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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2008
Pros
-the .mp4 files are OSX friendly and viewable instantly in QuickTime !
- we had no problem getting these files into Final Cut Xpress 4 or iMovie '08
- I was editing these files within minutes of popping the card out of the cam
- Photos can be plucked out of the video streams at 8mp (4mp interpolated?)
- the menu interface is clean ,intuitive, and performs well
- the photos look great, even the ones you capture while viewing video playback
- the TouchPoint focus can create cool effects
- colors and automatic levels seem pretty accurate
- quickly change recording to INTERNAL or SDHC or MMC
- manual controls are simple sliders (WB, Exposure, Shutter)
- 90 minute battery life from a small form battery
- shoots in 4 resolutions : 1080p/30p , 1080i/60i, 480p/60p an 300fps SlowMotion
- you can be in and out of these resolutions in seconds via QuickMenus
- shooting this puppy is a breeze, we haven't even looked at the manual yet
- nice Slideshow with music functions
- TouchFocus allows you to focus on different objects in the foreground or background
- it's a very small package and feels quite solid for it's size
- QuickInfo button displays battery life / memory / resolution even powered off
-clips can be split, deleted and combined IN CAMERA
-the phot slideshow can be accompanied by music

Cons
- you MUST have the cradle (included) for charging / HDMI out
- manual controls are very simple ...... will be too limiting for hardcore tweakers
........ that being said, the automatic levels are about as good as you'll want
- no hot shoe
- no built in light ... only pop-up flash
- photos cannot be cropped or rotated in camera - no red-eye removal tool either
- the focus drifted on me a few times
- btw, the focus is a little SLOW
- the TouchFocus was hit or miss in practice
-the battery and SD/MMC slot are behind a trap door, probably not going to be an extended run battery

there's alot to like about this camera
the easy to use touchscreen does almost everything I need it to do under normal circumstances
playback in QUICKTIME is smooth and free of some processing artifacts I noticed when using VLC (nightly) to view .mts files from Panasonics and Canon's ... and that comes in handy if you shot alot of clips and want to get to previewing them quickly and not waiting an hour for it to load into your editor

I think I've narrowed it down to this camera and the Canon hf100. I went to the store and shot some clips with my memory card. I found the .mts file buried in a STREAM subfolder several layers deep.
The Samsung has a folder called 100video, click on that and there's your files
The Canon's menu is more advanced and offers more options, but it's also more complex
but if you can live without advanced manual controls and a mini-hotshoe and want to work with a more friendly file, this Samsung SC_HMX20C is the camcorder to have

this camcorder works well with a 2.2ghz Macbook with 4gb RAM running OSX Leopard
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon December 1, 2008
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
OUT OF THE BOX

What a treat it was to get this camcorder! It comes with a charging stand, which I prefer to just plugging directly into a wall. It took about 1 ½ hours to charge and I have about 90 minutes of recording time on my battery. That is so nice.

I have a choice of memory cards, either SDHC or MMCplus -- or I could go with the internal memory, which gives me 75 minutes in superfine mode. That is a huge plus. There have been many a time when I've brought my camera or camcorder with me only to find I've forgotten to put a memory card in or the memory card is full. No need to worry here. I have a built-in backup.

The filmed images at night under incandescent light is somewhat grainy, but I haven't found a camcorder which wasn't grainy at night. The graininess is less than my other camcorders, so it's better than I expected.

The sound is clean and crisp, no static or distortion. I have no complaints.

When I zoom, the image is shaky. Whatever stabilization feature the camera has, it's not enough. I would need a tripod to help with that. Even at wide angle, it takes effort to keep the image stable. My son keeps asking why I'm shaking the camcorder so much. I'm not trying to shake the camcorder.

Daytime video quality is good. It does take a little time to focus sometimes, but it was fast enough to not bother me. Except for the shakiness, I do like the quality when viewed on my television.

The menu is intuitive. I have no problem navigating the touchscreen and I realize this isn't always the case with camcorders. It's well thought out and I appreciate the ease of use.

CAMERA FUNCTION

I can take photos as I film. What a marvelous feature. There have been countless times when I wanted to do both and had to choose. Or maybe I was filming and realized that was a Kodak moment that I missed. I can now do both, and boy have I utilized that feature. This has to be the absolute strongest selling point of this camcorder.

The flash pops up out of the camcorder and gives plenty of light, but it doesn't happen if I am taking photos in filming mode. For that, I need to be in camera mode. The red eyes appear less noticeable than in other cameras and there is a strobe feature to reduce red eye.

The photo resolution is better than any other camcorder I own. I have yet to get my photos back from developing and will update my review when I get them.

HANDLING

The size and shape would make the grip a bit awkward, but the swivel grip helps with that. I just wish the record button wasn't so far down low to the right. It's just difficult for me to reach that position with my right thumb. It would have been better to locate that button somewhere near the top of the camcorder,

SOFTWARE

The software included is Cyberlink DVD Suite. I don't know what's wrong, whether it's my computer or a software glitch, but I just can't get it to work. Actually, it's most likely my ancient computer. I have a Compact Presario SR1930NX with 960 MB of RAM. I work a long time to get the video I want and then it won't burn the CD and it's very frustrating. I tried MediaShow and that worked, but it has fewer bells and whistles.

THE FINER POINTS -- details which would make life nice

The camcorder is missing a neck/shoulder strap. I'm not sure if that is a plus or minus. I found myself wanting one yesterday, when I was lugging it around to film a birthday party. Then again, the strap on my other camcorder was an annoyance. Putting it in and out of the bag, it just kept finding a way to get stuck on Velcro. It was nice not to have a strap to get in the way. I find myself going either way on this feature.

