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on April 5, 2013
I work with baseball players and bought this unit for its 60P capability and long zoom. The zoom is more like 58X or 62X, but that's still VERY powerful. The image quality is good, even at max zoom and the image stabilizer seems to work well. This video-camera also seems to work very well in lower light conditions (it's at least one stop better than my other cameras, I assume due to a bigger sensor). It has a full range of manual controls that seem to be available in all modes. It's also VERY small and light. Battery life on the included battery seems better than average (compared to my Canon HV-30).

The only downsides -- and the reason why I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 -- are that I literally can't buy another (or really two or three) battery for it, which is an issue for me because I am a semi-professional photographer and film entire baseball games and like to have 2 or 3 batteries in my bag just in case. Panasonic also charges a ridiculous amount for accessories like batteries and an external battery charger. They are pricing the camera low and then getting you with the accessories, so understand that the effective price of this camera is more like $500 or $600 if you need more than just what comes in the box.

P.S. The BIOS is buggy. I am getting increasing numbers of card write/read errors, despite using premium, high bit rate Sandisk cards.

P.P.S. The size of the sensor is quite small, due to the small size of the camera, so beware that the image won't scale well. That won't be an issue for most consumer users, but power users might notice some image quality problems if they try to blow up the image.
1414 comments| 93 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 1, 2013
I bought this camera for the sole purpose of recording soccer games. I am a high school coach and wanted my players to be able to watch themselves to see their positive attributes as well as some things to improve upon. Let me tell ya, I picked a great camera! The clarity of the picture is amazing! I had our team manager record the game without a tripod, and by watching the recording you'd never know.

I made sure to do my homework before investing in a camcorder. I looked at a lot of other cameras before purchasing this one. I went on Consumer Reports and it got "best buy" from consumer reports.
11 comment| 31 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 11, 2013
The Good:

I bought this primarily for the cool wifi feature that allows you to control it with your phone. I use video cameras for tennis matches and it is nice to be able to see what it sees from the ground. Also it has a cool feature that will keep the image level even if you have the camera skewed a bit. Those two features work as described however...

The Bad:
I bought this expecting it to have threads on the front to accept a wide angle. Unfortunately it has no threads. Of course this will not matter for 99% of consumers but if it does matter then you want to get the HC-V720 which will allow you to add another lens or filter. The V720 also has a better image sensor according to the review websites.
One other bad is the fact that right now there are no 3rd party batteries and the extended Panasonic one cost $125.00! Since the battery it comes with lasts only about an hour you should plan on adding another battery if you need to shoot for more than an hour.
11 comment| 23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 10, 2014
I have Canon, Sony and now this Panasonic HD camera. I agree with reviewers who say this Panasonic struggles a little in low light but I bought it to take to Kenya to shoot extreme long distance, be very compact in my camera bag or pocket,have an image stabilizer that works well, and get very good if not excellent daylight images.

This camera does it well and it also has an excellent wide angle. The colors are very true, the image is well stabilized but at the very long end it is slightly soft which you rarely notice. This is a small sacrifice considering most cameras don't come even close to the long range and I can get shots otherwise impossible.

One more point - it shoots 1080P but in tests I could not discern any difference between that and the highest 1080i so save your chip and battery on that one.
33 comments| 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 11, 2013
I was completely disappointed in this camera. All the reviews said it was the best way to go in my price range including Consumer Reports. However, I am completely underwhelmed. Here's my take:

1) Sharpness - Terrible. In the brightest light, it is average at best. For comparison, my Galaxy S3 is a sharper in bright light which is crazy. This was the #1 complaint in all the reviews out there and they are right. It just isn't sharp.

2) Low light - Bad. When the light goes down, the sensor struggles and you get a blurry and noisy video. I did a side by side with the Galaxy S3 and the S3 was MUCH, MUCH sharper in indoor lighting scenarios around the house.

3) Auto-Focus - Average? The reason I can't be sure of the quality of the auto-focus is because with it being so weak in terms of sharpness, how can I say how well it hit focus. It would hit focus if a face was in the frame and took up a good 25+% of the frame, but otherwise, it was just vague.

4) Image Stabilization - Decent. The feature definitely appeared to work pretty well. Hand shake is one of the main reasons I get annoyed shooting with a cell phone and this camera did a decent job handling this.

