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Considering the bargain price, we weren't expecting particularly amazing video performance from the H10. Despite the HD resolution, video quality can't hold a candle to the top Full HD models from the likes of Canon, Panasonic, Sony, JVC and Samsung. In adequate lighting, colour fidelity could only be described as acceptable. Some reds had a tendency to wash out and veer towards orange. The aggressive compression also smoothed out detail too much and light areas blew out, losing detail entirely.
We found the H10 had problems focusing in lower light, too. This was a shame because colour performance was generally quite good and the level of grain not excessive. Overall, the H10 performs above the level of a compact digital camera pressed into service to shoot video and definitely ahead of a mobile phone. But it's not even close to the same league as premium HD camcorders.
Unfortunately, despite the H10's comparatively high sensor resolution, it didn't particularly prove itself as a digital camera either. Colour fidelity was good, but the overall picture looked very fuzzy. This wasn't helped by the necessity of pushing down quite hard on the photo button to take a photo, making it difficult to keep the camera steady.
Video is recorded as AVIs using H.264 MPEG-4 compression. We found this a little problematic for editing software. Corel VideoStudio Pro X2 was able to import the files but was extremely sluggish editing them. Premiere Elements 7 also imported the footage and after some hesitation was quite fluid editing it but with occasional stalls. CyberLink PowerDirector 7 imported the files but then crashed when we tried to play them on the timeline. So overall we can't give many plaudits for the H10's compatibility with mainstream video editing apps.
Despite its low price, the Camileo H10 still has HDMI built in, although this is a mini socket so requires an adapter to connect to a TV. Amazingly, Toshiba actually includes an adapter cable in the box. It's only 1.2m long, but that should be enough for HDTV hook-up. You even get a remote control, for leisurely lounge control. For analogue TVs, a minijack is incorporated with a breakout cable for composite video and mono audio.
When a camcorder offers HD shooting at this kind of price, it's hard to be too critical. After all, 2008's top selling camcorder, the JVC Everio GZ-MG330, is more expensive for just standard definition, and the Panasonic SDR-S7 costs about the same, and that's standard definition too. The Toshiba also gets extra brownie points for including an HDMI cable. But the video performance is not significantly better than the standard def alternatives, and editing the results is much more of a pain. So, whilst the Toshiba Camileo H10 is still good value, videomakers on a tight budget would still be better off forgoing the HD nametag for something a little more practical.
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