The lens opens and shuts automatically as needed.. I like that because I never have to remember to close it.

A small annoyance is the shell is just too shiny on the side with the screen. It just gets covered in my fingerprints. Wish they have made it more like the rest of the body.

Something I never expected to have but is a nice plus is the slide show feature. I am used to scrolling through my photos. This is the first time I could play a slide show to music with fading effects on the camera at the touch of a button That's so cool. The music only plays when the photos are on the internal memory. Still a nice feature.

Pros:
+Nice video quality
+Good sound
+Lens opens and closes automatically
+Take photos while filming
+Internal memory with about 75 minutes of recording time in superfine mode
+Long battery life
+Slide show feature
+Pop-up flash
+Choice of optional memory cards SDHC or MMCplus
+Good photo quality
+Intuitive menu

Cons:
-Image can be grainy at night
-Image stabilization could use improvement
-Record button located in an awkward position
-Shell is a fingerprint magnet
-Software didn't work for me

Overall, this is a fantastic camcorder. I highly recommend it.

_________________________

UPDATE: I got the photos back from Snapfish. They are good and I wouldn't know they came from a camcorder. Even the ones I took while in filming mode were good. The ones I took in camera mode were better, but only ever so slightly so when taken in daylight. Very nice photo quality, especially for a camcorder.

_________________________

UPDATE: I just realized something wonderful about this camera. Yes, I can take photos while filming. However, if I miss a shot, I can go back and view the video. I just press the photo button then and take a shot like I was doing it live. Ta-da! A photo! Yes, I can do it with the video editing software, but this is so much easier.

_________________________

UPDATE 9/28/14: It's been six years. Although I've had many other camcorders, this is the one I use. Except for a flash that won't lock down and a battery that won't lock in (it stays in with the battery compartment closed), this camcorder still works wonders. It is my go-to camcorder for filming video reviews or when I want quality shots of my daughter's gymnastics events.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 18, 2009
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've struggled with deciding on a rating for this camera (3 or 4 stars) because there are so many features on this camera to like, and I really want to like it more than I do. Actually, for my purposes, it's a 4-star camera, but for most, I believe it will only achieve 3-stars, and that's based on a few simple observations --

1) Low light (indoor) performance can be very grainy, especially since the light source/flash only works with stills: with this camera, the brighter the shooting environment the better (up to a point).

2) Autofocus can be very slow. If you are mounting this camera on a tripod, mainly focusing on details in the distance with very slow, deliberate movements and focal changes, you'll be fine. This is my main intended use for this camera. However, if you want to use it as a "handy-cam," you may be disappointed. In filming indoor, close-range action of family members, the lens will take anywhere from 1/2 second to 5 seconds with any significant focal change. The 5-second episodes are where the lens corrects in the wrong direction, goes all the way to the end of that focal length, only to turn around and come back.

3) Size of shooting frame: this is not really a ding on this camera but to most HD cameras. If you're filming at a distance, you're fine, but for close-ups with people, you may find you're clipping torsos or heads. Keep in mind that at a distance of 6 ft, the size of the 2D plane that you're capturing is roughly 5ft by 1.5ft (~60in x ~34in = 16:9 HD ratio). Thus, for most, the 10x zoom is nice, but a wide-angle addition (say 0.7x) would really be much more helpful.

4) There is no 720p mode -- only 1080i/p and 480. However, there is a really neat slow-mo feature (in SD only, unfortunately) where one can film a 10 second clip and play it back at 1/5 speed.

5) The sound quality is quite good, but, probably to avoid operator hand-noise and breathing, they've mounted the mics on the bottom of the unit. This is fine in many situations, but if you're filming while walking, the "clomp clomp clomp" of your footsteps is VERY loud.

These are the main factors I'd consider crucial in determining if this is the camera for you. For me, it's quite good, with great optics; wonderful picture quality, color, and sharpness (if filmed in good light); tons of features; and a great docking bay that lets me plug it into an HDMI cable directly to my Panasonic Viera TH-42PZ85U 42-Inch 1080p Plasma HDTV.

Without going into micro-technical detail.... For my purposes -- making HD recordings of concerts (BTW, the external mic input works great), filming students in music lessons with the ability to simply plug in their SDHC card when they start and pulling it out for them to take home when they leave, filming myself for self-critique of my playing, etc., ALL from a tripod, this camera is more than adequate. However, if you're doing a lot of mobile camcording, you might want to consider some of this camera's limitations that I've outlined here. Good luck with your deliberations and product comparisons....
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2008
I have been watching Mpeg-4 cameras to see if they could become usuable. So far, the stock AVCHD cameras have provided images that were so compressed all they were good for were shoot and display; editing the video was an utter pain. The artifacting made the contrast too hard, and the standard AVCHD file was decidedly unstandard with the streams unmuxed and the framerates inconsistent. Lotsa luck trying to get QuickTime compliant apps like Final Cut to deal with the video.

The Samsung SC-HMX20 delivers something new: an H264 mpeg-4 file that is not so highly compressed (the 1080p files have a 14.85 mbit/sec bandwidth) and the mpeg wrapper file is fully QuickTime compliant so editing is not a problem. The images aren't perfect (there's still artifacting and banding where colors and contrasts converge), but its head and shoulders above any other AVCHD camera. The 1080p image is quite handsome, but sometimes doesn't handle fast motion so well. The camera claims to shoot in 1080i, but it doesn't work on the Mac so I haven't been able to check that. It would be terrific if the camera could shoot both 1080p (for resolution) AND 720p (for fast motion). I guess that's asking for too much at this price.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 20, 2009
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Samsung is well known for devices such as LCD TVs and cell phones. However, not many people know that Samsung makes pretty decent digital cameras and camcorders. I came from the country where Samsung started and heard about Samsung's optical products. Although they do not have a reputation like Canon or Sony, Samsung comes pretty close to the level of other popular makers of cameras and camcorders. I think the HMX20c from Samsung shows a good evidence of this. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this camcorder and started to use the HMX20c more than any other camcorder I have. So, here goes my story for you.

