on April 4, 2012
I just received my 'baby' today. I'm VERY impressed! I'm sure some of the expensive prosumer cameras can top it, but it's the best camcorder I've ever owned in the consumer/midrange arena! I've only used it on full auto so far.
The colors in the recorded footage filmed in sunlight are nicely saturated, lifelike and vivid. The image stabilization even while zooming is highly effective in all directions. The intelligent zoom image is indistinguishable from the optical portion of the zoom. (I viewed on a 47" Bravia TV)
The camera is very light, but feels solid, all buttons and controls have a firm feel to them.
I was able to shoot great indoor footage with shades drawn, and no lights on! The color was still accurate if a little muted, and there was a little graininess, but that's to be expected. The low-light image had no excessive noise, no strange orange cast, or washed out cast like my Sony and Sanyo used to produce! With just a little help, such as a 150 watt bulb the indoor picture becomes amazing compared to my older cameras.
Photographs are OK for a camcorder, but if you've been using high MP images or DSLR, then they are NOT impressive as they are only 6MP.
This version of the Camera only has the one slot, so a decent size SD(HC/XC) card is needed so that you don't fill it up too quickly.
If you want a camera that produces superb video without any effort, and can produce great footage in less than ideal lighting, the V700K is a great buy and lives up to its own marketing hype which is rare.
* Allows in-camera editing of AVCHD clips
* Auto lens cover
* Low Light performance is amazing
* Can be used while plugged into AC Power
* Image Stabilization(5 axis)actually STABILIZES the IMAGE, unlike my last 2 cameras!
* Wide-Angle 28mm lens gets more of a scene without moving farther back from subject
* Included standard battery is only average stamina
* The LCD is very hard to see in sunlight (Forcing me to order an LCD Hood)
* Filming a quiet scene I was able to hear zoom lens moving(I did NOT hear fan noise)
* If you intend to use this outdoors, an LCD shade is a MUST.. I found LCD Hood for Canon DSLR by Cowboystudio to be inexpensive, and effective.
4/15 Edit: I have uploaded some rudimentary sample vids to youtube, search for V700K or BitingCommentator.
I added some comments about the Audio, in the comments area.
I have uploaded images of the camera with the LCD shade in operation, and showing the Built-In Lens Cover, hope all this is helpful for you!
Uploaded a low light clip from the Auto Museum to my YouTube channel.
After one month I'm still happy, but I did witness the Auto White Balance adjustment delay during filming. 2 commenters mentioned this, but until now I never saw it. I'll try to explain what seemed to trigger the issue. On both occasions I was filming indoors, and my subject matter/lighting source changed drastically - each time with large areas of white in the image. Each time, the camera took about 3-4 seconds to recalibrate and correct the setting, and in each case the end result was correct and stable.
1st occurrence was camera sitting on my white gas range, which took up most of the image (daytime, but dark room; warm colors). I moved the camera and aimed at the window with BRIGHT sunlight, & lots of green plants, the image first appeared with a blue cast, then Auto White Balance was able to find an appropriate setting to match the sunlight. 2nd occurrence was shooting against white bed linens under very bright, very cool temperature ALZO lights -ALZO Photo Light Bulb - Pack of 4 - CFL 45 watt - Daylight balanced 5500K - pure white light - 2800 Lumens. (Excellent light source, use with a Y adapter socket for bright clean light!) I zoomed in until my girlfriend's skin-very tan/bronze filled the viewfinder, and when I zoomed back out, the entire image got a blue cast as the white (re)filled the majority of the image. The Auto White Balance again took about 4 seconds, (which feels like forever) to get itself to back to optimal settings, and stayed there.
My personal verdict on the Auto White Balance is that since it never drifted once it recalibrated itself, and since the Balance settings it chose were spot on, I'm still happy with the camera, and still rate it highly. Also affecting my verdict is that on my other inexpensive cameras Sanyo VPC-GH2, Canon S80, Sony HC45-when the white balance was wrong or changed- the cameras NEVER self-corrected, the rest of that video clip would be off!
