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on May 29, 2012
I recently bought Panasonic HC-V700, I preferred it over V700M simply because I can buy double the amount SD card memory for the price difference between the two, there are no other difference in these models.

Before purchasing HC-V700 I had purchased Canon Vixia HF-R300, which has greater optical zoom, but lacks flash light for video or pictures, the indoor performance of Canon was really bad as well, the video came out really soft and low light performance was grainy. So after an hour of shooting indoors, outdoors with and without bright light, I packed it up and returned it. I think it is important to mention that I recorded the videos in auto mode, I didn't play with the camera to adjust the default settings.

Although HVC700 is slightly bigger than Canon HF-R300, the video quality is so much better (again have only recorded in auto mode). O.I.S is also much superior than image stabilization technology used in the Canon. Sure I spent $170 more compared to the Canon, but I got much better video quality, better battery life (not great, but better than Canon's 25 mins). So far I have only recorded in AVCHD format but played on my big screen TV and have been satisfied with the results. I have shot in cloudy, sunny and indoors all returned good image quality. The battery that came with the camera drains in about 35-40 mins of operations (still better than 20-25 mins of Canon)

I used PNY 16 GB Class 10 SD card with the camera, I didnt format it in the camcorder as it had pictures from my digital camera which i wasnt ready to delete. I think this might have caused some write errors, I transfer files then format the card in camcorder and try it again. The recorded videos however didnt have any problems, they play fine and smooth directly from the card used PS3 to play the recorded movies.

SD Card Update (11/15/12): My PNY card (bought from Costco so cannot be a fake) repeatedly had issues in the camcorder even after formatting it within. I ended up buying SanDisk Extreme which has been running without any issues.
55 comments9 of 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 15, 2012
Pros: 1. Small and light camera. 2. Great video when not moving camera. 3. SD Cards.
Cons: Video quality is not too good if moving the camera, would be bad for sports or generally fast moving objects.
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on September 22, 2012
I just bought this camcorder and careful reading of the owner's manual (page 62) reveals that this camera is compatible with Mac editing in I Movie only when recorded in iFrame mode. According to the Apple site [...] iFrame produces 720 video, not 1080. So if you plan to use a Mac to edit your video, it appears that you will get barely HD quality. I believe that the disclosure by Panasonic should have been much more up front about this issue.


update: I have now recorded some video and downloaded it to my MacPro, early 2011 version. I was able to download both iFrame and 1080i video to the iMovie 11 program. I have not yet edited the video, but apparently iMovie 11 is only incompatible with 1080/60p.
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on August 17, 2012
This camcorder appears to be a great performer, except that you cannot shoot HD in anything less than 60p. Yes, you can convert the footage to 30p or less, but we all know that this prevents you from employing the "180 degree shutter" rule to get smooth motion at anything less than 60p. So, if the footage is 1) going straight to your HDTV or Blu-Ray, or 2) being solely used for conforming to 30p or less in FCP for slow motion, great! If not, expect more stroby or choppy motion when outputting for use on YouTube or standard DVDs. If this doesn't bother you, yes, it looks like Panasonic has put all of its killer features into this little cam!
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on September 13, 2012
The M indicates a built in memory, but you can also add your own chip for additional memory and choose which memory to use. 3D is only availible with the addition of an expensive large attachment. Who wants to lug that around? Lots of features, great video, handles low light situations with ease. Most people probably buy the 500 but from reading on the internet the 700 shoots a better video in less than ideal lighting conditions. In my opinion it is well worth the money.
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on October 20, 2012
Did a lot of research and came to two camcorders - the Panasonic HC-V700M and the Cannon Vixia HF M500. Both are entry level camcorders for the professional quality video recording due to large image sensors and other features. The Panasonic won out due to the lower price. $395 versus $525 for the Cannon. I am very pleased with the results. Touch screen works very well and the menu is not too difficult. Combine this with a Wasabi Power supply for $49.99 and get two large capacity batteries that the Pansonic recognizes.

