin Mode. This feature allows the camcorder to automatically detect skin tone, and in the process softens the picture, this allows forgiveness in picture quality.
The sound quality in the HDC-SD80 is excellent with the 2-channel stereo speakers built in and the HDMI mini out – for your HDTV viewing pleasure. You also get the Wind Noise Canceller feature which automatically cancels wind noises when recording on breezy days, as well as the Zoom Mic option that provides you the ability to focus your sound recording in a centralized manner.
Panasonics HDC-SD80 camcorder records stunning 1920 x 1080 HD videos offering incredible 42x zoom with great still shots at 3.0 megapixel resolution.
• The strongest zoom capabilities at 42x of this year’s Panasonic line of cameras.
• The Hybrid O.I.S. a huge help for any video photographer.
• Great still pictures, so you can leave your old digital at home and just use the SD80 for stills and video.
• It is expected to be around $600-$1,000 less than the Panasonic Advanced 3MOS 3D high-definition models.
• You will have to keep a selection of SD flash memory cards available to swap out as the SD80 doesn’t come with a hard disc drive.
• This camera records video in 2-dimensions as there are no 3-dimensional (3D) recording capabilities.
Unless you need the super high-end features of the HDC-xx800/xx900 camcorders you will get a ton of powerful features when you buy the Panasonic HDC-SD80 camcorder. The ultra-zoom features of this camera really make it a standout amongst all of Panasonic’s camcorders. The HDC-SD80 gives those with a modest budget, a lot of camera. For this reason the HDC-SD80 is an excellent choice.
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