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on July 31, 2011
I should start off by saying I have owned both the Olympus LS-10 and LS-11 and have been very happy with both. They have become an invaluable tool for recording quick song ideas, rehearsals and in a pinch when I've had to send off a song to someone with just acoustic guitar and vocals sound quality has been very good. On the strength of these, I ordered the LS-20M. I did consider the Zoom Q3HD but I have never been able to get over the flimsy feeling build of Zoom products.

First the quality is very good as I expected and video quality is also very good to outstanding. I used the LS-20M to record a performance by a band in a small venue and the results were very good. Image quality was great and sound quality blew away that of my video camera without an external mic. In the small club, the LS-20M's zoom was plenty to frame the stage nicely but I had great views of the stage and little blocking my view. Essentially, the product performed as advertised. Another plus is size. If you need to record and don't want to draw a lot of attention to yourself, this camera is a great choice as it's not that much bigger than an iPhone but longer and can be easily carried in a jacket pocket and concealed when not in use.

Now for the not-so-good...the lens placement is funky for sure. I shot nearly all of a one hour set and my arm was indeed worn out from holding the camera at the funky angle necessary to capture the performance. I would hope that future versions of this model come with a way to adjust the camera lens--that would have been a huge plus on this release. For whatever reason, Olympus did not see fit to provide us with a case for the LS-20M out of the box. I'm going to try the CS-117 Carrying Case for the LS-10 which I think will be a suitable alternative. Lastly, the shell of the recorder is made of plastic. It survived being dropped the first night from about 3 feet with no scratches but it doesn't feel as sturdy as the LS-11 (which has an all-metal body).

All in all, I'm satisfied and I'm going to keep the LS-20M however I can't help feeling that the next iteration of this recorder is really going to be the one to get.
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on November 18, 2011
I have only had this camera for about 25 days, and thank goodness I discovered this problem within my 30 day window, as it is being returned today. First, there are many positive things I could say about this device, but I feel many other reviewers sum them up very accurately. However, one defect has yet to be discussed. I purchased the LS-20M to record classical performances (such as solo piano, or piano with another instrument). I recorded using a tripod, without any movement from the camera (no panning, zooming, etc). The camera seems to shoot fine when there is consistent movement of some kind in the whole picture. Then I noticed a very obvious "digital distortion" of the image, which seemed to only occur when there was either no motion in the frame or very little motion. I am sure there is some term or further explanation for what is going on, but that is the best I can do to describe it. I have uploaded a short sample to accurately show what I am talking about:

[...] youtube. com/ watch?v=AtUzBRdoEYk (remove spaces)

I did go through every single possible setting (image stabilizer, image quality, ISO, etc.) trying every single combination - and nothing solved the problem. UPS should be picking it up today......
FYI - the max file size is 4 GB regardless of quality settings. So at 1080p that's about 40 minutes of continuous recording. I hadn't seen this mentioned anywhere, expect when I found it towards the end of the manual.
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on November 3, 2012
I'm would give this 5 Stars if not for the Charging issues. See below on charging.

I have owned the LS-10 and LS-11.

I love the Video. So many times I want to record Video and consider using my phone (which has pretty good video), but the audio stinks, so I just end up using the LS-11.

But now I can have both.

On lowest Video Quality MOV uses MP3 Embedded Audio and Won't play on stock Windows 7. You need to find drivers or a player that can handle it.

On Higher Video Qualities it uses PCM and Audio works fine. I wish MP3 was an option on the Higher Video Qualities.

It does not last nearly as long as the LS-11 on batteries. Which makes the next issue all the more important.

It WILL NOT CHARGE on a standard USB Charger, only the one that came with it works. I've tried several.

My laptop has constant on USB (when asleep) and that WILL NOT CHARGE either. Only if the PC is ON and has a data connection will it charge.

Even when using the supplied charger, DON'T WALK AWAY after you plug it in, you MUST and hit OK, TWICE before it will start charging.

Charger should have a flip out plug rather than a bulky cord you have to carry with you.

Really, could they make this any more difficult.

I've already more than once came back to an uncharged device waiting for me to hit ok.

The unit is fantastic otherwise and the Camera is exactly where it needs to be.

They could possibly fix all charging issues with firmware I think.