Had a little problem as the format when downloading videos to Windows was an MTS file. Just downloaded Freemake and this free program converted the file to any common format.
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on June 30, 2012
I have been using a Flip HD for the past two years, which I am happy with, but decided to upgrade. I bought the Panasonic HCV700K as it was on sale at Amazon at 150 dollars off MSLP. I was considering the Panasonic HCV900 but a 1000 dollars was over budget.
The camcorder is very compact. Nice zoom range, with a 28mm wide angle lens. It produces a very nice picture on a HD flat screen TV as well as a computer. I am only interested in recording to a SD chip, so I don't need internal memory. Easy to use touch screen and a nice 100+ page printed user manual, usb cord and component patch cord.

Built in mic is OK, but I intend to buy a external mic to attach to hotshoe when I want better audio. Lucky that camera has a external microphone input jack. I have not tested the software yet that came with it, but plan on getting Vegas HD editing software for under 50 dollars. I am also going to get two extra batteries with a wall charger for the camera. Also a two terabyte external harddrive as 1080p 60 is a memory hogger and I do not want to fill up the 640g drive on my computer.

While it does not have 3 mos, a Leica lens, an earphone jack, and other things, the camera met my budget for under 500 dollar range, and I would recomend it for a person looking for a little more than a basic consumer camcorder.

I forgot to mention, the ois is wonderful and removes my handheld camera shakes 90 percent. The auto focus could be a little faster, but does the job. For what i paid, the camcorder is worth it.
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on January 5, 2013
Brain Dump Follows: Well, I'm keeping it, but I have some concerns. Today is the last day for me to return it and when I was outside today in the cold shooting some footage, for the first time there was some lateral image shake when zooming at the maximum speed. I also noticed for the first time today that when you zoom at the maximum speed, (something which you would rarely do unless you are frequently filming fleeing perpetrators), there is a motor/gear noise faintly in the background if there is no other sound being recorded and if the mike is set to the non-zoom setting. I use the non-zoom setting when I am doing narration. The noise I could live with, though it is a little disappointing. The image shake, jarred my nerves in a big way. I checked the zoom repeatedly when inside, both on a stable surface and hand held with OIS on and off. No image shake. I did it while filming and in standby. It seems like it was a one-time thing. I have been out in the cold with the camcorder before, though not using the zoom at maximum speed. It just does not get used that way as a general rule. Too rough on the viewer.

The sound on the unit is great. Very life like. Great for family memories. The image at 1080/60p is very impressive. You can notice the improvement in sharpness over 1080/60i. Please note that the progressive is actually PSF=progressive segmented frame, according to some very knowledgeable folks at the Lightworks forum. Lightworks free cannot handle psf unfortunately. You would have to pay for the pro version. The included HD Writer Software is a little sluggish, but seems to work reasonably well for viewing/reviewing. I have spent so much time learning the camcorder that I have not yet edited or burned a Blu-Ray.

The still camera images are pretty worthless. Grainy and soft in sharpness. I bump up the setting for Video to +1 in sharpness and use Intelligent Contrast Control, but no setting improves the still images. Just pretend the feature is not present in the camcorder. Carry a light point and shoot. the pictures from it are far superior to the camcorder still images.

The lens performance is amazing. Optical reach is exceptional. The camcorder is relatively light as compared to a camcorder of a few years ago and particularly considering the zoom ratio. The handling position is reasonable. Touch screen works mostly responsive. Only need to touch a second time occasionally. Screen gets full of fingerprints, but they do not show up unless you angle the screen "just so". Be careful not to scratch it. Outdoors even at +2 the screen can be a little dim.

In addition to the obvious SDHC card, (I got the Lexar 32GB U1 and it holds up to testing for continuous write at good speeds.), you should get a carrying case, ( I like the Tamrac bags.), a protective 46mm UV filter ( You really do not want to damage the lens doors or front element with a casual bump. I got a B+W multicoated. The clearance to the lens doors was no problem.), an HDMI -> HDMI mini cable ( I got the Xtreme braided. It makes a very firm connection. Watch out for the screen when connecting and disconnecting. The braid is a little rough.), and the Panasonic VW-BC10 external battery charger. I really do not like the idea of charging batteries while in unit for cameras or camcorders. There is more heat generated as a battery ages and I would rather cook a charger than the camera or camcorder. The charger works well and if you get spare batteries, you can always have one charging up. The standard battery is sufficient to fill a 32GB card.

