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on March 31, 2011
I purchased this camera with the plan of recording live slide presentations and chalk presentations on a black board. I was positively rewarded with my decision. The captured image is clear and sharp enough for one to be able to read the writing on the board quite clearly, even when used at the lowest resolution possible. I have one issue with it and that is that the lever that controls zooming does not permit greater accuracy and very often it becomes noticeably difficult to get the exact amount of zooming desired. This aside, the camera is quite manageable, not heavy at all, and gives the impression of being constructed well. The battery life is quite long at over 2 hours of non-stop recording of video. The layout of the controls is ergonomic and not difficult to master swiftly. I have not tested this camera outside as I have only used it indoors, but most of the reviews provided here attest to its extraordinary image quality outdoors. Let me suggest that people do a firmware update as soon as they get this camera as it will resolve mild technical glitches with the firmware it comes. To do so got to the Samsung website...

The video type generated by the camera is mp4 which is a problem if you want avi video files supported by Windows Movie Maker and most other video editing software. You can easily remedy this by downloading a freeware conversion program from the web. Format Factory in such a freeware, and Format Factory does it in a batch mode, which means that you can convert many different mp4 files at once. There are other video file conversion programs on line, but I found Format Factory to be the best. Format Factory will also convert mp4 files to wmv, but when using the resulting file in vista's Windows Movie Maker, I found that the resulting video would go silent after a few seconds even though the resulting wmv file put out by Format Factory had sound, something quite perplexing.

Anyway, I recommend this camcorder strongly. I would have rated it at 5 of 5 stars, but due to the zooming lever and its lack of accurate zooming adjustment, I am only giving this camcorder a 4 of 5.

I strongly recommend this camcorder.

------
After 5 months of use:

I have continued to use the camera in filming live presentations, and I am impressed with the quality of the video. I should add that even after degrading them so that they uploaded to Youtube easily the quality is quite good. I usually shoot in sd (standard definition ) and the result is quite quite acceptable. I have also made videos outdoors and have no complaints. Recently I shut an interview of a photographer friend and he found the quality and the sound quite impressive, so much that he would like to get one.
Let me actually emphasize that you should do a firmware upgrade for the camera by going to the Samsung website. I suggest that you get the fastest possible SD card for recording.

Concerning zooming, let me add that using the screen the issues of zooming accurately are significantly diminished and should be no problem.
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on February 18, 2011
I checked this camera out first at Best Buy just to make sure I liked how it felt. I was happy it had a hand strap as many of the smaller camcorders I saw do not. I did a lot of reading on the reviews for this camera and found that it rated at the top for image quality and use for an entry level HD camera. The only negative reviews were for low light recording. I had recently tried the Sanyo Xacti VPC-SH1 and found that camera to have lots of extras but the video quality in my living room at night (with all the lights on) was terrible. I was therefore very worried about ordering this camera without trying it in my home first. I read one review on this site that mentioned low light filming was OK when you were not using auto mode; so I decided to order it.

I found that low level recording was not very good in auto mode, but when you turn it on to indoor mode with the backlight on (one of the special features) the low light recording is not bad at all. This was with only one light on as opposed to all the lights on which I tried with the Sanyo. I have been playing around with this camera for a couple days now and here is a list of my pros and cons.

Pros:
- Image Stabilization
- Ease of use
- Sound is not as bad as everyone says (no whining noises that I can hear)
- Comfortable and light, easy to carry in a pocket
- Picture quality is awesome
- Low light better than expected
- Time Lapse mode is pretty cool
- Batter life is great (about 2 hours)

Cons:
- Construction does seem a bit cheap
- No separate recharger (must use power cable)
- The power cable is short (but can use extension cord if necessary, especially using Time Lapse)
- When playing back on computer, video is a bit jumpy (I played it directly on my LCD HDTV, plugging the SD card into my O!Play and the quality was perfect, no jumpiness)
- There is no physical users manual, only a CD. I'm the type of person who enjoys sitting down and reading the whole manual before playing with new equipment, this was a little letdown but not a knock on the product.
- Everyone mentions no mini-HDMI cable as a con, but to keep the price low I won't complain about it. I just added it for your benefit.

Overall, I am really happy with this camera. The zoom is smooth and the focus is better than commented on. If you have issues with the focus, you can use the touch screen to point and focus and it works well. There are not a lot of bells and whistles on this camera but it does everything it's supposed to do really well and for an incredibly low price. The image stabilization is optical rather than digital and I find this camera to be better at higher zoom than the other cameras I've tried. Keep in mind that there is no internal memory so you will need to buy an SD card. I ordered a 16gb Class 10 card but in the mean time have been using a 1gb generic SD card than cannot be more than Class 4 on a good day. I had no problem recording in full 1080i and the picture was great. I will probably stick to 720p for my recording needs as I could not really tell much difference and you get more recording time. I won't comment on the Intelli-Studio software except to say it installed with no problem and saved my videos fine. I will use my own video program as I'm sure most of you will too. The photos were OK but if you want to print any of these pictures, I would use a real digital camera instead.

