Back in 2009, Panasonic exceeded expectations when they released the powerful but surprisingly compact Panasonic HDC-TM300. These cameras sold rather well and people still get them today because provide the Full HD experience and cost a bit lower. However, 1080p resolutions are becoming more important since more people are upgrading to large HDTV displays since the HDTV prices are going down too. The only disadvantage of constantly recording HDTV quality video is that it takes up more space. This is just one of the reasons why Panasonic released an improved model which is known as the Panasonic HDC-TM350 Twin Media HD camcorder.
Design and Interface
Users of the original HDC-TM300 will notice that the only difference is the slate grey color on the exterior so it stands out from the other models. Since the HDC-TM350 uses flash memory instead of a hard disk, the HDC-TM350 is smaller and lighter making it more accessible for beginners and professionals alike. Most of the controls including the manual focus control are found on the left of the camcorder. It has a 2.7-inch Wide LCD display with a 230,400 viewable pixels. The touch screen is not responsive at times, but the sufficient amount of manual controls and good quality viewfinder make this good camcorder to use.
“Great product. Everything I had hoped for. You can pull the videos off in .MTS format and import them to video editing software or convert them to other formats like MP4 for uploading to the web or loading into iTunes. Amazing HD picture quality. I was deciding between this and a Flip Video device. I wanted quality over portability, and definitely made the right choice.” – D.Hamiton (VA,USA)
The main thing that separates itself from the HDC-TM300 is the internal memory. The internal memory is doubled to 64 GB of memory which allows longer HD video recording sessions. It also means that more clips can be stored before there is a need to delete or transfer them to a computer or external media. This is also good considering the fact that it uses flash memory which contributes to better battery life, improved data protection since there is no moving parts, and faster overall performance when transferring or processing data. Even if Full HD settings used, the internal memory of the HDC-TM350 can hold up to 9 hours of footage. Those that require even more storage space can quickly insert an SD or SDHC memory card so the HDC-TM350 can save recordings and images there.
Other specifications remain the same such as the 10.6-megapixel sensor and 12x zoom which is suitable for various occasions. Like other Panasonic digital camcorders, the HDC-TM350 uses the multi-coated Leica Dicomar Lens which provide amazing image quality through the 2-stage neutral density filter. These specifications also show that the Panasonic HDC-TM350 is good for taking still photos. Its high definition qualities are powered by the 3MOS System which does a decent job in rendering the differences between light and dark areas while enhancing the color quality.
The HDC-TM350 also improves on the Advanced Optical Image Stabilization which fixes those problems where the hands shake while using. There is an extra optical image stabilization setting called the Active Mode which can help people that frequently walk while recording. The original mode is still available for still recording. The low light performance is improved as well and that is not a weak area of the HDC-TM300.
The Manual Ring opens up a lot of possibilities for professionals to get the right focus and zoom level. Using this ring is easy and the menu screen puts the most important options into view. Various parameters can be adjusted as well like the White Balance and Shutter Speed. Very high shutter speeds can be set to capture high-speed action shots. Most of these features are only usable when using the electronic viewfinder.
The HDC-TM350 also has features that amateurs will like starting with the iA (Intelligent Auto) setting which overcomes those problems with the backlighting. With this activated, visuals end up being sharper with the right exposure. It works with the AF Tracking feature so subjects are constantly locked so they receive the sharp enhancements. The On-Screen Assist Zebra Pattern can also assist with the lighting so users can adjust the brightness level and histogram manually so the pattern does not look over-exposed. The Time Lapse Recording function can also be used for prolonged recording of up to 12 hours and the added memory makes this feature even more useful.
Unfortunately, the HDC-TM350 is a limited edition but there are still online places that sell the upgraded camcorder for about $1,500 which is just a few dollars more than the HDC-TM300. The high and speedy capacity means that HD video can be used far more often than standard formats. This means that all types of users can make use of the full quality while professionals can have fun with the manual features for even more creative shooting.
More user reviews:
• “I got to tell you that if you are looking for the best camcorder ever created by Panasonic this is the one! The low light is the best on the market, sound quality insuperable, very portable, and easy to use. The only criticism I have is with the included software because it’s too basic for editing & only helpful for transferring data to your PC, this is why I’m giving only 4 stars to it.” – A.Ascanio (USA)
• “This HD Camcorder seems to be a little bit better in every aspect compared with the previous model (HDC-TM300) plus twice the Flash Memory capacity is just what everybody needs during these days of less free time to be downloading things to the PC every week or so, the 64GB give you the possibility of recording for 8 hours in the highest picture quality or more than 24 consecutive hours in standard definition. The finish of the cables, charger and the camcorder itself are better, the editing software (HD Writer AE 1.5) is more efficient, the USB cable is superior, and the O.I.S button is in better position and has 2 modes with some improvements. I assure you this will be rated the 2010 Camcorder of the Year once it arrives officially to the USA market. “ – A.S.Teran (USA)
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