5) Sound - Decent. I'm not a sound expert, so I can't say how good it is compared to other cameras, but it seemed decent enough.

6) User Interface - Terrible. This touch interface infuriated me non-stop. If you want something more than the absolute bare bones minimum, this isn't the camera for you. It was just annoying to use in almost every way. It allowed me to pick my video type and review it, but everything was just a bit more annoying than it could have been.

7) Zoom - Great. This has a nice wide angle lens with plenty of zoom on the telephoto side. But why do I need a blurry 50x zoom? It will look awful.

Overall if you have a modern smartphone, this camera won't be an upgrade for you. I'm just so disappointed in what this camera brought to the table. Maybe I got a defective unit. For Panasonic's sake, I hope so as I just can't accept what I am seeing as what all these other people are considering to be "good."

Update: I also tried a Canon R400 for comparison. So far, I can say that the R400 has the Panasonic beat in every category except zoom. Canon is sharper in good light and is much better at autofocusing. The image stabilization seems to be a touch better than Panasonic although both were decent. The User Interface on the Canon is better for sure. The R400's wide angle is a bit lacking sadly. If Canon would get it closer to 32mm on the wide side instead of 38mm, it would be a great camera. There are some nice things about the Panasonic that you don't get in the Canon R400, but for the price gap, you would expect that.

To the manufacturers: Please stop shrinking the pixel size. We as consumers don't need 20MP stills from our video camera and 80x zoom. I know marketing loves to have the biggest numbers, but what we need and want is less noisy and sharper HD Video. Increase those sensor sizes!
11 comment| 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 16, 2013
My kids are in band and marching band, and last year I purchased the Panasonic HC-V10. I love the long zoom. It says "HD", but it's not (it's more like 480). I wanted to get an upgrade this year and decided on the V520 (80x) instead of the new V201 (only 38x). I still wanted the extra zoom. I need to purchase at least a 32GB card because of the larger files. The battery is also small, but you can buy extras. The part numbers are VW-VBT190 (which comes in the box) or VW-VBT380. I did a side by side test with the V10, and the V520 clarity at 80X is awesome! I am so excited to have this upgraded camera.

To be very clear, I am sure there are better cameras in the 1X to 16X range. I wanted to be able to zoom in on someone's face from at least 100 yards away. This will do it without having to do digital zoom. Also, the long optical zoom with the *optical* stabilization makes for a great hand held or monopod camera.

There are lots of other interesting features like the smartphone integration/remote viewing/remote control. But for me, long distance, stabilized, high def video is what I wanted. I upload to Youtube and share with the family and friends. It's perfect for what I need. As an added bonus, the stills are great. The V10 photos were .5 megapx (point five!) while the V520 is optical zoom and stabilized at 10 megapx. That makes for very useable long-range pics.
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on September 20, 2013
Easy to use with a powerful zoom lens. No write errors to date with over 20 hours of record time. Basic functions are intuitive and the 'advanced' manual (downloadable from the Panasonic website) is easy to follow and outlines many advanced settings and options.

Highly recommended.
11 comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 2, 2013
I purchased this model because it appeared that it would connect to my computer via USB and operate as a standard webcam for use with Google Hangouts and GoToMeeting. It will not stream via USB. The only streaming option is to pay Ustream $99/month for a streaming account and do the streaming via wifi. So, this model would cost me over $1100/yr to stream in a way I don't want to stream. What a bait and switch. This is a great disappointment. I am returning this camcorder to Amazon for a refund. My search for a USB streaming camcorder continues. Sad, because this is a very impressive camcorder.
44 comments| 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 29, 2013
I like it very much. very simple to use. good quality video & pictures.the zoom is very good. The main reason I bought it is for live streaming. I like the shape and features. Battery life is only one hour when using HD.
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on November 28, 2013
We bought this for an Alaskan cruise. The reason I went with this camcorder is the high power zoom and stability control. I was not disappointed, this camera is simple to use and brought even the most distant things up close and personal. The size is great even for my wife who has very small hands. The zoom requires a soft touch but with a little practice it can be smooth as silk. This camera helps to make even a novice like me produce high quality video.
11 comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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