Buy this camera, you will be very pleased. Enjoy
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on July 14, 2010
I did a lot of research before getting this camcorder, comparing with Sony, Canon, Panasonic, Sanyo and JVC products in the market. There is no other camcorder that provides the same video capabilities in the price range, other camcorders with same level of video quality and optical image stabilization would cost at least $200-$300 more.
Pros.
Excellent video quality, good color reproduction, ease of use, small size, Optical stabilization works very well

Cons.
You do not have a great level of control over settings.
Some issues with focusing on a subject against a busy background
A separate note on low light: looking at all the consumer level camcorders in the market, there is hardly a camera that will perform exceptionally well in low light, you either need to increase the light or avoid taking videos.
I used this for some indoor videos in average light and some concert videos which came out fairly well, so overall I am satisfied.

My need for this camcorder was to record family events and I am quite satisfied with what its delivered. for more advanced needs this may not be the camcorder.
Best results I got was with 720p and 60 fps
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on March 14, 2011
This is a great camcorder and very affordable. I like the optical zoom, but need to use a tripod or brace to use the zoom after a point. Images are very nice. I like the feature that let me take pictures of frames in the videos if I play the video. As a camera, the camcorder tends to be pretty slow. It does work and has nice image quality as a photography camera, but it does have a bit longer delay when shooting as a straight photo camera, which is not the primary function of a video camcorder. Noticed some difficulties with photos and video in low light or at night. Camcorder will sometimes seem a bit confused about depth or image target, but again, this is expected. Battery life is very good, but if you do heavy video, you may want a spare battery to have on hand. One for the morning and one for the afternoon/evening. Software that is resident in the camcorder is simple to use and camcorder itself has fairly intuitive controls. Camcorder is very small, very light, and fun to use. The case that comes with this camcorder is much too large and is not padded sufficiently. To protect your investment, I suggest a smaller case with more padding. I highly recommend the 34mm UV ring cover for the front of the camcorder. Note that it must be a 34mm, because any other size will not work on this camcorder. Also recommend getting the class 10 16GB chip for this system, so performance problems become less. The 20X optical is really neat. I've almost forgotten my pro-sumer Fuji S9000 photo camera, but like a pure camera to have for shooting. Have recommended this unit for my family and friends. Nice technology at a very affordable price.
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on September 4, 2010
Excelent entry level camcorder. The Time Lapse feature is cool. Can change video resolution to save space (these two features where the main reason I choose this model). The free software works well for amateurs and semi-pro (better than I expected). Optical zoom is excelent and digital zoom is not bad. Easy to use and intuitive. In fact, I started using the camera without reading the manual.
Cons:
1) The mic catchs a lot of noise or unwanted sounds, for example, the movement of my hand in the strap, the movement of my fingers over the camera surface, the pressing of the photo or zoom buttons, the lens zooming, my breathing and people talking behind me.
2) Photo quality is low compared with my cheap casio EXILIM.
3) No shortcuts, almost everything have to be done in the menus. For example, the time-lapse mode and artistic effects require several clicks in the touch-screen.
4) Smart-Auto sometimes fails to identify correctly the lighting conditions or have a lag of several seconds, especially if you you change of enviroment while recording. Moreover, in time-lapse mode, the smart feature is useless because it stay fixed once you start the recording. For example, to record a transition from night to day, I started a recording at night and the next morning the indicator was still in 'Night Mode'.
5) Cannot change FPS. It's fixed in 60.
6) The battery only charges while the camera is off. Maybe this is not failure but a feature to avoid damage of the battery.

It is recommended a high capacity and high speed memory card. In my case, I use an class 10 16GB card and I carry an extra 8 GB card just in case. In the future, I will have a combination of 32-16 GB because HD videos takes a lot of space.

By the way, the camera splits the videos in 2GB files but you can join then in the computer using the included software (assuming your file system is NTFS). Beware, after I updated the software it started to show an error when transfering files to the computer. Not a big deal because I can copy them manually but I suggest not to update unless you create a system restore point.

UPDATE
Sound quality is very low. The mic should be in the front of the camera, not in the top of it. Moreover, there is a permanent hissing even in a completly silent enviroment.
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on September 20, 2011
I use this camera once per week to record a church service for editing to a DVD and broadcast on our local cable channel. It has been working great for nearly a year with this regular use.

The camera does a great job capturing the service from the back of the room, especially with the 20x zoom. I don't use the built-in microphone for audio, since I prefer to get the audio directly from the sound board.

The only real issue I have (and it is a big one), is whenever a video goes over about 20 minutes, the camera creates a new file. This isn't a problem-- I can combine the videos in my editing software. The problem is this: whenever a file is created, the video doesn't get recorded for a few seconds or so. So we have 'drops' in our video 2-3 times during the service. I have called Samsung, and they recommended I reformat the card. I did this. I also purchased a second class 10 16 GB SD card. Reformatting reduced the gap to just around a second. Still not satisfactory.

The second issue, which I was aware of when I purchased the camcorder, is there is no external audio input. This has turned out to be more of an inconvenience than I thought it would be.