First of all, the HMX20c is a very Mac-friendly camcorder. The other HD camcorders that I have use AVCHD codec to record the video, and you might need to do additional jobs to work with iMovie. AVCHD files recorded in the camcorder need a conversion process to be used by iMovie, and it takes up so much space. I have a Canon HG10 hard drive based AVCHD camcorder and iMovie always converts the AVCHD files to AIC (Apple Intermediate Codec) to use in iMovie. So I gave up using iMovie and used the Ulead DVDFactory on a Windows PC. However, the HMX20c records files on a flash memory (SDHC card) in H.264/MPEG4 format that iMovie loves to handle. AVCHD files alone from the HD camcorder cannot be recognized by iMovie without the conversion, however, MP4 files from the HMX20c have no problem being used directly on iMovie. I really like this and thank Samsung for choosing H.264/MPEG4 codec.

The weakness of the consumer level HD camcorder is the performance in low light. The HMX20c uses a comparatively larger CMOS (1/1.8 inch) than other HD camcorders (1/2.5 to 1/5 inch CMOS or CCD). This means the HMX20c is better in low light performance since the size of the CMOS (or CCD) is critical to accept lights, and it uses a 49mm lens, which is pretty big for a camcorder like this. So the HMX20c shows a pretty decent performance in indoor shots. I shot the video in our living room and church side by side with the Canon HG10. The HG10 also is a very good camcorder for indoor shot, however, the HMX20c is a lot better. I could notice that the shots from the HMX20c shows less grainy picture than the HG10. I take most of my videos indoors, so this is a very important factor for me. Also, I do not have any complaint about the picture quality of daylight shots. Most full HD camcorders that I see on the market already provide more than spectacular pictures and the HMX20c is no exception. The 6.4 mega pixel CMOS really does the job.

The HMX20c is a very beautiful camcorder. Its piano gloss barrel shape body looks great, and I have been always asked about the camcorder whenever I use it in public. It is very easy to grip and fits my in my hand nicely. And the user interface of a rotating LCD screen is pretty intuitive. The control menus that I use the most (white balance, video resolution, storage option, etc) are located on the root so I can use them in a single touch (LCD is a touch screen type). Some people might prefer the jog-dial like control, however, I prefer the touch screen interface because it is quick to access the features.

Another convenient feature that the HMX20c offers is that it allows to record the video in 480p SD (standard definition). Most HD camcorders only allow to record in HD and this SD recording feature can be very convenient if you want to take the video for web pages or other occasions that do not require highest resolution video recording. And the ability to take slow motion shot for 10 second is a plus for me. I will use this feature to monitor my golf swing.

There are a few drawbacks of the HMX20c. It does not have a HDMI port in it. If you want to connect the HDMI cable, you have to connect it to a cradle. And you cannot use a thick, high capacity battery because the battery is inserted inside of the camcorder and the space is already fixed for a battery. Unless the battery can have more capacity in a given size, you cannot expect to use a long lasting high capacity thick battery.

I was concerned about the lacking of optical image stabilization (the HMX20c uses a electric image stabilization) in the first place. Fortunately, I take most of my videos on a tripod so I did not recognize it. Even when I did not use a tripod, my shots were great and I do not miss optical image stabilization now.

Overall, the HMX20c is a great flash memory camcorder. I really like the low light performance and bright lens (f1.8-2.5). No motorized part inside gives very silent video without any buzzing noise. I have sold other HD camcorders that I had, and I do not miss them. The HMX20c is my only camcorder now, and this shows how much I like the HMX20c. Good job, Samsung.
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30 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2008
I should preface this review by saying that I don't own an HMX20, but I've spent a lot of time with one to decide if I should and I wanted to share my experiences. What it comes down to, in my opinion, is that this camcorder is attempting to do a lot of things that just aren't possible yet in its form-factor. It has some really neat features, but when all is said and done if they aren't practically useful and its functionality as a video recorder doesn't do quite the job of its competitors it just isn't worth buying. Unless you're thinking about buying the Panasonic HDC-SD9 for some reason, I would go with several other cameras before this one.

That said, there are some cool things. The slow motion feature is very good and works very well. The problem is that if you're buying a 1080p camcorder, chances are you actually care about having your video in high definition. The slow motion video's resolution is less than that of standard definition video, so you can't really use it for anything practical. If you're just uploading to YouTube or something like that then it's sufficient, but that's about it. You can also record at standard definition at a frame rate of 60fps. This is a little more acceptable, however you can easily get this frame rate with the less expensive Sanyo HD1000 and you can get it at 720p.

Speaking of the HD1000, there is one other similarity I'd like to point out. The HD1000 has a very poor image stabilizer and so does the HMX20. They both are really worst of class in that regard. Auto focus on both units is also sluggish and often inaccurate. Both handle low light about the same, which is okay, and take wonderful video in well-lit places (but how many camcorders don't?).

