The Panasonic HX-DC1 is a beautifully light-weight and petite camcorder with a futuristic pistol-grip design. Even though it is extremely light to hold, it still manages to feel robust and sturdy and is of Panasonic’s usual high quality build.
It appears to be geared primarily towards a right handed user, with a curved surface on the right side and a flat surface on the left. This provides a comfortable grip in the right hand, leaving the thumb free to easily access the menu, settings and shooting buttons.
When held in the left hand however, the grip felt slightly awkward and even a little uncomfortable. It was also fairly tricky to navigate the menu buttons with the thumb.
The HX-DC1 comes packed with some impressive features including a 14 megapixel stills capture resolution, 12X wide range zoom as well as full HD (1920 x 1080) recording.
A couple of bonus features worth noting is the capability to connect the unit to your TV through an HDMI cable (not included unfortunately) as well as great stereo sound capture, thanks to the fact it records with two-channel audio.
The files are recorded in MPEG-4 format, which means they are easy to save to your PC and quick to upload to YouTube or a similar site, so you can share them with your friends and family.
Depending on the situation, you can easily switch between high-quality still images to Full HD video. You can also capture 2-megapixel still images while recording a video by simply pressing the Still button
The large 3.0″ wide-screen LCD monitor is also a great feature and the brightness can be adjusted to suit the situation. The screen also rotates through approximately 285º, which is fantastic for when you need to shoot in awkward spots or up high for example, so you keep your subjects in full view at all times. It really allows you to adjust it perfectly to suit your personal needs.
Quality and Performance
Optical zoom is surprisingly smooth and easy to use given the size of its compact body. Image quality is impressive but does drop off substantially in dimly lit environments. Still images are pretty good too. The detail is clean and crisp thanks to the 14Mp resolution, but I did notice some element of noise in low light.
Video quality is pleasing, especially in good lighting conditions, providing sharp and clear picture playback at minimum zoom levels. However, the quality does deteriorate as you work your way through the digital zoom range. Plus, I did find it became difficult to hold steady without the use of a tripod at the fullest 12x zoom range.
The battery is lithium ion and lasts for around 35-40 minutes. This may be enough for short bursts of footage, but if you are at an important event, such as the Olympics where you will be filming for long periods at a time, then this will fall short when you need it the most, which is a bit of a shame.
To get round this, you might want to buy a spare, or two, batteries so you never have to worry about getting caught out at important moments.
Another addition to the box I should mention is the small plastic lens cap. It simply clips onto the front of the camcorder and ensures the glass lens stays perfectly protected from dust and scratches whilst not in use.
Here’s some more articles you might like:
- Tips on Buying a 3D Video Camera
- What are 3D cameras and camcorders?
- What to look for when choosing a camcorder
- Sony Bloggie 3D – The New King of Quick Video Capture
- Panasonic HDC-SD90 HD Camcorder Review
- Full HD Video
- Easy to switch from video capture to still photo option
- Small and light enough to slip into your handbag or pocket
- Large 3 inch wide screen LCD monitor
- Poor battery life
Overall, I cannot help but love this little gem by Panasonic. It pretty much ticks all the boxes for a relatively small price tag, aside from the poor battery life.
It certainly packs a punch when it comes to lots of great features and is so small you can slip it in your pocket, so it’s always with you and ready to capture those all important moments.
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