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Panasonic SDR-S26 SD Camcorder (Black)
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- 1CCD camera system
- Records to SD/SDHC memory cards
- 70x optical zoom; 100x digital zoom
- Intelligent Auto Mode automatically selects Face Detection, Scene Selector, Optical Image Stabilizer and Intelligent Contrast Control
- 2.7-inch widescreen touch-panel LCD
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|Item Dimensions||2.62 x 2.56 x 4.97 inches|
|Item Weight||0.52 pounds|
|Lithium Battery Weight||4 ounces|
|Media Format Digital Video||SD, SDHC|
|Optical Sensor Resolution||0.38 MP|
|Optical Sensor Technology||CCD|
|Shipping Weight||2 pounds|
|Supported Battery Types||Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)|
|Video Capture Resolution||704 x 480|
SDR-S26 - Camcorder - 0.38 Megapixel- CCD - 70 X - F/1.9-5.7 - 1.5-105 MM - 2.7
From the Manufacturer
The Panasonic SDR-S26 SD Flash Memory camcorder features a 70x zoom lens that has the power you need to take dramatic close-ups of even distant subjects. But with long-distance zoom shots, even a tiny bit of hand shake has a huge effect on picture quality. That's where optical image stabilization comes in. Together, they provide clear, dynamic images of distant subjects in both still and motion images.
Features the iA function which automatically judges the scene and makes the best possible settings, so you get wonderful shots in virtually any situation. Forget about bothersome settings during important scenes and trust iA to give you the optimal shots.
With the included software VideoCam Suite, it's easy to upload a video clip to YouTube website for sharing videos with people all around the world. Expands the fun of video shooting even more.
Pansonic S26 Camcorder Highlights
Optical 70x Ultra Zoom
This 70x zoom lens has the power you need to take dramatic close-ups or get remarkable shots of even distant subjects. But with long-distance zoom shots, even a tiny bit of hand shake has a huge effect on picture quality. That's where optical image stabilization comes in. Panasonic's Advanced O.I.S. shifts a corrective lens as you shoot to help eliminate the effects of hand shake, so you get clear, sharp shots even at high zoom levels. It's an essential feature for getting the most out of this incredible zoom lens.
Panasonic's Advanced O.I.S. helps suppress the effects of hand-shake as you shoot, for both motion and still images. This system uses gyrosensors to detect even tiny amounts of hand-shake, then shifts a lens and adjusts the optical axis to compensate - all at an astounding 4,000 times per second. It also covers approximately 3 times the stabilization area of our previous SD9 model. Because the system is optical, there's minimal loss of image quality even when viewed on a large-screen TV.
Pure Color Engine
The Pure Color Engine converts the CCD output signal from a complementary color signal into an RGB signal at an early stage and extracts the low-frequency luminance component from the RGB signal. This innovative engine also achieves truly superb color reproduction for high-zoomed pictures.
Soft Skin Mode
When this function detects skin tones, it softens the focus in that area. This has a skin beautifying effect, which makes wrinkles and lines appear less noticeable. When turned on, this function makes blemishes and moles look less conspicuous, while preserving resolution in areas of the picture outside of the skin.
iA (Intelligent Auto)
Sometimes a scene is backlit or too dark, or it's difficult to get a good focus on the subject. Adjusting the settings every time is not only a hassle, it can be very tricky. That's where iA comes in. This powerful function senses the shooting conditions and automatically makes the settings and activates functions that will deliver optimal results. With both motion and still images, iA lets you forget about bothersome settings and makes it easy to capture beautiful, well-focused images.
This mode captures faces beautifully. Face Detection automatically senses the ambient lighting and adjusts the exposure accordingly, so faces are bright and easy to see. The focus also prioritizes the faces, and skin tones are smoothed. Faces in the center of the frame serve as the reference for adjustments, but the function can detect up to 15 faces in all.
Shake Detection: Advanced O.I.S.
When hand-shake is detected while shooting, the Advanced O.I.S. system is automatically activated to compensate for blurring and produce beautiful recorded images. Because the system is optical, there's only minimal loss of image quality even when viewed on a large-screen TV.
Scene Selection: Intelligent Scene Selector
The shooting conditions are detected, and the optimal Scene mode is automatically selected. Even if the subject should change, there's no need to manually redo the settings, so you can concentrate entirely on your shot.
One-touch Navigation and Joystick Control
The joystick makes the camera much easier to use, letting you control all basic operations quickly. As you shoot, just watch the image in the monitor and follow the instruction guide. You can handle a number of operations quickly and easily, without even taking your eye off the subject.
