The HD55 isn't exactly jam packed with manual features, but it does have a little more on offer than the recent YouTube-oriented offerings from Flip and Creative. A rocker on the rear adjusts exposure from -2 to +2 EV in half increments. A single push of this rocker also turns the LED video light off and on. A switch on the side alters settings between portrait/landscape focus and macro modes, both of which are fixed. However, all the remaining manual configuration options require a trip to the menu, which again calls upon the rocker.
You can choose between four different White Balance presets - sunny, cloudy, neon and tungsten, or opt for fully automatic. But no manual mode is available. There are also two digital effects on offer. You can shoot in black and white or sepia, although as always we recommend you leave such treatment to the editing stage. A Night Mode can also be selected, which appears to allow slower shutter settings to let more light in, at the expense of a reduced frame rate.
If you switch the dial on the back into Set mode, you can also change between PAL and NTSC video modes, but this only refers to the video output standard, as all videos are shot at 30fps. You can also select a 50Hz or 60Hz frequency. This refers to the base shutter multiple used, to avoid AC power flicker from lighting. Not surprisingly, though, there is no input for an external microphone nor an accessory shoe to mount it on.
Whilst the HD55 comes with a 1,100mAh Lithium Ion battery pack, it can also run on four AAA batteries. So if you're out and about when the supplied power source gives out, you should be able to pick up alternatives so long as there are shops nearby. The power supply also charges externally, so you can leave the Lithium Ion pack regenerating whilst you use the camcorder on disposables.