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Samsung VP-MX20 - Samsung VP-MX20
Pressing the menu button calls up more manual options, alongside further ways to access the settings already mentioned. Aside from manual or automatic focusing, the MX20 also has Samsung's version of Face Detection in this section, although it's not entirely clear what this is doing when enabled, if anything. White balance presets include Daylight and Cloudy for natural light, or Fluorescent and Tungsten for artificial illumination. The Back light compensation mode can be found buried here, which renders it a little too inaccessible. The menu is also the home of the iSCENE preset modes, which include Sports, Portrait, Spotlight, Beach, and Snow, plus a couple of more quirky options, including High Speed, Food, and Waterfall.
A potentially fun option is Interval recording, which creates time-lapse effects by capturing a single frame after a fixed period. You can set how frequently each frame is captured, and how long you want recording to be performed. The intervals can be from 1 to 30 seconds, and recording duration from 24 to 72 hours, or ‘infinite', which effectively means until the memory card is full. So if you fancy recording clouds move or grass grow, this could be the camcorder to do it. Although the MX20 has a three-hour quoted battery life, you will be better off enabling the time lapse function with the AC adapter plugged in. There is a readout in minutes of how long the battery has left, which is very useful.
This is a comfortable camcorder to use, too. Although the form factor is essentially the same as the HMX20, the MX20 is lighter and the handgrip swivels, so it's easy to operate with one or two hands. However, despite the presence of manual controls, there are few other concessions to the serious video maker. No accessory shoe is incorporated for attaching third-party peripherals, no microphone input, and no headphone jack for monitoring audio levels.