Of course it's frustrating that the V700 sometimes doesn't adjust instantaneously; 3-5 seconds can be a long time if every second of your footage is vitally important, or you do not have video editing software.
But there is an easy fix - which is switch to manual, set the white balance with a piece of white paper or white object, and then switch back to Full Auto. The setting will be stored, and then the camera won't have to do any 'thinking' about it. As usual hope this helps.
(BTW, what gives with the $40-$50 Price Swings from day to day, Amazon?)
on May 9, 2012
I havent bought/used a camcorder in 10+ years. However, I do enjoy digital photography as a hobby of mine. For the past 2.5 years I have been shooting with a Pentax K-X DSLR, with either the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 lens or the Pentax DA 50mm f1.4 prime. The K-x does HD video also so my main comparisons and thoughts will be based on what I had seen the K-x do in terms of video. Decided to ultimately buy a dedicated camcorder b/c the lack of active auto-focus in the K-x was a deal breaker in terms of shooting video of my baby girl
Comparisons to other camcorders in price range:
This HC-V700K is Panasonic's mid-range camcorder, its so-to-speak "top of the line consumer" camcorder (next step up being prosumer, Panasonic X900MK). The HC-V700K is for all intents and purposes the 2012 version of the 2011 TM-90K, a very highly rated camcorder in 2011.
The two main camcorders i was considering in this price range was this Panasonic V700 and the Canon M500. The Canon M500 is Canon's 2012 successor to 2011's M400. The M400 was probably the best rated mid-range camcorder of 2011, most notably touted for its awesome pro-level sensor and low-light capabilities. The Canon M500 retains basically the same sensor and good low-light capabilities.
Why did I end up choosing the Panasonic over the Canon? To be honest, one reason was price. Currently, the Panasonic could be had for about $100 cheaper than the Canon. I think if both were the same price, I would have gone with the Canon. But $100 is a lot of dough these days, and I felt like from my research the differences in video quality between the Canon and Panasonic were probably not great enough (in my needs) to justify the extra money. Second (now I am just going to rationalize my decision more :) ), the Panasonic has a higher resolution LCD than the Canon. Third, the Panasonic is capable of greater zoom than the Canon. Fourth, based on reviews and comments online I have read, the image stabilization in the Panasonic slightly edges out Canon's. Based on my own personal experience, the stabilization is VERY good, especially when zoomed in.
Like I said i havent really handled a camcorder in a very long time. I was shocked to see how small and light this thing is. It seems well built enough, although the lack of heft does make it feel a tiny bit "cheap" or "plasticky." However I can tell that it is a quality product. This camcorder is so small it fits in the side pocket of my DSLR bag. Buttons seem to be in ergonomic areas, and i never found it awkward to use the camcorder. The touch screen LCD seems responsive enough. Yes, in direct sunlight it may be a little hard to see the LCD and a viewfinder would have been nice, but i never found it impossible to shoot outdoors.
Compared to the video my K-x has taken (and note that the K-x has been heralded for its low-light capabilites, and also I am using very fast lenses), I am VERY impressed with the video this camcorder is capturing. I have compared similar scenes (say, bathtime with my baby) and in all circumstances I prefer the V700's video over my DSLR's video. I will note that I am shooting in the highest quality setting on the V700 (AVCHD 1920x1080/60p), a resolution that my DSLR is not capable of. The image stabilization on the V700 is fantastic. The low-light performance is great as well, and very suitable for any indoor (household) lighting situations i have come across. If you are going to be filming primarily in low-light (think dim restaurant lighting, bar lighting, or nightlight) then maybe spring for the Canon. But typical household lighting conditions, this camcorder will be good enough.