The HMX20 does have a nice feature for focusing, however. It would be more usable if the camcorder could keep the image still, but nonetheless I liked it a lot. You can use the touch screen to just touch the object you want to focus on and it will. It takes 3-4 seconds to finally get around to doing it, but it's extremely accurate. I'd love to see this implemented in more cameras and camcorders, but with a much faster operation. Canon's VIXIA line has super-quick auto focus units (Instant AF, as they call it) and an excellent optical image stabilizers (OIS). Paired with this feature, Canon would have a very nice line (not that they don't already--I think the VIXIA line is pretty much top of class in most features, and definitely top of class overall). Nonetheless, I think this is something we'll see from Sony first. While their stabilization and autofocus isn't quite as good as Canon's, in my opinion, it's still rather good and at least smoothes out any shaky motion so nobody feels like vomiting after watching your kid waterski for the first time.

While the HMX20 does record in 1080p, I wouldn't say the quality of the video is really any better than Canon's VIXIA line. While I've messed around with an HF10, an HV20, an HV30 and an HG10, I'm comparing this specifically to the HF100 that I own and love. The video quality is great for a consumer camcorder, even though it's faux-30p/24p. I think it's going to be a couple of years before we start to see proper 1080p. That said, the HMX20 is definitely a world better than Panasonic's HDC-SD9. That's probably because that camera uses three standard definition CCD sensors and pretends they're 1080p, but we're not talking about the HDC-SD9.

The body of the HMX20 is a bit bigger than I'd expected. Most cameras in its class are a bit smaller, and if you want something that can handle 1080i or 1080p at pocket size, you're really only looking at Sony's HDR-TG1 (although the Sanyo HD1000 is still pretty small and could fit into your pocket uncomfortably). That said, it fits nicely into your hand. It's easy to move. I don't really see how the swivel grip is particularly helpful but I do appreciate that you can adjust the camera to fit you comfortably. It's also pretty good looking on the outside.

On the inside--which in this case I mean the menu system--it's also pretty attractive. Not only that, it's easy to use. Samsung's organization of features, for the most part, is very straightforward and clear. It's not hard to find 80-90% of what's there and you can change settings really quickly. With that in mind, I can't even begin to understand why they designed the mode switcher the way they did. If you want to switch from video to photo or photo to playback (or playback to video again) you have to press a button. It takes a few seconds and you have to go in linear order, rather than just jumping to the one you want. If the switch were instant it wouldn't be a big deal, but if you're on playback and suddenly need to get a photo you're going to miss it. Six seconds is a long time when something just happens. While I understood that maybe they were a bit rushed with the HMX10, it doesn't really make sense that they didn't change this with the HMX20. They had time and, if they read, must have known that nobody liked the way modes switch. So far I have to favorites for switching. Sanyo doesn't really require it so that's a plus--you can just take photos any time without issue. Sony's HDR-TG1 lets you switch by flicking a button. While I don't prefer this, it's so fast and the button is so comfortable that it's actually kind of fun. If I have to switch modes to take a photo, I'd want to do it the way the HDR-TG1 does it. Unfortunately that camcorder takes relatively poor photos, though I did take a couple today and print them out and it wasn't that bad.

Photos on the HMX20 are not bad. Once again another company has pushed megapixels over quality and given the HMX20 an 8MP sensor. As a result, pictures are a bit noisier than they ought to be. Nonetheless, it does a decent job for a camcorder. So far I have yet to see a camcorder that can take a picture good enough to warrant using it for that purpose, but if you have a (D)SLR already and don't want a hybrid device for your everyday pictures (so you don't have to also buy a point-and-shoot camera) then this should get the job done all right.

The HMX20 is an AVCHD camera so it comes with all the drawbacks and benefits of being one. This isn't a review of AVCHD so I won't get into that, but if you're unfamiliar with the pros and cons of the format I'd suggest doing a little research before you decide it's for you--especially if you have a PowerPC Mac (in which case it's almost definitely not for you).

There isn't a whole lot more to say about it. It's not a bad camcorder and it has some very cool features, but the quality of the video isn't good enough to warrant buying it regardless of how neat they might be. And they're more neat in theory than in practice. The touch focus is a very cool idea but not implemented well enough to use in most situations. The slow motion is wonderful and fun but at too low of a resolution to use alongside the HD video you probably bought the thing for. If you're just planning on using it for its 1080p recording capabilities and its easy-to-use interface and controls, you'll probably be fairly happy with what you get. That said, if you intend to zoom in on anything you better be able to keep yourself stable, at least.

Overall, my recommendation would be to get something else. I say that not because this camcorder is bad--it isn't--but because there are several other options that are better. I expect Samsung to step it up in a year or two. Hopefully for them, the other companies won't get too far ahead in the same time.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 15, 2009
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
First of all, I do like the black body and the clean sleek design/look of the camera. However, it's almost a little too simple. If you're intimidated with lots of buttons, then you'll be happy with this camera. There's a large amount of space on the left side of the camera (which becomes hidden when you close the LCD) where they could have added more buttons, but they left it completely empty for a cleaner look. There's only three buttons there: "iCheck" button (when the camera is off, press this to check battery life/storage space. And if you press it when the camera is on, it will hide all the camera info on the screen for a clean view); second button with a lightning arrow toggles between flashes (force flash, red eye, no flash, etc) -- when in camera mode only; it's a useless button when filming videos. I think it would have been better if they saved that button space for something that would be more useful on-the-fly (like a quick Touch Point Focus, considering that's one of the special features on this camera, button would have been better); they should have just made the camera flash toggle by touch screen. The third button is the "Easy" Q button, like other consumer cameras seem to have this feature lately where it pretty much does auto everything (focus, exposure, shutter, anti-shake, etc) for you. Where's the fun in that? Not to mention that doesn't necessarily do all the work for you -- the way you want -- and could just give you more headaches, so I would avoid it.

