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Panasonic HDC-HS100 - Panasonic HDC-HS100

By James Morris


  • Recommended by TR
Panasonic HDC-HS100


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For those times when you can’t be bothered with manual settings, however, Panasonic offers its iA Intelligent Auto mode. This builds on the features added with the SD9 and HS9. In iA mode, when illumination drops below a certain level, the Low light scene mode is automatically enabled. If the camera detects human faces, it will turn on Face Recognition and the Portrait scene mode. It will also enable Spotlight or a Scenery landscape scene mode in certain conditions. Otherwise, Panasonic’s Intelligent Contrast is enabled, which boosts detail in bright areas and shadows. We found the iA mode’s detection abilities were generally pretty accurate.

The HS100 also has a viewfinder, which is a very rare sight on consumer High Definition camcorders. In fact, only a handful of HDV models still include one, such as Canon’s HV20 and HV30, or Sony’s HDR-HC9E. So the HS100 and SD100 are unique in this respect, as the only AVCHD models with this feature. It’s not the most ergonomic viewfinder ever made, being fixed. Therefore, if you fit a longer-life battery it will be particularly hard to use. However, it will still come in handy on those occasions when the LCD is hard to see. A switch nearby toggles between the two.

Of course, it will come as no surprise that a camcorder with all these features also incorporates a standard-sized accessory shoe, for attaching third-party external microphones and video lights. The requisite microphone minijack can be found on the front, underneath the lens, which isn’t the best place for it. The AV jack can be switched in the menu to become a headphone socket, so you can monitor audio quality. Overall, there are almost no important semi-professional features lacking with the HS100, with the exception of a progressive shooting mode.

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December 13, 2008, 6:16 pm

I've just taken delivery of my Pana HS100 and can say it's the best gadget I've bought ALL YEAR...and I've bought an ipod Touch so that's quite a statement. Just had a baby and needed to update my previous Sony Mini DV unit which served me well for years. Not sure where you're getting your prices from TR but www.webelectricals.co.uk sold me one for 𧼏 including free delivery.

Anyway - I particularly like the quality of the colours. I thought my Sony had it covered but the colour of the output with this have to be seen to be believed...it's like looking through a pane of glass not a digital lens. I hate it when I take a photo or moving shot and then look at the image and all the colours are different (to reality) so you have to mess around with the settings...and then reset them for the next shot. This seems to adjust according to the environment which is what 'point and click' customers want!

john salkeld

December 22, 2008, 1:30 pm

i have a imac with final cut pro can any one tell me how to get the video on to the mac never mind finalcut pro if i cant do this its back to the shop and money back


January 25, 2009, 6:29 pm

The image on the LCD looks perfect but when I transfer it to the computer or tv it appears liney and often a little grainy. I brought it back to the shop to see was it a setting I was using but it wasn't. Has anyone had this problem? For the price and good reviews I have read I expected a LOT more!

For the previous question which i'm sure you have discovered at this stage - Firstly install the program disc onto your computer. Connect your charger to the camera and plug the usb into the computer. So now you have two leads attached to your camcorder.

Open the LCD screen on your camcorder and you will see 3 options appear. Choose "PC connect".

When using your video editing software there should be an option to import media.


February 16, 2009, 9:50 pm

I bought a HDC-HS100 last month on my way to Aus.I am delighted with it, especially the sockets for independent mike and headphones, and the Manual focus, audio,and white balance. The lens ring is an added bonus.the pics look really crisp too.

I too am struggling with getting the footage onto my windows xp computer.apart from using the composite lead, which ofcourse lowers the definition.I've tried loading the cd rom , it appears I need the windows xp service pack 2.I'm loath to download anything I'm not sure about, I'm trying to contact my comp dealer.Apart from the above I am delighted with it.

Ian 14

May 20, 2009, 6:32 pm

Hello James, I am looking at buying my first HD camcorder. I was taken with the SD card version of this but then saw the newer SD-200 version being similar to the 300 you review very positively here.

So the choice - go for the older but with more features 100 or sacrifice the viewfinder, external mike and light for the 200??

I have not seen one against the other in a review yet. What say you?

Many thanks.

Mike Lacross

June 10, 2012, 11:08 pm

Hi. I got my self a HDC-HS100 from the Ebay! but it came with NO software. Anyone have any idea where I can get some from?
Many thanks

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