Typically Panasonic camcorders have been dinged for less than stellar white balance performance. I have seen some minor issues. For example, take a typical problematic white balance situation: household tungsten light (your typical slightly yellow light bulbs) are on, and there is also a window in the room letting in natural light. The light bulbs are outputting light at a very different temperature than the natural light coming in through the window. The camera will get confused and you will often see your recording change white balances throughout: sometimes your video will be good, sometimes it will be overly yellow, then it will be overly washed out, etc. You can remedy this pretty easily by just setting the white balance manually, if you run into this problem. I set my white balance manually quite frequently when taking pictures with my K-x, so this was a non-issue for me. But if you are the "set it and forget it" type, maybe this will bother you. I will note that even if I didnt adjust the white balance, none of these "issues" would make me want to return the camera. The video is still good, just sometimes the color will be off slightly.
This camcorder does not have any memory internally. You will HAVE to buy a memory card. I found a lot of people get confused by SD card nomenclature, so let me clear it up: SD cards, SDHC cards, and SDXC card are basically all the same thing. The "HC" and "XC" just let you know the SD card holds more than a typical SD card (GB size).
I am using this card and highly recommend it:
SanDisk Extreme 16GB SDHC Flash Memory Card SDSDX-016G-X46,Black
16GB holds almost an hour and half of 1080/60p video. Please ONLY buy from Amazon.com because there is an abundance of fake SD cards out there and buying from a reputable dealer is the best way to protect yourself (i wouldnt even buy a SD card from anything "fulfilled by amazon" ... only Amazon!!)
The 700M version of this camcorder comes with internal memory --- but for the price difference I would recommend just buying this camcorder and separately buying an SDHC/SDXC card.
To transfer videos from the camcorder to your pc (i am using Windows 7, 64bit) just plug in the camcorder to the USB port and transfer like it is a flash drive. No software install needed. I do not use the included camcorder software.
I am using this software to edit my videos:
Sony Creative Software Vegas Movie Studio HD 11.0
I am very pleased with my purchase and hope this review was helpful to someone.
on May 10, 2012
Like another person here, i narrowed it down to the Canon HF 500 and this, the Panasonic HCV700. There is one reason i chose the Panasonic, it's wide angle lens. You can fit more in to the picture, quite a bit more. My girlfriend and i vlog on You Tube. We often hold the camera and point it at ourselves, or have to shoot in tight spaces. We tried the Canon HF500, and at arm's length you could barely fit your face in to the shot. With the Panasonic HCV700, we can fit much of our upper bodies! So, i think Panasonic is smart to advertise this as a "28mm Wide Angle" camcorder. It's true, and it's really nice.
I haven't tested this camera in all situations yet, but i can say that it's already looking nice in a somewhat dimly lit room. The 1/2" sensor in a camera this small is pretty amazing. If you're trying to decide between this and any of the lower priced models. Think about spending a little bit more on this because i believe the less expensive models come with a 1/5" sensor, and that's actually a huge difference in performance. Built in memory is the first thing i'd pass on. You can get SD cards relatively cheap, and save your money right there for the better sensor.
One thing i found to be really curious about this camera, however, is that it does 1080p 60 frames per second. I thought it would be a nice option to have, yet i figured i'd shoot mostly 30fps. Well, it never occurred to me that there ISN'T a 30fps (or 24fps) option on this camera! At 1080p, your only option is 60fps. I don't mind, but i've never seen a camera offer only 60fps. It's a look and feel some people may not like for all situations, and traditionally saved for fast action. Now, you can shoot 30p in half resolution of 960x 540, but of course that's not nearly as nice. There's also plenty of 60i options, but i would never recommend shooting Interlaced.