I really wish they would have added a button or wheel to let you control the focus. Manual focusing by touch screening, as convenient as touch screens are, touching the arrows left or right to decrease/increase focusing distance creates more of a hassle than convenience. And that's not the only annoying thing...

********** FOCUSING PROBLEMS **********

I know you can't expect much manual controls with consumer cameras, but the manual focus controls on this camera is still not really manual. Manual focuses are pretty much restricted by their PRESETS.

My biggest complaint, and I believe this is a major flaw restriction, is that you cannot MANUAL FOCUS closer than 10cm -- even if you have Macro enabled. However, if you have Macro Focus enabled while in AUTO Mode, you can focus on objects closer than 10cm. This makes no sense to me.

Manual is always preferable because when you're trying to film something at a certain distance, you don't want the camera to go out of focus for no apparent reason, which happens a lot with this camera because of the slow auto focusing. You just can't wait for the camera to try to focus every time you pan, especially when filming something extremely close up; so I don't understand why Macro is not allowed in Manual.

I wish they would just get rid of that preset or at least have a full manual mode where it'll let you increase/decrease the focus by smaller increments.

So if Samsung is listening, please fix that macro manual restriction flaw, and also remove that preset lock and allow a TRUE manual focus; or the very least, it would be nice to have a Focus Lock while in auto focus mode. I'm sure this can be done with a firmware upgrade. I visited the Samsung firmware page but there was no firmware at all. I don't know why they have to limit the capability because of the software, when the camera is capable. When I contacted Samsung customer service about a firmware upgrade, the response I got was that they don't make firmware for their cameras. What?! Not really what I wanted to hear. Hopefully that's a typical generic customer service response and the real brains at Samsung technical team will release a firmware for us.

Now, it might sound like sticking to Auto Focus will give you no problems, but that's not really the case. I have to say, and most people agree, the auto focusing on this camera is on the slower side. This is also why it would be nice to have an Auto Focus Lock or a real manual focus because whenever you move the camera a little bit, the camera gets out of focus slightly and tries to figure out the focus again -- and that can get pretty annoying when the auto focusing isn't that fast. I guess Samsung was trying to go with the soft focusing effect, which sometimes work, but most of the time, you would wish the camera would focus faster.

**************************************************

This camera takes advantage of the touch screen and introduces a feature called the Touch Point/Focus. This is a pretty cool idea when it works, by simply touching the area inside the frame, it will focus on that object; for example, if you want the foreground out of focus and the background focused, then you simply touch the background. This feature can make it possible to do some "rack focus". However, you don't really want to tap too hard, especially if it's on a tripod, because it will cause the camera to shake. To avoid that, I usually just use the tip of my nail and VERY lightly scratch the screen instead of pressing on the screen with my finger.

Whatever option that you are in and if you hit record, it will instantly disappear the menu/screen and just start recording, so you won't have any menus blocking; this is actually annoying when you still want to have the adjustment options still open. For example, if you go to Touch Point/Focus mode, it'll display the focus frame, but once you hit record, the frame will disappear! The Touch Focus relies on the frame, so without it on the screen, the Touch Focus mode is useless. Therefore, you have to hit record first and then go to menu and select the touch point, which seems kind of ridiculous. It should allow you to be ready to focus before recording -- not afterwards.

What I like better than the Touch Point is the Slow Motion Mode where it will let you record at 300 frames per second, getting more detail of a water splash, etc. You can see a test video of it that I uploaded. However, it's unfortunate that the resolution is already determined at 448x336 AND you can only record for 10 seconds (the actual output will be 50 seconds). This is fine for YouTube, but I wish it would have at least done actual standard definition resolution. Be aware, the camera will capture less light when shooting at 300 FPS.

On the LCD flap part, it has a Quick Menu button (allows you to change the Storage, Resolution, White Balance, Focus, Exposure, Shutter. For other things such as Camera Stabilizer (it really doesn't help) or add Digital Effect (Black & White, Sepia, Negative, Cosmetic (supposedly adjusts facial imperfections), Cinema Tone) you have to access it through the touch screen options, on the bottom right corner. Also next to the LCD has an additional forward/back zoom button and record button next to the LCD, which is actually nice. However, sometimes I wish I could just simply control the focusing with those zoom buttons instead.

Touch screen, menus are very intuitive and easy to navigate. I like how when in playback mode, it will show thumbnails and tabs on the top to switch between HD, SD, and pictures. When connected to the computer, that is how all the folders will be divided separately as well. In playback, I wish it would show a scrollbar (like when in editing mode) and let you skip to wherever you touch on the bar. However, you can fast forward up to 16x.

If you want to shoot at 640x480 resolution, you have to select 480p and then set the "Quality" to Normal. The default Super Fine/Fine SD quality shoots at 896x504 resolution -- not exactly 480p. Hmm. If you want to add a wider lens, the diameter filter for this camera is 49mm. You can get a step-down ring such as a 49-37, or whatever the diameter size of the other lens is.

* Full charge battery life is 90 minutes.
* With 8GB of memory, you can record 71 minutes at 1080/30p HD.
* Picture resolutions are 3264x2448, 2880x2160, 2304x1728, 2048x1536, 1440x1080, 640x480

Overall, I am very happy with the quality and it is incredible such a small camera can produce such image quality. It is full HD 1080p, so everything is just incredibly clear and detailed. Of course anything with low lighting won't look as good as a daylight scene, etc; however, this camera does well in low light compared to others. It uses a 1/1.8" CMOS sensor. CMOS is usually noiser than CCD, and also if the sensor size is smaller. In low light or fast motion, it does become apparent. The smaller the sensor size, the deeper the depth of the field will be, which is common in consumer cameras. If you want that nice shallow depth of field look, you'll want a bigger sensor or get an adapter to be able to use 35mm lenses.

