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on November 29, 2010
Just bought the Panasonic SDR-S50 (black) for our daughter. The camera is very similar to the SDR-H60 that we have for ourselves, but is is lighter, has 50% better zoom, and only runs on SD cards. SD cards can hold more than enough video unless you are shooting an single 60 minute shot. I prefer using SD cards over the hard disc on our SDR-H60 because transfer to the laptop is much simpler with no hardware or cables. Just remove the SD card from the camcorder and insert into laptop. The SDR-S50 comes with Panasonic VideoCam Suite 3.0 which make it simple to upload to PC, Record directly to your DVD, or simple to upload to YOUTUBE. The only downside to this camera is that if you wish to upload to YOUTUBE using the simple YOUTUBE wizard in the software, you MUST REMEMBER to switch your video recording setup to WEB MODE every time you turn the camera power on. The WEB MODE recording gets reset when the camera is turned off. You can still upload to YOUTUBE, but not with the YOUTUBE wizard. Other than that we are extremely pleased with the SDR-S50. Note, don't fool yourself... if you think the 78x zoom will not be useful to you in your recordings, you are wrong. If you buy a camera without great zoom, then you find yourself looking for a new camera with better zoom! Panasonic also has the best OIS (optical image stablization)to take the jitter out of your zooms.
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on January 8, 2011
Spend 150 more and buy HDC-SD60 the high def panasonic camcorder.

I had just ordered an HDC-SD60 Panasonic with 25X zoom but was intrigued with the large zoom of this standard definition camcorder. Got this one at amazon for $150, but ended up returning it within a day.
This has nice optical image stabilized zoom but video quality is awful indoors and barely acceptable outdoors. If you need a telescope with basic recording than it probably is OK. To be fair this one would have been great for outdoor recording before the advent of HD, but cannot compete anymore.
If your budget is around 150-200, get a digital point and shoot with atleast 10x zoom. The video quality for those is better than this one and the zoom of 10x usually is sufficient for most shooting situations. Or stretch your budget a little bit and get the HD one like I did.
[...]
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on June 17, 2010
The best feature of this camcorder is the 78X optical zoom. Actually, it is about the only redeeming feature. There are plenty of zoom tests on You-Tube which convinced me to buy this model. If you are a birdwatcher and want to really get up close, this is the camcorder for you. I haven't yet tried it to record my daughter's soccer games, but I expect it will be ok, especially for closeups.

Picture quality is mediocre and somewhat dark. Low light results are poor. It could use an LED light like Sony has on some of its models. If you need the 78X zoom lens it is a great buy. Otherwise, save your pennies and go with an HD camcorder that offers better quality or a good still camera with video capability.

For everyday use, I go with a compact 12 megapixel camera that also shoots short HD 720 video.
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on February 5, 2011
For the down-at-home videographer who likes things simple, this is it. Works great, all except for the viewfinder guidelines which for some reason, I could not get to reveal themselves. I'm a semi-pro still & videographer but sometimes, I just like a carefree little videocam. This fits the bill perfectly. You'll love the fantastic ability of the zoom! Video quality was very acceptable! Very lightweight & could fit into my shirt pocket. Advice: Buy the bigger battery! The one that comes with the camera gives up the ghost in about 45 min.
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on January 22, 2011
I have only given this camera limited use, but it seems to do just about everything I could ask. When viewing the results on a 32" LCD TV, the images are equivalent to the other two video cameras I have used; a Sony analog cassette camera, and a Canon DV mini-cassette camera. Zoom range is very useful, and low-light results are better than other reviews led me to expect. A very worthwhile buy.
Lou
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on December 4, 2010
This has a great zoom. The video is not HD, but still very good. The button to control the menu is very small at takes a little getting used to. Took this to Disney Worl 3 days after receiving. I still need a bit of practice with it.
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on January 24, 2011
I purchased this camera as a gift and I was looking for something small and handy to be used for personal shooting and this serves the purpose although the quality is not so good since it being a standard definition camera. If you are looking for something to have good video quality, I would suggest to go for HD camcorder. For the price of this device and the quality, I would rate it 4.5 on 5. One more thing, the video quality in dark situations is really not acceptable.
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on March 8, 2011
This is a great camcorder. I got it because I wanted something with a really powerful zoom and this thing delivers. I got a tripod for it too and that makes the zoom completely steady no matter how many times your magnified. I'm happy with this camcorder. Oh and it powers on very fast too which I like.
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on September 25, 2010
this product is just great for anyone who doesn't care about all the bells and whistles of the more expensive camcorders. the price is great, as well.
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on February 3, 2011
Only used this product a handful of times, but have been happy with the results. The Zoom exceeds my expectations, and the image stabilization worked good during a rough and windy day on the gulf coast. The images came out sharp in spite of challenging lighting conditions. The only problem I had was when using outdoors the screen was almost un-viewable.
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