To me, the wide angle, larger sensor and frame rate are the big topics when talking about this camera. Covered those. Overall, it's an excellent camera. Seems well built, i like how the battery fits and doesn't extend out the back (like some other camcorders). The touch screen is nice and responsive, and there are quite a few nice options. Auto mode works well, yet it has all the proper manual functions if you like. The optional shoe mount (say for an external mic) is really nice. It looks like the hand grip thing is built in, and i wouldn't mind taking it off. No big deal though. I also wouldn't mind more actual buttons rather than always having to use the touch screen. Overall, no complaints, except i'd actually like to shoot at 24 or 30fps in 1080p.
Like i said, what sold me was the wide angle and the 1/2" sensor. Really makes for some nice looking images. I bought this camera for $449 through Amazon! I'm not sure how they managed to offer it for $100 less than everyone else, but for the price you'd be hard pressed to find a better camcorder! Highly recommended. I can't give it 5 stars, because it's somewhat strange that you can't shoot in traditional 1080 30p(and 24p would have been nice too), but it's really my only complaint.
I'd like to give it 4.5, but you can't give half stars! So, it's a 4 from me.
on July 22, 2012
I originally purchased the V500 and found that it was totally unsuited for low light videos so I returned it and purchased the V700MK. The camera is quite hefty and very well built. It takes a 46mm filter. The V500 is not engineered to accept any filters.The menue is pretty straightforward and quite easy to master. It comes with a full printed manual and the camera is "made in Japan" and not China. A big, big plus! Zooming is smooth and quiet. The outdoor videos are terrific and the low light videos are excellent with no noticeable graininess. I havent yet tried to copy a dvd that friends and relatives can view on their own dvd players. I assume a converter program is necessary although Panasonic doesnt mention it in the manual. Im not at all impressed with the cameras warranty. 1 year parts, 90 day labor. It sure doesnt give me a secure feeling when a manufacturer doesnt have at least a 1 years faith in their product. However at this point in time, Im well satisfied. We shall see!
UPDATE 8/2: Reduced it to 3 stars as the record button became intermittent and I returned it for a refund. Im back on Amazon looking for something else.
on April 24, 2012
Amazing form and function. I am the owner of numerous Panasonic products, one of my favorites has been my compact Lumix LX3 camera. A fantastic camera with many pro features. Which was my reason for chosing the Panasonic HCV700MK Camcorder. I read lots of reviews and for its price and features, it is a great buy. I am very satisfied with the features provided with Panasonic's camcorder and camera. The HCV700MK was purchased to record some geneology material and document some elderly family members who have great stories to share....in their own words. I can tell you this little camcorder is everything I expected, beautiful video documentation, great sound, and the convenience of an internal hard-drive and SDHC cards. The size of this camera is amazingly small, fits nicely in your hand or on a tripod, works perfect, and the quality and appearance are impressive. I use an excellent Nikon DSLR w/multiple lens and the Lumix LX3, for my travel and portrait work, each camera does video too, but I wanted a dedicated camcorder with optional features to serve one purpose: my video work, and this Panasonic HCV700MK does it nicely. Very satisfied.
on September 30, 2012
I needed a 60P HD camcorder to make family movies for action sports like ice hockey, wakeboading, and other outdoor stuff in the summertime. I had a hard time deciding between the Canon, the Sony, and the Panasonic ($400-500 range). On paper I was pretty much sold on the Canon because of its superior sensor and 10x optical zoom.
So I walked in the store thinking I was buying a Canon, however after playing with all 3 cameras for a hour I changed my mind. While in the store the Canon was slower to focus on the target. Not sure why, but it was. However what really changed my mind was the high resolution screen on the Panasonic. Seems only obvious that you should have a high resolution flip out screen to confirm you target is in perfect focus. The Canons and Sony's fall short here. The Panasonic's screen GUI isn't as slick as the Sony, but it is completely manageable. Build quality across the Panasonic, Sony, and Canon was comparable. Anyways I bought the Panasonic and haven't regretted it since. So far I've shot 16 hrs of wakeboarding from the back of a moving boat in both overcast and normal sunlight. The image stabilization is amazing and gives me the ability to zoom in on my targets 50' away. During editing I can easily extract "decent" still pictures from the 60P video. Granted I'm not blowing them up to 20x20 prints, but for having your pick from hundreds of frames it's pretty damn good. I'm not a professional by any means and certainly don't have the time or money to perform a proper benchmark, but the Panasonic is a deal at $400. Video on my 55" TV is awesome and worth every penny of the $400.