Also it really bugs me they didn't supply the $2.00 case that they did on the LS-10/LS-11.

I ended up using the LS-11 Case on the LS-20M and bought a LS-10 case on the auction site that ends in bay for the LS-11 (fits better).
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on July 13, 2013
Bought this over a year ago, and although I've not thoroughly "wrung it out" for testing, I've discovered some positive and negatives I figured I'd share here.

- Quite nice having higher quality, stereo audio recording integrated with HD video recording. In the past, I used a Tascam DR-1 (handheld digital recorder) with a Sony Cybershot (DSC-HX5 model), then married up the audio and video in Sony Vegas software. It's just convenient to have both in one product, though I admit I still do the Tascam/Cybershot combo semi-frequently
- The "limiter" option helps avoid digital spikes/distortion that screwed up quite a few recordings with my Tascam DR-1, though I've noticed with fairly loud recordings (drums) it can't quite compensate enough
- Light, small footprint for storage, carrying around, etc

- For video, the camera monitor/screen viewing angle being 90 degrees out from the shooting lens direction is often problematic. If I want to video everything from waist or chest height (so I can look down at the top surface of the camera and see what exactly is being recorded), or set the recorder up on a tripod and just line up the shot, that sometimes works. BUT, I've filmed from other angles where I couldn't see the camera monitor, and by just guessing what I was shooting at, I inadvertently chopped off people's heads or missed items I really wanted in the shot
- For audio, even on the lowest recording level setting and the limiter turned on, if the noise is loud enough, it will distort or digitally clip. I play the drums and have often recorded loops for working with in music software (SONAR or Propellerhead Reason), and I can't use LS-20M for this purpose. Most people might not care if they're not recording anything as loud as acoustic drums (from the same small room), but for me, it's a problem
- For video, the image stabilization function (to keep the image from shaking while filming) isn't that great. Two or three times, I've had to check and make sure it was turned on (and it was) because there was still so much image shake in whatever handheld recording I just made. My Sony Cybershot handles this MUCH better. Obviously this isn't as much of an issue if you're just mounting it on a tripod and recording stationary shots

So to sum it all up:
Decent product, with some compromises that are partially understandable, but which still impact the overall usability of the thing. I would only recommend this to someone doing a lot of still video recording (sitting or on a tripod) with audio levels that aren't massively loud (like my drums!).
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on May 17, 2012
I see nobody else seems to have any issues with this recorder. I love the fact I can direct line in for Audio and yes it does a great job with the audio recording from sound board to recorder on tripod. The Video picture as well looks great on the unit. I really was depending on this unit to do small music video for clients as promos. Its a inexspensive great way to do good quality video. In my case using a newer laptop with windows 7 it plays video on Movie maker perfect but it wont play the audio portion of Video at all. I Called Olypus they said I need to download Quicktime as thats what they format the use for the recorder, When playing back on quicktime ( which I cant edit on) the audio and video work but the video is blurry and freezes up. Being I cant get the video to work even setting the file size to the smallest the full HD 1080 just crawls behind audio. Now not being able to edit to make it a simple 90 sec music promo video makes it useless to me. I went as far as buying Sony Vegas movie hd editing software that supports Quicktime formatt as well as every common video and audio software fotmatt..I still had same issues as it did on Quicktime basic, so that was a 50.00 waste. I called Olympus support and they were very nice and said they have very little issues with the units other then some propgrams, some dont support the audio portion on microsoft ( my issue).They told me format unit which was basically no help. I dont know if the unit has a issue isolated. I really really tried everything and love the unit for what I can record on the unit.
I am having my windows 7 laptop looked at to see if maybe I can add a program or something to make it all work together. If LAPTOPS good I may exchange recorder for another unit to see if mabe theirs a glich in the recorder software.The whole concept of what it does it great, I just wish I can transfer file to edit and then burn to dvds, that is my issue and a big one.
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on September 12, 2011
I had a chance to use the camera quite a bit in the last few days. I think it works great for what I need it for. I did a outdoor venue and left the camera running and it stopped after 40 minutes. I am not sure if the battery died or if it was because the file was too large. I wish it had a light on the top to let you know that it is recording? In the indoor venue it was difficult to see if it was recording and keep checking in the dark on a tripod? Also, it would be nice to have wide angle for recording shows... you want the camera in a central location which is normally further from the stage and then everyone is small on screen!