- Help Mode Not sure what a certain icon means? Just switch on the Help mode and select the icon. It's explained for you on the LCD monitor. This makes it easier to learn the icons, and you spend less time reading the operating manual.
This clever new function records three seconds of images even before you actually begin shooting. The images are held temporarily in the camcorder's internal memory, before recording onto the SDHC/SD Memory Card begins. This helps ensure that you won't miss the start of a moment you want to record, such as when an event begins all of a sudden. For example, if you're waiting to snap a shot of a jumping dolphin, you can press the REC button after you've made sure that the dolphin has cleared the surface of the water. The camcorder will record the entire scene, from the instant of the dolphin's jump until it disappears again into the sea.
Color Night View
Leave the light off. Color Night View gives you images with color even in dim lighting (2 lx). Light from the LCD is gentle and easy on the eyes, so you can snap shots of sleeping children without waking them up.
Auto Power LCD
The LCD brightness can be adjusted manually to suit the surroundings. In Auto mode, the LCD brightness is adjusted automatically in 16 smooth steps depending on the surroundings. In darker rooms it adjusts to a lower brightness, making it easier to frame the shot. Outside, it adjusts to around twice the brightness for easy viewing even on sunny days.
0.8-second Quick Start
Simply flip open the LCD and you're ready to shoot in just 0.8 second. When Eco mode is also used, the power turns off whenever the camcorder has not been operated for 5 minutes. This reduces wasted power consumption, and enables a longer battery life.
Handy for travellers, this function makes it easy to set the camcorder time when you cross time zones and again when you return home. Simply select your destination from the displayed map, and the camcorder is automatically set for that time zone. The time for two different places can be set--such as home and destination--and you can switch between the times by simply pressing a button.
Editing & Networking
Web Mode for Easy Uploading to YouTube
- Shooting YouTube limits videos to 10 minutes. In Web mode the camcorder uses a 10-minute countdown system, so you're assured that the recording won't be too long for YouTube, and you won't have to edit it down after shooting.
- Uploading The Upload mode in the VideoCam Suite (included) is automatically activated as soon as the camcorder is connected to the PC. To upload, simply choose the image file you want and click the Upload button. Encoding is no longer a hassle, as the software does all the work for you.
VideoCam Suite editing software is just the tool you need to make polished, smartly finished productions. It lets you load images into your PC for putting scenes in a different order and delete the ones you don't want with simple operation. When you're finished with your video production, you can use VideoCam Suite to reserve the edited version onto a DVD disc.
- USB 2.0 (HS Mode) USB 2.0 compatibility lets you upload a motion picture data to a PC at high speed over a single USB cable.
Connect the S26 directly to a DVD burner via a USB cable. You can then copy recordings from the SDHC/SD Memory Card or HDD to a DVD disc with easy operation. The disc you make can be played on DVD players, so playback is easy too.
VIERA Image Viewer
If your VIERA TV has an SD Memory Card Slot and can play MPEG2 files, you're equipped for spectacular viewing. Just slip your card into the slot and get ready to watch beautiful motion pictures on VIERA's large screen. You get all the fun of seeing your images on the big screen, with none of the hassle of connecting cables.
Storing on a DIGA
If you have an MPEG2-compatible DIGA with an internal hard disk and SD Memory Card Slot, saving your images on the hard disk is as easy as inserting an SDHC/SD Memory Card into the slot. This saves space you'd otherwise need for storing the recording media, and makes playback easier. And once the data is on the hard disk, it's easy to copy it to a DVD disc.
Read about our customers' top-rated camcorders on our review page: Camcorders
Top customer reviews
As it turns out, I was right.
This is an inexpensive and very compact and lightweight standard definition camcorder designed for the casual user who does not want to sink a whole month's pay into just to record some personal events.
First, the good and bad:
1) Unusually small and lightweight, this is easily carried in a jacket pocket.
2) The startup time, even when not set in Quickstart mode, is five seconds. Nice way to capture surprises on the go.
3) The iA mode, which automatically sets the iris, shutter, white balance, and other major aspects of recording, works pretty well, even though resorting to the manual settings is still required for some unusual applications.
4) The incredible 70x optical zoom is unparalleled in a camera at this price point.
5) The Optical Image Stabilization is considerably more effective than the more common digital stabilization found in all other cameras in this price range. Just don't expect to get away with using the full 70x zoom while hand holding it, though!