Unfortunately I can't comment on low light performance yet. If I have issues I'll update my review.
on May 19, 2012
The video this camera records at 60P is amazing! The zoom works smoothly and it does not deteriorates the HD quality even at full extended 46X. The image stabilizer allows you to pan the camera without major effort and with amazing results. Low light recording is better than I expected, even in a completely dark room. Panasonic great Product!!!
on June 8, 2012
I bought this recently to video tape my daughter's dance program. This was done in fairly low light under stage lighting (I based my purchase on the ratings by Consumer Reports, which rated this as a best buy). The quality of the video is excellent. However, there seems to be a shine on the faces of the dancers. Not sure whether I need to adjust something, as I did not have the time to read the manual. On the other hand, I also recorded my son's graduation ceremony from over 100 feet in a stadium. The video was superb too. My major issue with the camcorder is that my Macintosh cannot process the 1080/60p video I took. According to the manual (which I read later), only videos recorded using the iFrame format can be processed by the iMovie software. This is a solid constraint for Mac users. Someone converted the AHVCD files for me using a software called Handbrake. This output was very good. I recommend this camcorder. It is a great value for its money (with the Macintosh restrictions).
on October 6, 2012
First off, I must say this camera's large sensor and full 1080p recording are not understated. This is the same sensor as cameras twice as expensive in the panasonic line, and the quality is superb. Overall I am very happy with this camera, but I will share a few thoughts that might influence your purchase decision:
- Great wide angle zoom range: I almost bought the canon but this went nearly twice as wide allowing you to get close or film indoors and still capture the full scene. Plus, even with the wide angle the long optical zoom range exceeds what you should practically be using anyway as fully zoomed in the camera shake on anything but a solid tripod makes the film nearly unwatchable so this camera truly has an optical zoom range that gets as wide as you could need, and closer than you practically should be using.
- Great sensor: the images are recorded at 60 frames a second at full 1080p, eliminating the trailing lines you get on a 1080i camera. Don't expect to be shooting cinema quality footage, but the quality is sufficient that I went out and got a blu-ray burner and blank blu-rays because there was simply so much more detail that this camera captured that I couldn't bear to part with when archiving & presenting it to friends and family.
- Off brand batteries: I immediately bought an off brand charger and extra battery for ~1/4 what panasonic sells them for. If you do this with canon or with some other manufactures you will be missing a coded chip and unable to see the battery status (esp. how much recording time is left) but with panasonic there is no such chip so for less than half what a small extra battery would cost I got a large (3hr) extra battery and an off-camera charger. Accessories are one of the major ways a camera gets more expensive (the canon battery/ charger combo is nearly two hundred dollars) so having a cheap alternative (I spent less than forty) is critical component in decision making when are trying to be price conscious.
- Simplicity: I handed this camera to my wife with no directions and she started taking footage without issue. The auto-on when you open the LCD and the obviousness (and standardization) of the zoom lever and record button mean that while you have access to more manual features, it is still something you can pass off to an inexperienced person and not be concerned about them getting confused.
- Memory card access: I would HIGHLY recommend this camera over one with internal storage. First, the internal storage is only accessible if you remember your cable and plug your camera into your computer, while the memory card can be removed and inserted into a memory card reader present in nearly any computer made in the last 5-10 years. It does mean you need to be sure you have the memory card with you, but it is worth the convenience in my opinion. Furthermore, Memory has dropped below $1/gb so a 64gb card that could hold more video than 2-3 batteries would allow you to take can be had very cheaply and keep you shooting for days.