********** CHECKING THE FIRMWARE **********

I was trying to figure out how to check the firmware on the camera -- there is no mention of it on the manual -- but there was a brief explanation on the Samsung website; however, it is SOO horribly written, it only makes it confusing and most people will not get it to work or understand what the heck they're talking about. They really need to rewrite that whole explanation.

Anyway, after trial and error, I finally understood what they were trying to say... here is a better explanation:

1.) First, you have to be in PLAY MODE (where you see thumbnails of your videos) and then select the MENU (bottom right corner) on the LCD (NOT the Q. Menu); once you're at the menu screen (it should say Play Option, Highlight, Playlist, Delete...)

2.) ...you then have to HOLD the "PHOTO" button all the way down and "W" (Wide) button (next to the LCD screen, you know when you want to zoom out; not the wide button on the top of the camera) SIMULTANEOUSLY (it doesn't matter which one you press first)

3.) AND THEN, you press the iCheck button (on the side of the camera) LAST all together.

For those wondering, this is how Samsung explains it: "Push the i-check button by pressing the wide button to the left.of the LCD screen and the photo button (full shutter)."

HUH?!?!?!

Anyway, now that we can actually check what firmware version we have on our cameras, Samsung should actually release some updates. I'm sure there's a lot of things I didn't cover yet, so if you have any questions, just ask.

**************************************************

Pros:
- Sleek look / Camera is compact / size of a coke can
- Shoots Full HD 1080p
- Clear, sharp, vibrant colors -- it's HD.
- QuickTime MPEG4 (.mp4 files) H.264 - more user friendly/common than AVCHD .MTS formats
- Does pretty decent in low light
- 2.7" Touch screen (intuitive, very simple navigation)
- 8GB built-in memory / SD/SDHC Memory Card (no need to capture footage hassle free)
- Videos/Photos show up nicely on computer in easy to find separate folders/proper formats (no strange extensions/misc files or conversions needed)
- Picks up sounds really well. (but can also be a con... almost too well that it can pick up your own breathing noise)
- Swivel grip
- Copy videos on USB and can be played back smoothly on PlayStation 3 (MPEG4 H.264 15mbps variable bitrate)
- Easily edit/cut/join videos within the camera
- 3.5mm microphone jack.
- Remote control
- Cradle to charge/connect to PC/output video.

Cons:
- Auto-Focusing is a little slow -- needs improvement (seems to "soft focus" a lot)
- Manual focus is PRESET to certain distances.
- No Focus or Exposure Lock (Ridiculous!)
- Can't Macro Focus while in Manual (restricted to 10cm)
- No manual focus wheel. (adjust by left/right arrows on touch screen)
- No 24p "film" mode.
- Can't shoot at 720p
- SD not 480p - it is 896x504. (No 720x480)
- No time lapse (even their cheaper models have this feature, so what happened?)
- Slow-mo 300FPS mode can only record 10 seconds (actual output video will be 50 seconds) and the resolution is restricted to 448x336.
- Stabilizer just creates more awkward shakes.
- Widest angle is not wide at all (you'll definitely want to purchase wide angle lens)
- Must charge battery with the camera (cradle or direct dc). They could have included a stand alone battery charger.
- Must have AC adapter connected to Cradle, if you want to output to TV from it. (you can't just connect the HDMI cable to it)
- No actual physical Manual - you have to print the PDF.
- Checking the firmware is cumbersome to check. (Samsung's website/documentation does not even explain it right) They could have just simplified it by adding it under Options.

Overall, I currently give this camera a 3 1/2 stars.
The firmware that I have is v2f1-86.

********** UPDATE **********
If you go to Samsung's website and go to Consumer Products tab (on the top) and then "Camcorders" under "Cameras & Camcorders", the page seems to have an image link that says "HMX20C Firmware" on the left side of the page. The file is "s2f1n087.bin" (so it is obviously an update from 086 that I have on my camera). Clearly, the one quick line "We don't make firmware for our cameras" customer service email was a lie (not to mention unhelpful). However, they do not mention what was updated and the page that explains how to update the firmware states it also requires a .hex file. The download link only has a .bin file! This is quite frustrating. I contacted Samsung about this for better clarification, about a week ago, yet I have not received any response from them. Samsung customer service seems to give false information or just ignore emails - not very good business practice. If you try to use their website form to contact, the drop down menu doesn't even list this model (SC-HMX20C). I guess they don't even bother to fix their website, so a fix/update for a camera is even more out of the question. When a product has a firmware update feature, yet the company doesn't release updates for it or properly explain how to do it, it makes me think twice about buying their products (not to mention their customer service) again.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2008
After returning a different camcorder because of disappointing video quality I researched a bit harder and ended up buying the HMX20.

I am very happy with the Samsung- videos taken in decent light are gorgeous and sharp, well exposed, and with nice contrast. I haven't noticed compression artifacts or aliasing. Also, the ability to record progressive frames is important as I look at clips on a computer monitor, and don't really understand the point of recording interlaced images. On the downside, the electronic image stabilization doesn't appear to be that good, although I haven't been able to find a lab-test for this. This means hand-held shots at full zoom are pretty shaky, although handheld videos are fine when you are zoomed out. As the widest angle view is not really wide enough (this seems common for the current crop of camcorders) I will probably pick up a wideangle converter at some point.

As other reviews have mentioned, this camera is extremely Mac friendly, and video clips can be played in Quicktime directly from the SD card. This is very convenient, especially since a number of common editing programs dont run on Macs. Look into MPEG Streamclip, a free mpeg converter which has been very helpful.

