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Panasonic HDC-SD60 review



Our Score


User Score


  • Excellent video quality
  • Comprehensive range of recording settings


  • None at this price

Review Price £315.50

Key Features: 35x Zoom; Full HD recording; Optical image stabilisation

Manufacturer: Panasonic

TrustedReviews Awards 2010 image

Panasonic currently has a strong position at the high end of the HD camcorder market, with recent models such as the HDC-TM700 offering an almost perfect blend of enthusiast features and image quality. But more budget-oriented models like the HDC-TM10 sacrificed a little too much to be similarly dominant in their respective price range. In particular, the choice of a 1/6in sensor meant low-light performance wasn't quite on par with the likes of Sony's Exmor-equipped HDR-CX105E or JVC's Everio GZ-HD300.

So, for its 2010 entry-level HD range, Panasonic has upgraded the CMOS sensor to a 1/4.1in unit. This week we look at the HDC-SD60, which was released alongside the TM60 and HS60. All three models offer nearly identical features, the main difference between them being the recording medium used. The HS60 captures video to a 120GB hard disk, so is a little larger than the other two, which are identical in dimensions. Of these, the TM60 incorporates 16GB of flash memory, whilst the SD60 only offers a single SD card slot, so you have to supply your own storage. Other than these differences, the video features are the same.

Panasonic HDC-SD60 front angle

The larger sensor used in all three new models also has more than twice the resolution of Panasonic's previous generation, with 3.3-megapixels instead of 1.47-megapixels. So there is now ample resolution for Full HD, and a healthy dollop of interpolation has been added to provide digital stills up to 5-megapixels. Video recording options remain the same as before, however. The 1080/50p mode introduced with the TM700 and SD600 is not present, and Panasonic still hasn't added the top 24Mbits/sec data rate available for AVCHD, which both Canon and JVC already offer. So the highest-quality Full HD mode uses 17Mbits/sec, which means around an hour's footage will fit on an 8GB SDHC card.

Despite the larger sensor, which would usually be accompanied by a reduction in zoom for basic optical reasons, the SD60 actually provides an increase in this area. The optical telephoto has been boosted to a very respectable 25x, and Panasonic takes advantage of the excess pixels on the CMOS sensor to provide an additional iZoom function, which isn't accompanied by the usual loss in image quality associated with a regular digital zoom. This takes the factor to a whopping 35x, which we found very useful indeed for capturing footage of the aerial displays of the Red Arrows flying team, for example.

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Ben H

July 12, 2010, 1:32 pm

I've been using the HDC-SD60 for just over a month, and am very pleased with it. I was blown away by the image quality, and the optical image stabiliser provides for really steady shots and smooth pans even at relatively long zooms. The unit is small but comfortable to hold (even with my large hands), but a bit too big to be described as pocket sized. It would be good if you covered 'real world' battery life in the review - I've found it to be about 1.5 - 2 hours use, and expect many people will want to invest in spare battery (which is not particularly cheap). Overall, I've found it very easy to use and have got some really impressive footage.

Jay Pain

July 14, 2010, 3:09 am

I had this camera for about a month as well and the people that saw the footage over the HD TV were godsmacked at the quality. I really like the long zoom that this camcorder offers and I can actually zoom into the moon but with up to digital 60x zoom. The OIS it does its job pretty well at full zoom which is a plus. The standard battery lasts 2 hours and some minutes, but I've recently bought an extended battery for about 80+ pounds which gives me additional 4 hours recording time. It can also record 2 hours of recording in highest quality using 16GB SDHC card.


July 14, 2010, 9:21 pm

I read a lot about how the low light of this camera is not really that good. What do you owners think of that aspect ?

Jay Pain

July 15, 2010, 2:01 am

Low lighting or indoor lighting is ok which is the same as found on most high end camcorders. You can find a lot of videos which include low lighting, zooming etc on youtube.


July 16, 2010, 2:36 am

thanks for your input !

James Morris

July 16, 2010, 3:27 pm

As I mention in the review, low light performance has been noticeably improved over previous Panasonic camcorders at this price, although it's still behind the top-of-the-range HD models.


July 18, 2010, 2:37 am

Been trying to find the ideal smallish camcorder with decent low light performance for months and been checking this site daily.

Was tempted by the http://www.trustedreviews.com/... but the image stabilisation looked shocking.

I think I've found what I want now !


July 20, 2010, 9:12 pm

@James I am comparing SDC60 and SDC600. From what I can find from both reviews I think SDC600 is better spec with 3MOS and more mega pixels and 50p recording. Am I right in saying that SDC600 is worth spending £200 more than SDC60 if one can afford to.