- Compactness: this is a camera that could easily be thrown in a purse, or in my case added to my DSLR camera bag in less space than a single extra lens would have taken. It is not quite pocket-able, but for carrying with other items it is small, light, and easy to fit in a tight space.
- Playback: Many camcorders have pathetic speakers for playback. This one is certainly nothing to write home about quality wise, but for total volume during a quick check to see if you got an important moment it is wonderful and far better than I expected.
- LCD: Many have suggested you by a lens hood, but I might suggest you hold off on such a decision. I took it out apple picking on a sunny day and put the lens hood on automatically, but when I took it off I still had no issues. If you are headed to the beach or desert or somewhere with a lot of sun and glare I can see it may become an issue, and the lens hood does help with being able to closely track focus, color & framing, but I was actually perfectly contented outside on a sunny day without a lens hood. Having the lens hood in my bag though does give me the safety net of know I will always be able to see my screen in any circumstance.
- Auto-closing lens: I will admit my last video camera is ~10 years old, but having a lens cap that closes on its own whenever the camera is turned off is wonderful to protect the lens from dust and scratches, but is never in the way when you want to shoot. Its pretty much par for the course today, but I just had to say I like this feature.
- Audio Quality: I want to play with the settings more, but I was somewhat underwhelmed by the audio quality. To add to my disappointment, the camera has an add-on cold shoe (where you could mount a mic) but it sticks out at the far back of the camera, so any mic mounted to it would hang over your zoom control. Overall, the audio quality is fine for a personal camcorder, but given the spectacular video results I think I set my expectations too high for the audio, and sadly there isn't a convenient way to bring the camera's fair audio quality up to match its superb video quality.
- Touch Screen: for 99% of what you do you won't even use the touch screen, but as others have rightly pointed out, it is not a sensitive touch screen at all. It requires a solid push, and for tasks that involve sliding or dragging it frequently mis-interprets your gesture. Ultimately, I don't find myself using the touch screen much so it is livable, but if you plan on digging into the menus for every scene you may want to look elsewhere for a camera with a more responsive screen.
This camera takes excellent video, which is ultimately what I bought it to do. Its audio quality leaves a little to be desired, but it does the job and is more a problem of unrealistic expectations than the audio being sub-par for a consumer camcorder. The compatibility with 3rd party batteries makes the camera cheaper to complement with accessories, and the price for a camera with this good (large) of a sensor is truly unbelievable. Finally, the zoom ranges means you won't find yourself too close or far from your subject allowing you to unobtrusively capture the moment. There are a few trade offs in a camera of this price and size, but on a budget this is a wonderful option for capturing important memories.
on September 15, 2012
Bought this camera to replace a cheaper Sony (the Sony proved to be very disappointing). I pretty much leave this camera at it's highest HD resolution (1080 60p) and leave settings on auto mode. There's plenty of built in doo-dahs such as fading and other stuff, but I don't use any of that as I prefer to handle video editing through post-production software. Audio is pretty good, but I like the fact that this camera actually has a jack to plug in an external microphone. When is the last time you saw one of those? I was able to dust off my wireless and my wired lapel mike.
Video is excellent with great colors. The anti-shake/steady-cam or whatever you call it actually works and works well with the zoom. Speaking of the zoom, its actually usable at max zoom rather than the zooming for maximum distortion you find on other cameras. The 28mm wide angle is nice too - you can get everybody in frame without having to back up to Terre Haute...
The built in still camera does OK and even has a built in flash. 6.1 megapixel I think.
64GB SD Card. This will give you about 6hrs Video. Make sure you get a fast card.
Higher capacity batteries. I bought the Wasabi Power Battery and Charger Kit which got me 2 high capacity batteries and a standalone charger (in other words you don't need to use the camera to charge the batteries) which can be plugged into the AC or cigarette lighter. Pretty slick.
Well, that's some disjointed thoughts about this camera. Very happy with the purchase...