6) The MPEG2 format used for recording is easily handled under my admittedly eccentric choice of operating system, Linux.
7) The SDHC storage medium allows random access to recordings, easy deletion, no moving parts, and a storage medium that is handled under even Linux with a cardreader. Also, the camcorder itself is recognized under Linux, so the files can be manipulated through the integral USB port if desired.
8) The manual settings allow the user to adjust for unusual conditions, such as low light, just as long as you READ THE MANUAL FIRST, then experiment a bit on your own.
9) The camcorder is almost noiseless in operation, so there is no clicking from a DVD, whirring of a hard drive, humming of a DVC drive motor, or motor from the lens being zoomed in and out.
10) The integral lens cover, which is built into the front of the camera surrounding the lens, cannot be lost.
11) The barrel surrounding the lens area is threaded, allowing accessories, such as wide angle and zoom lenses and filters, to be screwed in for special applications. Those accessories are easily found right here on Amazon.
12) Hey! It even comes with a proper printed manual, a rarity in this day of PDF manuals available only on CD-ROM or via websites.
1) It would have been nice if Panasonic had added a microphone jack to allow a separate microphone to be used. However, the integral microphone works rather well on its own.
2) In certain applications, especially indoors, the image can take on a reddish cast when using the default iA setting. This is easily overcome by adjusting the white balance for incandescent lighting, though, so no real problem.
3) The battery life of ~1 hour is rather short, and requires opening a cover on the bottom to replace when discharged. I already ordered two spares and a standalone charger.
4) This may be looked at as good or bad, depending on your opinion, but the battery does not charge with the cable plugged in while the camera is in use. I actually look at this as a good thing, since it does not wear out the battery by discharging it while it is charging, which can cause premature failure of lithium-ion batteries. It simply runs directly from the power cord when plugged in, which is no real problem, as far as I am concerned.
5) Even at the MagicPix setting, designed for extreme low light, this camcorder will not work in a completely dark room. I don't really even worry about that. If I really wanted to record in such extreme conditions, I would spring for a considerably more expensive night shot camcorder. It still does pretty well, in low light, as long as there is at least 2 lumens of light present.
My opinions on this are that this is unusually good for a camcorder in its price range, especially for its two main selling points of its fantastic 70x optical zoom and optical image stabilization.
It is so simple to operate that even a young child could understand it, using the nicely automated settings.
Yes, there are some circumstances that call for manual intervention, but the people griping about this, especially those attempting (apparently) to take footage inside a cave, would be well advised to READ THE MANUAL and not expect the impossible from such an inexpensive camcorder.
I was able to take some nighttime footage with this, with only sodium and mercury vapor light illumination, and it did pretty well.
And while it is true that my naked eyes are good in light far lower than this can handle, I have a more realistic expectation of it than some of the more critical people out there.
I intend to have a family member use this next year for my wedding, and I am confident that it will work just fine for that, too.
Nice work, Panasonic!
I have owned a few others and none of them had true O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilization) and I assure you that this one does. My others had E.I.S. (Electronic Image Stabilization) and believe me there is a big difference. I have noticed a few other reviews on this camcorder, and some say the image stabilization works great out to 20x and good to 40x 70x is still tripod territory. That's good advise as a tripod will assist in producing great videos with virtually no camcorder movement. Please don't be confused between the O.I.S and plain old camcorder movement, with camcorder movement at 70x optical zoom the object that you are looking at may move somewhat due to arm and body movement, BUT notice with O.I.S. the image remains clear and crisp, with great detail, even with some hand shakiness. With E.I.S camcorders, which usually have less zoom capabilities, approx. 40x optical zoom, you'd notice while zoomed out, not only is there camcorder movement BUT the image is also a bit blurry and has limited detail, due in part to hand shakiness. So don't be confused or fooled by plain camcorder movement or the difference between O.I.S vs. E.I.S, as Panasonic's SDR-S26 with O.I.S and 70x optical zoom will absolutely exceed your expectations, as did mine, and amaze you with a spectacular camcorder experience. I am an extremely satisfied owner of the Panasonic SDR-S26 Camcorder, and I know you will be also.
You can also search the WEB for the Panasonic sdr-s26 and view some of the you-tube video zoom tests that were performed by camcorder owners and see the quality of the O.I.S. and the 70x optical zoom for yourself.
P.S. Don't forget to pick up a SD/SDHC flash memory card (preferably a 16GB, priced around $40.00)and possibly an extra battery (part # B-9681, priced around $14.00) both at AMAZON.COM.