Panasonic HDC-SD600 review

Full review: Triple CMOS, touch panel Full HD video camcorder with Leica lens

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Panasonic HDC-SD600 main
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Panasonic HDC-SD600 lcd shut

High definition camcorder captures great movies with excellent sound

Replacing previous HS200 and SD200 models, the Panasonic HDC-SD600 boasts a serious set of features, perfect for anyone serious about shooting high-definition movies.

The sophisticated feature set includes a large 35mm Leica 12x optical zoom incorporating a stereo zoom microphone, 1920x1080 Full HD AVCHD format video recording plus 14 megapixels stills from a triple CMOS (or ‘3MOS’) sensor array.

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The Panasonic HDC-SD600’s design is robust and the rounded body a little bulky for its class, with dimensions of 62x66x126mm and a weight of 325g without battery. But slip a hand under the provided strap and you can get a firm grip for steadier shooting without the aid of a tripod. Incidentally a screw thread is provided on the base should you want to add a tripod. The provided battery pack slits onto the back of the camcorder where it rests in the centre of your palm.

Output to a PC or TV is via standard separate USB or AV ports, plus there's an additional mini HDMI connection for latest generation flat panel sets.

Panasonic HDC-SD600: Power and controls

Composition is via flip out widescreen ratio 2.7-inch 230,400-dot LCD with touch control, in the absence of additional electronic viewfinder (look to the more advanced 700 series models for that). We found the menu screens a little unfinished looking however, with thin type, though use of the touch panel controls is intuitive.

Recording is via a familiar red button located beneath your thumb, still photos are shot using a separate shutter release button on the top plate, located just behind a raised ridge lever for the zoom. Both the latter controls fall readily under the forefinger. Unusually a lens hood is screwed onto the filter thread at the front as standard, helping prevent pronounced lens flare when shooting in bright sunlight.

The Panasonic HDC-SD600 incorporates some auto features from its stills cameras, including scene and subject recognizing and parameter-adjusting intelligent Auto with face recognition feature.

To avoid camera shake at extreme telephoto setting, the company signature Power OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation) kicks in. There’s also a flash built in just above the lens.

Panasonic HDC-SD600: Performance

Low-light performance has been enhanced on this model, its manufacturer claims, by a grandly named Crystal Engine Pro processor that boosts sensor sensitivity whilst reducing noise (visible grain) into the bargain.

The SD600 delivers natural realistic colours and sharp detail, but the real standout, thanks to the stereo zoom control, is the sound quality: crystal clear without any microphone hum nor background buzz., ultimately this plucky if bulky (for its class) Panasonic has most, if not all, bases covered.

The Panasonic HDC-SD600 is out now, find out more from Panasonic

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Specifications:
Sensor: 1/4 3MOS sensor 7.6MP (3x 2.63MP)
Max resolution: 1920x1080, 50p
Still images: 14MP
Lens: Leica Dicomar Lens 12x optical zoom
Stabiliser: Power O.I.S
LCD: 2.7in 230,400p
Sound: Dolby Digital
Connectivity: HDMI Mini, USB 2.0, AV
Storage: SD/SDHC/SDHX
Dimensions: 62x66x126mm
Weight: 325g (with battery)

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