Panasonic HM-TA1 Full HD pocket camcorder
Panasonic's pocket digital camcorder offers Full HD recording, attractive looks and good image quality
- Solid video performance, user-friendly interface, attractive styling, good still image mode
- No HDMI port, limited feature set, no lens cap
The Panasonic HM-TA1 is a great choice for people who just want to do the basics. It will suit casual videographers, teenagers and bloggers on the go.
Price$ 249.00 (AUD)
The Panasonic HM-TA1 is a pocket-sized HD camcorder for the Web 2.0 blogging set. Dubbed a "multimedia mobile camera", the Panasonic HM-TA1 can be used to shoot video, snap digital photos or even as a webcam. It boasts Full HD video recording, an 8-megapixel still image mode (via interpolation) and inbuilt software that lets you upload your creations directly to Facebook or YouTube.
With an RRP of just $249, the Panasonic HM-TA1 is an enticing proposition for casual videoographers. Its video output is very impressive for the asking price, with a reliable low-light performance. On the downside, it lacks the advanced features found on some budget HD camcorders, such as the Kogan Full HD 1080p Deluxe Touchscreen camcorder and Millennius Memmoir Gold. Consequently, if you're looking to get creative with your video you may want to look elsewhere.
The Panasonic HM-TA1 is basically a high-def pocket camcorder in the mould of Cisco's trend-setting Flip Mino HD. (Sony and JVC have also entered the pocket cam market, with the Bloggie MHS-PM5K and GC-FM1 respectively.) Measuring 104x52x17mm and weighing a mere 110g, the Panasonic HM-TA1 is smaller than most digital still cameras. However, it remains easy to shoot with thanks to its large, tactile buttons. Like most pocket cams, the controls are limited to basic functions, such as zoom, record, playback and photo mode.
In terms of design, the Panasonic HM-TA1 is pretty hard to fault. The version we tested sported a glossy black finish with silver edging (white and red variants are also offered). It's certainly more stylish than the average pocket cam, which tend to have cheap, plastic cases (we're looking at you Sony Bloggie MHS-CM5). On the downside, the connectivity flaps are a bit fiddly and may break off over time. We were also disappointed by the lack of a lens protector — instead, the smudge-prone glass remains exposed at all times.
To assess the Panasonic HM-TA1's video performance, we shot footage in a variety of lighting conditions. We then played the footage back on a Pioneer KURO PDP-C509A plasma TV using the supplied Composite AV cable. Surprisingly, the Panasonic HM-TA1 does not come with an HDMI output, which is a regrettable omission for a Full HD camcorder. This means you will need to transfer your footage to a PC if you require full resolution.
The HM-TA1's 5-megapixel CMOS sensor captured some attractive looking video, with accurate colours and sharp detail. We noticed some minor ghosting during fast camera pans, but this is a common issue with pocket camcorders (after all, they are designed primarily for blogging, which is a stationary activity for the most part). We were particularly impressed by the HM-TA1's performance in low lighting, with less noise than we are typically used to. Panasonic has also included an inbuilt camera light — something that most pocket cams lack.
All in all, we were more than satisfied by the quality of our video output. Still images were equally pleasing, especially in sunny environments. If you're looking for a cheap camcorder than you can make photo prints with, the Panasonic HM-TA1 will fit the bill nicely.
For sound, the Panasonic HM-TA1 relies on an inbuilt stereo microphone that provides average audio quality. Unfortunately, there are no manual options to speak of, nor an external microphone jack. This is par for the course with pocket cams, but we really wish it wasn't. Aren't blogs supposed to be all about the dialogue? In any event, the included mic proved adequate during testing, though we wouldn't recommend it for noisy, outdoor shoots.
The Panasonic HM-TA1 offers an easy, fuss-free way of getting photos and videos on the Internet. The inbuilt software lets you upload content directly to Facebook, YouTube and Flickr — once you have set up an account, the Panasonic HM-TA1 will lead you through the prompts.
Become a fan of GoodGearGuide on Facebook
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Join the PC World newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 2 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 3 Apple iPhone 7 Plus review: including Portrait Mode
- 4 Google Daydream View VR full, in-depth review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
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.
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- TV of the year award 2016
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTBrand Marketing Manager - Premium Entertainment BrandNSW
- TPProjects Planning ManagerQLD
- CCSenior Business AnalystNSW
- TPPL/SQL DeveloperNSW
- FTChief Security Officer l CISSP l ISO27001NSW
- FTInfrastructure Solution ArchitectSA
- FTTechnology Testing Services ManagerVIC
- CCSenior Applications Project Manager - Office 365QLD
- FTUNIX / Linux EngineerNSW
- FTLife/400 Developers / Programmers - Permanent - North Ryde areaNSW
- TPService Delivery ManagerQLD
- TPPrincipal Business Analyst - DAFFQLD
- CCService Desk Consultant-Baseline Clearance RequiredNSW
- CCSCRUM MasterVIC
- PTVBA Analyst Programmer - Permanent / Part Time (3 days per week)QLD
- FTSystem AdministratorNSW
- FTCheckpoint Firewall and VPNNSW
- CCTechnical Business Analyst - Infrastructure - VirtualizationNSW
- FTMDM - ConsultantNSW
- TPBusiness Project Manager IntegrationNSW
- CCProject Manager - EDRMS ProjectQLD
- CCIT Support AnalystVIC
- CCSenior IT Digital BA/Project ManagerVIC
- FTSystems Engineer - SCCM & Lync/Skype for BusinessQLD
- FTTechnical Consultant/Systems AnalystQLD