If not for these two issues, the camera would get 5 stars. So, if your uses for this camera involve shorter videos (under 20 minutes) buy it! If longer project, be prepared for so headaches.
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on December 3, 2010
This Camera is the best in its price range. Some complain about its indoor capability and that its color is off a bit indoors. True the color is a bit off, but the picture and other details are not grainy when compared to any other camera I have used given the lighting. Others have said it make a high pitch sound, this is easily fixed by going to the Samsung site and downloading the latest firmware, no more noise (its a rather large download 75 mb, so better use a good connection, took me 5 minutes on my cable service). The sound is acceptable for this price range. Now lets get to the SD cards, so far I have tried the Transcend 16 MB model found here http://www.amazon.com/Transcend-16GB-Class-SDHC-TS16GSDHC10/dp/B002WE4HE2/ref=pd_bxgy_p_img_b with absolutely no problems. I also used an A-data 32mb class 10 card with no problems. I even tried two class 6 16mb cards and had no problem. This was on the highest video quality. Bottom line is do not spend the extra cash on very expensive faster cards, as this camera does not need them. I also suggest ,as with any camera, to have somewhere to upload these files off the card daily so you never lose any video. Bottom line, the camera preforms great outside, better then sony's or Cannons in the same class indoorsand in my opinion a great buy. 720p produces a great video, you would be hard pressed to tell the difference to 1000p unless you have ultra perfect eyes and a very sensitive monitor. Some cameras claim to produce 1000p, but with a bad lense and or inferior equipment cannot come close to this camera.
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on October 18, 2010
After a good bit of research I decided on the Samsung H200. I used it with a 16GB class 6 SDHC and had no issues at all. Purchased camera to video tape family events and kids sports events. Camcorder had no issues recording kids soccer games and the video quality was better than I had expected. I never recorded any indoor footage. On picture quality and value I would give the Samsung H200 5 stars but unfortunatly I had issues with the lens cover. The camera would say the lens cover was closed and the display screen would be black with only the menu items showing when in fact the lens cover was open. Opening and closing the lens cover several times helped a first but eventually the camera would not recognize that the lens cover was open regardless of what I did. I returned it to Amazon for a refund.

Bottomline, great camera ruined by poor build quality.
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on January 18, 2011
I bought it because (at the moment I bought it) it was the cheapest full HD camcorder.

I liked this camera over the canon vixia because it has the ability to do time lapse recording. This is, taking still pictures every certain seconds and then merging them all together to create a fast motion video (great for seeing flowers opening and clouds moving fast).

The optical zoom is only 20x, and I say "only" because there are other camcorders out there with more than 70x, but I think this is excessive. If you zoom in beyond 20x there is no stabilizer that can prevent the image from shaking, you would need to use a tripod if you want to use something beyond 20x, so the zoom is OK.

This camcorder also has an optical image stabilizer wich is excellent considering the price rage of this little device. I also liked the fact that most of the controls are in a touch screen rather than tons of physical buttons, makes the cam look cleaner and minimalistic.

The "touch to focus" feature is great, it's something like the iphone's focus system.

Also, you can choose whether you want to record in 1080p (full HD), 720p (HD) or just standard quality.

Now what I didn't like:

The plastics samsung used to build this cam feel a little fragile and flimsy (especially in the screen).
The touchscreen is resistive rather than capacitive.
The stand alone battery charger is not included, you gotta connect the camera to the AC adapter to charge the battery.

But well, considering the really low price of it for the great features and quality it delivers, it is understandable, samsung does it this way to reduce costs.

And one more thing, some people complain about a hissing noise recorded while using this camera, but I didn't notice anything at least in my camera.

Advice 1: buy the camcorder that uses SD memory cards, because if you buy the one that has the built-in memory you'll have to connect the camera to the computer using the cable, and it is easier to just take out the memory card without the need of a cable (just like if you were using a cassette).

Advice 2: Buy a class 10 SD card, this ensures you will be able to record at 1080p (full HD) without any problems.
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on December 11, 2011
Any electronic that wont last a year deserves a 1 star but due to it taking excellent video I gave it 2 stars.

I purchased it 3/2011, its 12/2011 and it wont turn on? Ive used it maybe 20-30 times. The battery light shows green so its not the battery since its showing as fully charged. I removed the battery and used the AC adapter to power it and it still does not turn on so that tells me its the unit itself that doesnt work. Worse part is its 12/11/2011 and Christmas is right around the corner and I have NO video camera to take videos of my daughter opening up her presents!!

To make matters worse, im on Samsungs site filing an online warranty claim. Ive filled out all of my personal info, model number / serial number and when I click to finalize, the warranty service page has been stuck for over 30 mins with the caption "now processing; processing data...Please wait". Tried on another computer, same thing, so I ended up calling them to file a claim.

I will say though when it worked it took GREAT HD video!! Picture quality was excellent and the mic is ok. I wonder how long the new / refurbished one will last me, more than 9 months I hope! I would submit a video review but my camcorder doesnt work. ;)
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