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Panasonic HC-V210 review

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Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

Pros

  • Good image quality
  • Keen price
  • Capable optical image stabilisation

Cons

  • No WiFi features
  • SD card slot on base of unit
  • Mediocre still image abilities

Key Features

  • 1/5.8in BSI CMOS with 2.51Mpixels
  • 42x optical zoom; 72x Intelligent Zoom
  • Power OIS with Active Mode
  • 1080/50p AVCHD 2.0 format at up to 28Mbits/sec
  • Manual focus, shutter, iris and white balance
  • Manufacturer: Panasonic
  • Review Price: £191.72

What is the Panasonic HC-V210?

The Panasonic HC-V210 is a budget HD camcorder with more manual features than you might expect for the price and size.

There has been discussion about whether camcorders are really worth buying these days, especially at the budget end of the market. With compact digital cameras and smartphones offering quite passable video recording now, there are increasingly good reasons why you shouldn't bother with a camcorder unless you are a videomaking enthusiast. So Panasonic's budget-priced HC-V210 has a lot to prove to justify its existence.

Panasonic HC-V210 - Features

Things get off to a reasonable start with the basic specification. This sub-£200 model uses the same 1/5.8-inch CMOS sensor as the higher-end HC-V520, with back-side illumination (BSI) and a gross 2.51Mpixels, of which 2.2Mpixels are used when shooting. This is more than enough for Full HD, and bodes well for image detail, while the BSI technology should help boost performance in low light.

The Panasonic V210 also punches way ahead of the non-camcorder competition for zoom factor, too. The basic optical zoom is 42x, which can be increased to 72x in i.Zoom mode, although this kind of zoom usually takes advantage of spare pixels, which the V210 doesn't have. But even the 42x optical zoom is about twice what the best compact super-zoom digital cameras offer.

Probably the most impressive inclusion for a camcorder at this price, however, is the optical image stabilisation. This is something very few phones have, and is often missing when shooting video on a compact camera. The stabilisation comes in the form of Panasonic's Power OIS, rather than the more capable Hybrid OIS found in the HC-V520 and above. It also lacks the OIS Lock and Level Shot functions, but Active Mode is still in evidence.

Panasonic HC-V210

The single SD card slot on the bottom of the Panasonic HC-V210 is used exclusively for recording, as there is no memory built-in. This is not the best location for the slot, as if you do happen to be using a tripod and want to change memory cards, you will need to take off your tripod's quick release plate. Admittedly, though, this is probably not the kind of camcorder you would use regularly on a tripod.

The Panasonic V210 records in the AVCHD 2.0 format, so provides quality modes up to Full HD at 50 progressive frames per second and a 28Mbits per second data rate. There is also an MP4-based iFrame option which uses 28Mbits per second but a resolution of 960 x 540, plus a 640 x 360 mode with a miserly 1.5Mbits per second aimed at internet usage.

At the top 28Mbits per second setting, a 16GB SD card will be enough for around 76 minutes of footage. It's also possible to take 10-megapixel still images with the V210, at a resolution of 4,224 x 2,376. You can't grab stills when recording video, though, and with only 2.2Mpixels of the sensor used when shooting stills, the images will involve interpolation.

Dan Bullard

September 15, 2013, 1:35 pm

I take issue with the statement "mediocre still image abilities". I've been taking photos like this with this camera and I think most people would agree that this is better than mediocre.

Edward

October 14, 2013, 9:41 am

I suppose that your photo (very nice and spectacular photo, congratulation) has taken when the camcorder was in "REC" mode, according to the article review ( "It's also possible to take 10-megapixel still images with the V210, at a resolution of 4,224 x 2,376. You can't grab stills when recording video, though, and with only 2.2Mpixels of the sensor used when shooting stills, the images will involve interpolation" ).

At regular size your photo has trace of interpolation; look at the border of crater or the edge of Moon section, you can see bilinear (or bicubic) interpolation effect of image scaling method used to grab stills on HC-V210.

This upscaling action invents, literally, information to reach higher resolution, cloning around pixel by pixel group informations through convolution algorithm.

It is a nice photo for a camcorder with a 2.2 Mpix native sensor resolution, but for a camcorder publicised to reach 10 Mpix of native still image resolution, in my opinion that is not a good of quality photo.

I prefer an image taken in good quality native sensor resolution without bad quality scaling trace (like Canon Legria R series - it's only an exemple) in place of a pseudo-photo (technically speaking) taken in good quality in native sensor resolution (by camcorder system processor) upscaled to hi-resolution (by camcorder software-algorithm) losing image quality, gaining resolution.

From Italy, destroyed by EURO.

Feed your passions, have a nice day.

Dan Bullard

October 14, 2013, 5:45 pm

I would agree that the image quality is not 10MP quality. My Kodak ZD 710 (7.1MP, 10X zoom) does a better job in terms of clarity but doesn't have this amount of zoom. Also the Panasonic has a far better focusing algorithm, it doesn't lose things all the time like my Kodak does. I've tried cameras up to 24MP and they are inferior to my Kodak and to my Panasonic HC-V210. As you clearly explained, they are no longer quoting the true resolution of the sensor which sucks. Still, the image quality is not mediocre. I returned a 24MP Sony because it was worse than this camera which is pretty surprising!

Edward

October 16, 2013, 8:51 am

Thank You for your answer (for your time and so on). The description of your adventures traces a path.

But object of your description is not linked to "image quality" (the quality of image file) that, as i demonstrated, is not so good for a 10 Mpix image; but it is linked to camcorder abilities.

So your are right: camcorder video features are "workhorse" abilities taking still image. In fact, when you move from "grandangolo" focal length to "teleobbiettivo" focal legth (as you said) the HC-V210 software changes dynamically the aperture size and also the BSI sensor's elettronic photon response without moving focus lens from subject. Panasonic HC-V210 in this situation is a top performer.

And your photo shows the perfect modulation of these gauge.

In fact look at clarity and brightness (relative to light situation) in contrast to dark side of the Moon and dark Cosmo on the back: i think that it is perfect.

But these are video-camcorder abilities (over the top in this price category).

So when you grab still image, native pixel image density (related to aperture size - fuction of focal length) is decisive and when part of these pixels is "forged artificially" unfortunately, inevitably, you lose image quality.

So, as i said in the Incipit of my previous comment, your photo is great ( i envy you :-) ); it is a demonstration of the great video camcorder lens-group abilites of HC-V210. But, according to previus explained technical reasons, image quality isn't so great.

I don't know if it is possible to take still image during video recording with HC-V210; usually in this situation camcorders grab still images in native resoltution (about 1920x1080) without upscaling image file (like a frame capture).

I suppose that (if it is possible) the relative pixels density decreases (there is no upscaling treatment too) and, at the same video-camcorder abilities, the perception of image quality increase losing convolution algorithm artifact.

Try it if you can, and post your image to complete the path.

Other suggested examples show that size does matter... of lens group :-). And we could have 110 Mpix on a 1/5 inch sensor surface but without a great aperture size focusing on a optical correlation focal length the image quality won't be exciting.

Thank you for your time. Have a nice day... and life.

dakshinamurti

October 14, 2014, 4:58 pm

What is the file format? Is it a .mp4?

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