Review Price £499.99
Like all other consumer-grade Panasonic camcorders apart from the initial HDC-SDT750, however, there's no facility to shoot 3D out of the box. Instead, you will need to purchase an optional lens adapter, in this case the new VW-CLT2. For Panasonic's top new models, such as the HC-X900, this is a slight improvement over the first version, as it now lets you zoom, although only be a modest 1.5x. It's also easier to attach and requires slightly less manual adjustment to calibrate.
However, on the V700 you only get the easier calibration. An additional adapter is required to connect the VW-CLT2 to the V700. This is included with the VW-CLT2, but it means the attachment needs to be screwed onto the V700, and there's no zooming facility. Even with Panasonic's top-end models, it still won't provide the 3D capabilities of JVC's Everio GS-TD1.
Panasonic has been leading the way with image stabilisation over the last couple of years, and the latest range ups the ante still further. Like the HC-X900, the HC-V700 sports the new Hybrid OIS , which adds a fifth axis of smoothing, in this case roll. In our testing, Hybrid OIS proved very effective indeed both when zoomed in and zoomed out, but was particularly beneficial for handheld telephoto work. With the 46x iZoom on tap, this is a major bonus.
The V700 doesn't offer one of the key features that makes Panasonic's top premium camcorders great for the videomaking enthusiast - a lens ring. However, it still has the same level of manual control, just not quite so easily accessible. The touchscreen is exclusively used to call up these settings, but it is a generally well designed system. A series of quick menus sits on the left edge of the LCD and can be scrolled through. In manual mode, focus, white balance, iris and shutter buttons make up one menu, so you can adjust each of these features with a few screen presses. As with most other Panasonic camcorders, manually setting iris or shutter on its own acts as a priority mode, but you can also set both independently, and there's up to 18dB of video gain available once you have physically opened the shutter as far as it will go. Alternatively, there are touch controls for focus with a single screen press.