Decent camera quality-- Outdoor was amazing, indoor difficult because of low light but it worked. Zoom did decent job -- wish it had more of a wide angle to get a closer shot of stage.
Audio quality was very good... I compared with another person who video taped the same show with an external mic ( 400 dollars) and the Olympus was just as good...

Cons: Battery life-- I got about 1 hour and 1/2 of video coverage from kids rock concert ( with stopping and starting each song) and less that 45 minutes running continuously ( not sure if file was too large to keep going) , camera lens-- wish it had wide angle, and better zoom. maybe a light on the top of camera to let you know that it is recording. I kept having to check the little screen and it was awkward in the dark because the light would go off and would have to touch something for it to come on.

All in all it is way better than the ZOOM Q3 for video and the sound seems better too! I would by an extra batter to make sure that I don't run out of juice next time!
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on January 12, 2013
I was looking for a video camera under $400 and settled on a couple of options
but when I heard about Olympus making a camera that had pro quality stereo
microphones built in I had to look into it. My brother previously owned the
LS-10 which captured cd quality audio by holding it up to a speaker (well as good
as the speaker's audio, I knew the audio would be good.
The fact that they also allow you to capture pretty good video as well....
even at the $600+ price range most camcorders still don't capture any better
audio than a cell phone.

I use this to record what most people call "nature sounds" (birds,rain,wind,etc)
and you just cannot fully appreciate how awesome the sound reproduction
is until you hear it for yourself.

There are some unique challenges because of the front facing camera/microphones
being so close together for wind filters,etc but Sheesh man,c'mon.

I have never regretted buying this recorder and even if there comes a time when
I no longer use it I'll make sure it goes to someone who appreciates getting good

The video is not the absolute highest quality but it is still very very good even in
fairly low light....and you can adjust the exposure to compensate if you have to.
I definitely recommend buying (if you don't already have) a 32 gb or higher sd card
because higher quality audio and video requires more space.

Anyways, as Forrest would say, "that's about all I have to say about that".

Oh...if you buy phone screen protectors (static charged sheets of plastic)
I simply cut them to size and covered my screen and even camera lens.
Just be patient because it takes a reasonably steady hand to place the plastic
on the tinys camera lens....but it's very much worth it!
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on May 1, 2012
I purchased the Olympus LS-20M Video/Audio recorder after reading many reviews of it and competing products. Some people complained about where the camera's lens is located on the LS-20M. For my purpose this is not a problem.

I purchased the recorder to help with guitar and voice lessons. I am a moderately advanced guitar student and my teacher often demonstrates tricky patterns that are hard to remember and almost impossible to capture by taking notes. The recorder does a great job of letting me record his demonstrations. The sound is outstanding, indistinguishable from live. And the video is clear. I find the location of the lens is perfect for the purpose of filming the neck and finger patterns on the neck.

Connecting the recorder to my computer is a breeze through the USB port. No problems at all -- the recorder is always recognized right away. Although there is no way to name your recording files using the recorder itself, it's easy to rename them when the camera is connected to the computer.

My only gripe about the recorder, as others have remarked, is the clunky "windows folders" method of organizing your recordings. A second annoyance is that the recorder doesn't come with a carrying case. Is Olympus hoping you will drop it and have to buy a new one?
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on August 14, 2015
If you are a student who cant write down as fast as your lecturer babbles important points for the exam, this is the device for you. If you had just a normal voice recorder to record lectures but then you went home to revise you get confuse on which part is which in the lecture, then this is the device for you. Period. Could have given a 5 start rating if there wasn't a 4gb video recording limit for 720p and 1080p. Otherwise, lower video resolutions can go recording about to 2 hours plus using a 32gb card. And I am fine with that. Video is clear enough and audio is superb.
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on October 21, 2015
Great device, but screen placement is awkward. Unless you are holding the device where you can see the screen, there's no way to view what you are looking at. Doesn't work well with any kind of crowd in front of you unless you're good at guessing the correct aim. I also haven't been able to find a tripod that has mobility to let you flip the mount completely over, so there are none that let the device hang, allowing you to see the screen.
Still great quality audio and video, just odd placement.
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