- Captures and stores video of exceptional quality, 5.1 channel audio
- Compression format means you can't edit video yet, limited included software
The current editing limitations are significant, but once the software catches up, the Panasonic HDC-SD1 will be an excellent camcorder.
Price$ 2,419.00 (AUD)
The Panasonic HDC-SD1 is a camcorder that can capture outstanding footage, but you can't edit the video just yet.
We were originally skeptical about a camcorder that records high-definition video onto an SD Card. What kind of compression is going on behind the scenes to make it fit? However, our doubts soon faded, as the HDC-SD1 captures and stores video of exceptional quality. Unfortunately, for the moment, the compression format it uses introduces a different problem: an inability to edit your video.
At its best quality setting, the HDC-SD1 records 40 minutes of 1080i video to an included 4GB SD Card. This camcorder uses the AVCHD format developed by Panasonic and Sony. When we tested the HDC-SD1, no video editing software supported the format, but Sony says it will offer a free update in the near future to allow its Vegas video editor to import such files. Users of the HDC-SD1 also need a very powerful computer to edit the video once the applications to do so are available, as well as an HD-DVD or Blu-Ray drive if they want to export it from a computer in HD. Forget about using the software included with the camcorder. Athough users can use it to export standard-definition video to a DVD, it's nearly useless beyond that. You are unable to use it to watch your footage in full-screen on a computer.
Since the camcorder has component outputs and an HDMI port, however, you can play back the unedited footage in high-definition on an HDTV. Video we captured in well-lit settings looked gorgeous, and even video taken in relatively dim, indoor rooms looked surprisingly good. Importantly, it was much better than footage from the standard-definition camcorders we've reviewed. The HDC-SD1's microphone captures 5.1-channel audio, too. We weren't able to test it with a surround-sound system, but it sounded quite good through standard television speakers.
Panasonic says the HDC-SD1 is the smallest HD camcorder yet, and it's certainly far more compact than many standard-definition models, despite its larger-than-average, 3in LCD. The tube-shaped body measures roughly 2.5in in diameter and 5.5in long, so it's very comfortable to hold. The HDC-SD1 has some manual controls, though they could be easier to use. To adjust the shutter speed, for example, users must press a tiny joystick on the back once for each step in speed (you can't just hold it down).
Overall, while the current editing limitations are significant, once the software catches up, the Panasonic HDC-SD1 will be an excellent camcorder.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
- 2 Sony Xperia XZ review: turbo-charged last-gen phone
- 3 Sony X9300D and X8500D UHD 4K TV review
- 4 Hisense Series 7 ULED 4K UHD TV review
- 5 Moto X Force review: Leading features from a mid-range phone
Latest News Articles
- AT&T will acquire Time Warner for US$85.4b in content play
- Facebook adds Apple TV and Chromecast support as video push ramps up
- Remocam review: This security camera can control your home appliances
- Logitech's C922 webcam is the revered C920's vastly upgraded successor
- FBI faces lawsuit because it's stayed mum on iPhone 5c hack
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: The new best Android phone
- Japan Robot, gadget and car expo slideshow
- Panasonic DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review: Best all-round TV ever?
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSystem Engineer l Applications & SOE PackagersNSW
- CCDynamics AX Functional ConsultantQLD
- FTProgram SchedulerNSW
- CCSenior Developer - C++/Perl/PythonNSW
- TPSenior Full Stack .NET Developer - AngularJSNSW
- CCPOS EngineerNSW
- FTApplication Programmer - Software - HealthVIC
- CCContract Systems Analyst (JAVA/J2EE/Web) 161014/SA/922Asia
- CCSenior Business Analyst, Margin ProjectsNSW
- TPJava Developers X 2QLD
- FTBackup Engineer with Commvault ExperienceNSW
- FTSenior Perl Developer | Infrastructure | TelecomNSW
- FTMicrosoft Dynamics AX Functional Consultant Advanced Warehouse ManagementACT
- CCSenior Siebel Business AnalystACT
- TPSenior Software EngineerQLD
- FTSenior Architect | Perl | Linux |MySQL | Infrastructure | TelecomNSW
- TPiOS Developer (Mobile)NSW
- TPHelpdesk/Level 1 SupportQLD
- FTDynamics CRM DeveloperVIC
- CCSolution Architect - PeopleSoft HCM Global Payroll 9.1 -9.2 .VIC
- FTMid Level Web DeveloperNSW
- FTSoftware / Web Development ManagerNSW
- FTNetwork EngineerACT
- CCDigital ProducerNSW
- FTSenior Business Analyst - Telco - Melbourne CBDVIC