Panasonic is widely known for making quality professional camcorders that many independent filmmakers use today. But that is not the only category that Panasonic wishes to be known for. They want to reach out to all audiences by breaking down their large array of models into five basic categories. One of the categories is exploring the 3D realm while the two other categories are for high-definition enthusiasts. The two other categories are cheaper and focus more on portability. It is not wise to go for these budget categories if you want to preview your videos on high-definition displays. If you insist on saving as much money as possible, the least you can do is go for the 1MOS HD camcorders and fortunately this is a good time to get one because Panasonic is adding several new models to this category including the Panasonic HDC-TM40.
Design and Interface
For an HD camera, the Panasonic HDC-TM40 is very light weighing just over 200 grams and that already includes both the supplied battery and the optional SD card. This allows for much easier handling when taking video and makes it more travel friendly when you need to go to distant places and shoot HD quality video. Small camcorders like the HDC-TM40 are also ideal if you want to shoot for extended periods of time. In terms of design, it is also a simpler camcorder to use. You can always check out the 2.7-inch wide LCD display to access the interface or play back video that you previously recorded.
Although there are a few nice Panasonic offerings in the 1MOS category, the HDC-TM40K is out to bring you some decent improvements to your zooming features. With a 16.8x optical zoom, you can actually zoom into the action without worrying about detail degradation which happens when you use digital zoom. You can also eliminate blurring by taking advantage of its built-in Power Optical Image Stabilizer. Taking footage when zooming requires some steady hands but this feature adds some tolerance. The zooming features are so good that you can shoot some nice tele-macro close-up shots. You can be 50 cm away from your subject and use the magnification settings so you can find that perfect focus. Turning the tele-macro setting is vital so your subject will not appear blurry.
The Panasonic HDC-TM40 has another mode called Soft Skin Mode which applies a soft focus whenever it detects skin tones as opposed to applying the effect in the background when tele-macro is activated. It is an ideal function to use if you want to take away some of the emphasis on blemishes without affecting the rest of the footage. In addition to this mode, you can select from a number of other modes that help optimize the footage. The Scene Mode helps you greatly by letting the device decide which is best so you won’t have to manually set the aperture and shutter speeds for different situations and locations. Scene modes include Sports, Low Light, Spot Light, Portrait, Sunset, Beach, Scenery, Night Scenery, and several others.
The HDC-TM40 is pretty generous with storage options starting with a 16 GB offering for its internal memory. This is enough to record a couple hours of high-quality HD video or more time for lower quality video. Plus if you run out of space, you can still insert an SD card in the slot to literally expand its storage capabilities. Since this is a part of the 2011 lineup of Panasonic models, the HDC-TM40 also brings support for not only SDHC cards but the much newer SDXC cards. This lets you add 32 GB capacities and even higher when newer capacities in that standard are released.
You won’t find many extra features with this device since this is part of the low-end spectrum but you may find some enjoyment in taking 2.1-megapixel still images. The quality is quite comparable to a mobile phone but you still get the advantage of being able to take snapshots while you are in a recording session. You can also active the Night Portrait scene mode which is an exclusive still image scene mode.
One of the feats that the Panasonic HDC-TM40 attained is its light weight. In fact, Panasonic is considering this particular model as one of the lightest camcorder models ever. This is definitely achievement especially since it can record HD video with decent zoom features and the $400 price tag sounds reasonable as well.
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