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Panasonic HDC-SD100 review




  • Recommended by TR

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Panasonic HDC-SD100
  • Panasonic HDC-SD100
  • Panasonic HDC-SD100
  • Panasonic HDC-SD100
  • Panasonic HDC-SD100
  • Panasonic HDC-SD100
  • Panasonic HDC-SD100
  • Panasonic HDC-SD100
  • Panasonic HDC-SD100
  • Panasonic HDC-SD100
  • Panasonic HDC-SD100
  • Panasonic HDC-SD100
  • Panasonic HDC-SD100
  • Palmcorder HDC-SD100 High Definition Digital Camcorder (Flash Memory - 16:9 - 2.7" Color LCD - 12x Optical/30x Digital - 8GB Secure Digital SD Card)


Our Score:


Panasonic has been resolutely sticking with CCD technology for its camcorders, where even JVC has switched over to CMOS sensors for its latest GZ-HD10 and GZ-HD40. Now, with the HDC-SD100, even this last bastion is making the switch. But instead of moving from its former three-CCD to a single larger CMOS like the rest, Panasonic has opted for three-CMOS instead, which it is calling 3MOS.

The trio of CMOSes in the HDC-SD100's 3MOS system are 1/6in in size, so as small as the CCDs in previous models such as the HDC-SD9. These also only offer 610,000 pixels each, so you're not getting the full resolution of HD for each colour channel as you do with professional three-chip camcorders. But Panasonic has augmented the 3MOS with a new HD Crystal Engine image processor, to make the most out of the new sensor array.

The SD100 records to SDHC memory only, although there will also be a larger, but similarly featured HS100 model that will incorporate a hard disk. The SD100 offers four recording mode options, somewhat cryptically called HA, HG, HX and HE. The HA mode is the top option, but the top three record Full HD at 1,920 x 1,080. Only the most economical HE mode drops down to 1,440 x 1,080. Data rates range from a healthy 17Mbits/sec for HA to a miserly 6Mbits/sec for HE - but you will notice the extra compression. An 8GB SDHC card will store an hour of footage in HA mode, or three hours of HE.

Even though Canon's HF10 and HF100 finally put AVCHD on the map as an alternative to HDV for serious videomaking, the HDC-SD100 has a few features not even these Canon models offer. In particular, this is the first AVCHD camcorder we've yet seen with a viewfinder as well as the usual LCD panel. It also offers a lens ring - a feature almost as rare.


September 1, 2008, 2:19 am

Man! If this had slow mo recording function (hi fps recording) this would be the perfect replacement for my Sony HDR-HC3E. Does anybody know if there is such a ideal camcorder around or about to make an appearance.

Martin Briley

September 2, 2008, 2:13 am

You didn't address one of the primary questions any camcorder buyer should be asking: Does this thing shoot real progressive images?

Nobody but NOBODY should be shooting interlaced video anymore. And people need to be aware of half-assed, fake "cinema" modes that are not true progressive.


September 13, 2008, 11:17 pm

The storage of the videostream (according their user manual) is always in 50i mode (2:2 pulldown), the video itself is progressive.

James Morris

September 15, 2008, 2:00 pm

This is pretty common. All HD-capable software understands 50i, but far fewer apps can do 25p yet. So a lot of camcorders store 25p in a 50i bitstream, for wider compatibility. Otherwise, the camcorder will need a special mode supported in the software.


December 15, 2008, 2:44 am

Can anybody tell me how can Panasonic shot full progressive HD if they only have 3x610K (520K effective)pixels? For full HD at least you need 1920x1080=2073600 pixels.


December 17, 2008, 5:48 pm

Panasonic needs 3 chips (520k effective pixels) for 3 colours. For size transfering Panasonic needs one row of pixels more and one column more ... For better imaging: every time for one frame is divided into 4 periods: in the first period the data are transmitted into the memory matrix (cells: 1,3,5,...), during second period there is one row shifting in the chip and data are transmitted into the memory matrix (cells: 2,4,6,..), in the third and fourth period it became the same action but with column ... So it is created one image with 1920*1080 size from only 4*520k size... in time of one frame.


December 30, 2008, 11:57 pm

How does the SD100 compare to the Canon HF11??? Of course the Canon HF11 has the 32GB internal memory on top of allowing you to add more memory with an SD card.

But over all, which one has the BEST set of features/quality?



December 31, 2008, 12:01 am

Also, I forgot to ask... does it have the 24p (cinema mode) that the Canon HF11 has? Would the 32GB storage that the Canon HF11 has be a VERY important factor that would make me want to buy it instead of the Panasonic SD100?

James Morris

February 17, 2009, 4:13 am

Better late than never... the HF11 has the best image quality, but the SD100 has the best manual features.


May 1, 2010, 9:26 pm

I want to buy this camcorder, but I have to ask something important for me first...

I own an old and small, but trustworthy, sony mini-dv, but I don't want to buy cassettes all the time!

I usually film live concerts with vivid and sometimes strobe lights and I use the wide/tele option all the time!

When using a sony with hard-disk instead, my filming was interrupted all the time (catastrophic, it was a disaster)... disk consistency, overflow (or something like that anyway, the camera wasn't mine, I had borrowed it, so to hell with it) etc. ...

Would I have the same troubles by shooting on HD, having to use Flash Memory?

Should I buy a High-Speed SD Flash Memory with it or it's unnecessary?

Thank you all!

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