The colors render realistic, though when it is overcast, the exposure seems a little dark (underexposed). It takes a few seconds for the Auto White Balance to adjust. If you start shooting too fast, your color rendition will be off. You can saturate the colors with the Digital Cinema setting. Focus works pretty fast. Low light is okay. Some folks may find it a bit grainy, I think it is just fine. Standard illumination is 1400 lx. That is about EV 9~10 at iso 100 on a still camera. This is reasonable.

I do not know if the camcorder would be considered broadcast quality, but it is more than excellent for family memories. I just hope this zoom image shake does not come back. Panasonic is NOT known for wonderful customer service or repairs. If you playback on your TV, (mine fortunately can play 1080/60p), it really looks impressive. Maybe not as sharp and contrasty as a 1080/60i Cable TV channel, but close in quality. On the computer screen you won't notice as much detail as on your TV. Probably something about the size of the pixels.

For the price you cannot beat this camcorder and the compact size and weight is a bonus. End Brain Dump. :-) Recommended with some concerns. I would buy again assuming it does not fail on me. If you find an angry followup you'll know my decision was bad.

P.S. for those wondering why I don't just try an exchange, here's why. Most everything works perfectly, and I suspect the zoom motor noise is because the gears and motor are brand new and that might explain the one-time image jitter too. If I try another unit, I might get a unit with some other problem that is more likely to cause me to throw in the towel on this. I have spend a lot of time fiddling with this camcorder and really dread the thought of starting all over again. It's a dice roll, but then so is much of life. You have to have a spirit of adventure. :-) I just hope I don't have to eat my words. :-)

P.P.S. I did finally get to burn Blu-Ray discs and it was very easy to do. Discs come out really good quality at 1080/60p. No top menu at this maximum resolution. Played back on PC perfectly. Playback on Samsung settop Blu-Ray player was easy with one exception. Without the top menu I had to use the skip button to go from one video to the next sequentially. Not a problem for me. I am impressed how goof proof the burning subroutines of the software were. Still happy with my purchase.
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on October 23, 2012
This camera is more than I could expect at the price point.

1 - The low light capability far surpasses what I've read in reviews. I tried it on the patio at night, with light coming from the indoor lights, and from a large patio candle. The color levels in the low light were surprising, as was the very low noise level in the image. It was very clear. The sensor works very well.

2 - The various recording quality levels is a nice feature, if you know that you will just be posting or sharing, the lower levels will more than suffice, giving very nice video and really extended recording in the same 1920 format. The 1080p/60fps is a super image - I'd only be concerned about the editing software keeping up with the high data load in long edits, because the camera is producing a beautifully detailed 60 frames per second. I also compared the metering effects of back-lighting with sun coming storefronts while I was shopping. The multi-point metering used by Panasonic beat Sony and Canon hands down for controlling back-light washout. This unit is very capable in the video image and lens dept. - I will use it for studio-type work with audio and lighting support devices in a very portable and light package.

3- Overall quality is, well, consumer priced. The lens cover trap door broke within a couple days, and I also saw this on the demo model at the store. Inside, there is a secondary IRIS cover which closes when powered off to protect the internals from light. I like the many features, so I'll just add a 46mm UV lens to protect it, which I would do anyway. Otherwise, the body, buttons, seals and fit are all good.

4 - Tons of features, and the menu is the easiest to navigate and control of all the touch screen units I saw while deciding. IRIS, shutter, and WB are easy to set and toggle from their manual settings to auto with a dedicated button.

5- Disappointingly missing is a headphone jack, but I will often use an external mic with another headphone method.

I'm in for Panasonic - they are on top of the consumer camcorder offerings with this one.
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on August 20, 2012
Purchased this camera in June worked great for 2 months. This camera did shoot very nice video that was easy to get off the camera and edit with the included software. It did feel a bit cheaper than my old Panasonic mini-dv camera and I guess it was.
Turned it on after a day of shooting video only to see a black screen, everything else worked even the touch part of the screen, but could not see anything on the display. Called Panasonic hoping to get a quick turn around. No luck got rude customer service was told to send my camera away and wait a couple weeks to hear something back. I understand that electronics can and will go bad, but they should at least make it easy for the customer to get a working unit. I even offered to buy a new one and have them refund me when they received the defective unit, nope.
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