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Panasonic HC-V210 - Manual Settings, Image Quality and Verdict

By James Morris



Our Score:


Panasonic HC-V210 - Design and Screen

Another area where the Panasonic V210 puts up a fight against the smartphone and compact camera competition is in its size. This camcorder weighs under 200g, and measures just 114mm along its longest edge. You could almost carry it in a large trouser pocket, but it would certainly fit unobtrusively in almost any bag. With a quoted 150 minutes battery life, it certainly fits the bill as a camcorder you keep with you just in case.

Despite its small size and portability, the Panasonic HC-V210 V210 still offers Panasonic's customary full complement of manual settings. The 2.7-inch LCD is not a touchscreen, however, so most settings are accessed via the D-panel and buttons on its edge, with just a few discrete buttons for toggling manual mode and switching image stabilisation on and off. If you don't want to leave most of this to the camcorder, the Intelligent Auto mode will detect conditions and attempt to set an appropriate scene mode, such as Low Light.

Panasonic HC-V210

Panasonic HC-V210 - Interface

There are still some options available, even in this mode, accessible by hitting the Enter button on the LCD edge to call up the Quick Menu and then using the D-panel keys to make a selection. Backlight compensation can be found here, as well as tele macro, and the ability to enable onscreen grid lines and the Pre REC function, which buffers video so you don't miss a shot by pressing the record button too late.

If you do want to take a little more control, manual mode adds a few more pages to the Quick Menu. These include white balance options, with four presets alongside fully manual and auto. Manual focusing is available, although this is rather fiddly to control with the D panel. You can turn on the Intelligent Contrast mode, which brings out detail in shadows and highlights, as well as Colour Night View.

Most impressive for a camcorder this small and keenly priced is the ability to adjust iris and shutter independently in manual mode. The iris can be varied between F/16 and F/1.8, and then up to 18dB of video gain can be added on top. The shutter can be adjusted between 1/50th and 1/8000th. The shutter can also drop to 1/25th automatically in Low Light mode, but you can't select this manually.

Panasonic HC-V210

Panasonic HC-V210 - Image Quality

In good lighting, the V210 shoots rich, detailed footage. The colours are vibrant and the picture sharp. Image stabilisation is not as powerful when shooting handheld as with the Panasonic HC-V520 and more premium models. But these have the best OIS currently available, and the V210's Power OIS is still good, with the Active Mode in particular smoothing out the slow undulation of walking rather well.

Low light performance is also pretty decent. However, while colours remain rich to pleasingly low levels of illumination, there is some grain visible. The noise is not particularly unsightly until you get below regular room lighting levels, though, so this camcorder still fulfils our usual criterion of being able to grab home events faithfully under artificial lights.

Should I buy the Panasonic HC-V210?

If you're looking for a sub-£200 budget camcorder, the Panasonic HC-V210 would fit the bill very nicely. It doesn't have the Wi-Fi capabilities of the Samsung HMX-QF30 or JVC's Everio GZ-EX515BEK, but it is cheaper than either. We would still suggest investigating these if you have a little more to spend, but the extra premium of the V210 over ulta-budget models such as JVC's Everio GZ-E15 is well worth it, with much better image quality and features.


The Panasonic HC-V210 provides decent image quality and a good level of manual features in a small, keenly priced package.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Image Quality 8
  • Perfomance 8
  • Value 10

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.


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!


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.


October 14, 2014, 4:58 pm

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

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