A full battery charge has been giving me about an hour of normal recording (including zooming and a bit of clip viewing), which also seems to be about right to mostly fill up an 8gb memory card with HD footage.

Overall I have been very pleased with this camera.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2008
I had a chance to own both this Samsung SC-HMX20C and Canon HF100. Comparing to Canon HF100, this Samsung unit has:

Pros:
1. 8G internal memory.
2. 8M pixels still picture recording

Cons:
1. No optical stabilization which is my biggest complain. It has a electronic stabilization which is totally useless.
2. Hard/slow to focus compared to HF100
3. Slow when switching between Camcorder/Camera/Watching mode.
5. Slow when zoom in/out.
6. Bucky.
7. Pricy. $80 more than HF100.

In my opinion, this camcorder needs big improvement.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I am finally replacing my Mini-DV camcorder with a wonderful True HD Camcorder. The portability and capacity of SDHC cards makes this medium a more feasible form of media and this camera makes an excellent travel companion.

I also have the Samsung SC-MX20 which is an excellent entry level camcorder that is great for Youtube video and makes a great format for any other online video site like Swing Academy (for golfers out there).

Samsung SC-MX20 Flash Memory Camcorder w/34x Optical Zoom (Black)

WHAT IS IN THE BOX?

Camcorder
Drawstring pouch
User Manual CD
Quick Start Guide
Software CD (Cyberlink DVD Suite: PowerDVD 7.3, Power Producer 4.2 and Power Director 6.0 for HD)
Battery Pack
AC Power Adaptor
Multi-AV cable
Component cable
USB cable
Infrared remote control
Cradle
Core filters

To read the actual manual, you will need to load the Manual on CD. Most of the functions are explained in the Quick Start Guide.

THE SOFTWARE SUITE:

Hardware requirements (sorry, not Mac compatible):
Microsoft Windows XP or Vista
Pentium 4, 3.2 Ghz or greater/AMD Athlon FX, 2.6 Ghz or higher
Nvidia Geforce 7600GT or higher/ATi X1600 series or higher

Cyberlink Power Director is a robust video editing program for a bundled software package. You can adjust photographic settings, add special effects, trim clips, add titles, picture in picture, transitions, etc. I cannot believe software like this accompanies such a great camera. It is more than functional for a casual user, like myself.

Cyberlink Power DVD is a video player. Power Producer allows you to author a DVD.

In summary, the software suite was a very nice surprise for me. It is no Adobe Premiere but it is more robust than many software programs that accompany digital cameras and digital camcorders. Thanks, Cyberlink and Samsung. You made me a happy customer!

DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION:

Battery life indicators are an important feature of all cameras and camcorders to me. This can be seen in the indicator screen or by pushing the iCheck button. The battery indicator level, estimated duration of battery life in minutes and duration of time for recording is also shown.

Given that I have the SC-MX20, I will use it for comparison. The unit measures 2 3/4" x 2 5/8" x 5 3/8" compared to 4 3/4" x 2 1/2" x 2 1/4" of the SC-MX20. The housing hard plastic black with silver highlights. It is stylish and more solid in feel and heavier in weight than its counterpart. This is a bullet shaped camcorder with a pop up flash in the top of the unit. The strap is a suede lined velcro strap with a rotating handle that goes about 135 degrees (my guess) - unlike 180 degrees by the SC-MX20. The practicality of a rotating handle is the ability to hold the camera like a pistol, for one application. You can record from almost any angle in an up down plane (combined with the rotating screen).

The flip out LCD rotates 180 degrees and the frame has a Quick Menu Button, Zoom button and record button. The housing has a button for toggling screen information, flash (for the camera function) and the EasyQ button. A small sliding panel hides the AV and USB ports. The LCD can also be folded with the screen out so that you can watch a clip (however, the speaker gets muffled).

The top of the unit has the zoom button, camera shutter button, and mode key with indicator light. The Battery door is opened with a sliding latch lock housing the battery and the MMC/SDHC memory card. A second sliding door conceals the AC plug port. The underbody has a tripod receptacle and a cradle receptacle.

Given the more round shape on the bottom, the camcorder can roll off of the table when charging directly into the camera, so I advise using the cradle. The SC-MX20 is flatter on the bottom and does not require a cradle.

Dual microphones are at the underside of the lens housing.

The LCD touch screen is a welcome feature and is intuitive to operate. If you want to customize your video. EasyQ functions with a point and shoot mode so that taking videos is so simple that any person of any level of videography experience can start using this camcorder immediately. The LCD screen is crisp and vivid and is a lot better in quality over the SC-MX20.

Another feature that I love about this camera is that there is a lens cover that opens and closes when the power button is turned on and turned off, respectively. The SC-MX20 requires the user to manually open and close the cover.

With 8 GB of built-in memory with the capacity to add more capacity, with memory cards, the SC-HMX20C is great for many applications.

The remote is compact in size, sleek and buttons are well marked. The remote control is responsive. With the remote, you can control everything (photograph, toggle on screen display, fast forward, slow motion, play, stop, record, zoom, menu, quick menu), including toggling between video/photo and review images. You can do everything with the remote! The remote works great if you are using this to record your golf swing, self recording or reviewing the videos. The remote is the icing on the cake!

OPERATION:

The unit turns on in about 6 seconds and is slightly faster in activation than the SC-MX20. The Mode button in the back of the unit allows the user to record video, take photos or review photos/video clips with an indicator light letting the user know exactly what is going on.

With the redundancy of the zoom and record buttons, the user can operate with a one or two-handed operation. The record button at the back of the unit is awkward to push with the thumb (while the hand is in the strap) but this is no deal breaker. I find the record button easier to push with my index finger. Zoom is responsive but too quick for fine tuning.

Playback mode is facilitated through the touch screen. Tabs at the top of the screen allow the user to view SD video, HD video and photographs. A menu button on the screen gives access to features such as the slide show, delete, protect, music slide show, slide show intervals, copy, and resize functions. There is a touch screen return button. The touch screen is easy to operate, accurate and responsive. Deleting photo(s)is easy: Just select delete selected, touch the pictures to delete, click OK, and a confirmation is asked.

Taking videos is easy with the EasyQ button. Camera shake is activated, white balance, color, shutter speed, etc. are set. All you have to do is adjust your zoom and push record. This is a easy way to have foolproof operation.

For more advanced users, turn off the EasyQ button and you can access the Menu. There are 10 iScene buttons for various situations: Auto, Night, Sports, Portrait, Spotlight, Beach/Snow, Manual. You can toggle Digital Zoom off (which I recommend since there is too much pixelation with digital zoom) but 10x zoom is standard for many cameras in this tier. Guide lines are available to frame your video in 3 modes: Off, Cross, Grid and Safety Zone. Super C.Nite (Normal,Super) has excellent low light sensitivity with good color saturation. Anti-shake is decent but not entirely effective (especially with highest zoom). Focus can be set by selecting Auto, Manual or Touch object (cool!). Manual shutter can be set from 1/10,000 to 1/30. Guidelines allow a 9 segment grid, 4 quadrant grid and central zone.

Resolution can be set at 2 levels of definition: Standard (480p/60p and Slow motion) and High definition (1080/30p and 1080/60i). The fader can be toggled. Backlight for subjects in front of intense light can also be adjusted.

One of my favorite features on this camera is the Digital Effect function where you can set Black and White, Sepia, Negative,Cosmetic, and Cinema Tone can be set for a more artsy touch without requiring post-processing.

Recommended battery charging time is 100 minutes.

INTERFACE:

The A/V cable or the multi AV cable can be used. But if you want 1080p, you need to use the multi AV cable or an (optional) HDMI cable. You can watch video clips or record while attached. The LCD flips out and inverts so you can have the camcorder shut with the LCD menu out to watch your videos. The remote control is a great feature of this camera.

Additionally, the docking station has ports for power, the USB cable, component, HDMI cable or Multi AV cable.

PHOTOGRAPHIC FEATURES:

This camera functions at 4 Megapixels which allows the user to print a 4x6 photograph or smaller. That is the only size I print (despite the fact that I have a 9.1 MP digital camera, also).

The pop-up flash works well and even in low light, I get a high quality photograph. In my personal experience, this functions like a 2nd or 3rd generation digital camera. Even with zoom, the picture clarity and color was quite accurate. This makes a very good companion for a traveler since it functions as a solid camera, in addition to a camcorder (well done, Samsung!).

VIDEO/SOUND QUALITY (settings in 1080p/60):

My house has low light and this camera handles that well at standard settings with accurate color saturation and image quality. The Super C.Nite activation (normal and super) even enhance low light conditions. Given this fact, this is great as both an indoor and outdoor camera. The caveat is if you are filming in low light with a bright back light (say from a lamp), the auto-focus is unable to function. At normal C.Nite, the auto-focus works better but the color saturation is slightly diminished.

PLAYBACK

Playback through the base and component cables while charging is a great advantage. Picture quality is great on both HD and ED televisions. The remote control allows easy navigation through the menus and selection of video clips.

Video can also be viewed from the camera, and flipping the monitor back on itself allows an easy way to review your work.

PRACTICAL ISSUES:

This camera works well both indoors and outdoors. Capturing my memories in video and photographs will be facilitated easily and well with this combination unit.

To view HD on your television, although the multifunction AV cable works, I prefer HDMI inputs (since I have a free port in my Plasma):

You can only charge this camera by plugging in the unit. It would be more ideal if the battery can be charged, instead.

You will really need an additional memory card and a backup battery for this unit.

I filmed a choir singing today from about 60 feet with the camera which had low light. The picture quality was great. Zoom worked well and was accurate. Sound was remarkably good from where I was standing. This is an excellent camera, if I may say so, again! This camera has not ceased to amaze me.

GOLF APPLICATION:

I decided to try to mount this unit on a tripod and see my golf swing. It is amazing how you see what you do during a golf swing versus what you think you are doing.

I just recorded my golf swing using the remote, instead of having to push a button and running back to the 'station'. The remote access works well from about 15 feet in daylight. There is an indicator sound that beeped to let me know that the video started and there is a red light that also confirms the recording. The camcorder was very responsive to pushing the record button when I terminated the video. That was impressive! i record video in HD and SD slow motion. Great feature.

PROS:

Excellent video and photographic picture quality
Excellent sound
Simplicity in design and operation
Intuitive Touch Screen
Very good in low light situations
Easy to use menu system
Comes with an Infrared remote
Docking station has ports for outputs
Excellent software bundle for editing videos, authoring DVDs and watching videos

CONS

Average/Slightly below average Anti-shake capability
Software not compatible with Mac
Drawstring pouch necessitates a real camera case

VERDICT:

For the money and simplicity of this camera, this camcorder/camera combo is an excellent value.

For a casual user, Prosumer, beginner and even intermediate videographer would be happy with this camera. This makes a great travel camera and camera/camcorder for first time parents.

Given the utilization of flash memory, this camera is the finest of this new generation of cameras.

I highly recommend this item! Don't walk. Run to the store to get one this holiday season! You will not be disappointed.
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