Alex 2

July 25, 2010, 2:58 am


I have been comparing cameras for weeks! The SD60 looks very good at the price, and depending on your needs may be better than the SD600 because of the 25x - 35x zoom.

On the other hand if you are happy with the 18x intelligent zoom of the SD600 then that looks great, but the SD700 offers the lens ring and accessory shoe plus external microphone port for £100 more.


July 26, 2010, 3:05 am

@Alex thanks for your comments. I am kind of confused between SD60, 600 and 700. But then I decided that shoe accessory box is not required as I am not going to shoot as a professional. Its just for home use and bit of product videos to put on some websites. And so decided might be worth saving £100-150 and go for SD600. Then I came across SD60. As far as I have read and found out, SD60 don't have 3MOS sensors. I was thinking it might result in better video quality in SD600 as compared to SD60. But as you said the price difference between SD700 and SD600 is just £100-£125. That makes decision even more difficult.

I think as James have reviewed all three of these so was thinking might be he can give his view on whats best between SD60 and SD600. My opinion is SD600 must give better quality than SD60 as price diff is not small between these two plus I think SD60 don't give full HD

Alex 2

July 26, 2010, 5:50 am


The SD60 does give full HD ... just look at a picture, it says on the side 'Full HD' :-)

The SD600/700 definitely give better image performance because they have 3 sensors the same size as the SD60's 1 sensor.

This is especially beneficial for low light performance i.e. in the house in the evening, parties etc.

Here is the Panasonic page for the SD60:


You will see that it can shoot video at 4 Lux (lx) whereas the SD600/700 can go down to 1.6lx (~half the amount of available light)

However James' video review shows excellent low light quality on the SD60 - it even looks as good as the SD600! This confuses me :-)

I have decided that I will buy the SD60 because of the zoom and the price difference (half the cost of the SD700 which I would otherwise purchase)

However, if the SD700 had 25x zoom I would probably get that.

Also, I don't want to put you off but you should be aware that some people complain that the fan on the SD600/700 makes noise which is picked up on the video.

Alex 2

July 26, 2010, 6:00 am


I think your reviews are great, but I would like to suggest a couple of things:

1.This business with 1/2.6" etc is really confusing. Could you also quote the size/area in millimetres of the sensors?

2. I would love a comparison feature like that have at dpreview for digital cameras.

Also, I was trying to find certain models reviewed on another site here on TR but couldn't. These included a number of Canon models such as HF S21.

I hope you can persuade Sony to start giving you models for review. Good luck with that! :-)


July 27, 2010, 12:09 am

@Alex SD60 definitely is not able to shoot 50 progressive HD

Alex 2

July 28, 2010, 3:25 pm


50P - indeed not, you're correct.

Also, the 600/700 have an electronic viewfinder which you might like.

@James another site comment: the lack of a specification table for every model is a glaring omission.

My SD60 arrives today. I hope I will not be disappointed!



August 27, 2010, 11:06 pm

AAaaahhh what to do !! The SD60 or SD600? Not a professional at all , and with my impending 1st addition to my family arriving I need to buy a cam! SD60 is HD but not 50P as said above but is the SD60 picture quality good enough? I have a panasonic 42" Full HD plasma that I would be connecting it to........ just have to decide, SD60 or SD600, please help!?


September 8, 2010, 2:54 am

@ JAMES MORRIS - What is the difference between 1080p and 1080i. If I were to be shooting video, to then edit, and post onto You-Tube. I have been googling for information on the Panasonic HDC-SD60 and also the Sony HDR-CX115E beacuse they both shoot in 1080i not 1080p. What's the big difference? Thanks for the review of this product also hope you can reply or anyone who can help me.

Jonathan 1

September 24, 2010, 6:08 pm

Hi all, Thanks to you all for your comments here. I'm a first time buyer and my partner and I are about to get a puppy and start a family. I'm interested in the HDC-SD60. Apart from the short battery life, are you aware of any genuine drawbacks/ marked disadvantages to the HDC-SD60, given how I intend to use it? Thanks all!

Conan Brown

January 14, 2011, 3:46 pm

Hey guys I am really interested in buying this camera. Have a little project to work on and it should fit the bill. Couple of questions though, as there is no mic input on the device is the sound quality good enough to perform interviews? and is there any way you can attach a mic input? Also I would like to have a live feed running from the camera through a computer and onto a projection screen, is this possible with this equipment? Thanks for any help.


April 26, 2011, 7:44 pm

£299 from Argos - no SDHC disc included, but they're easy to buy.

Kyle Hannan

April 6, 2015, 11:20 am

I have both Sd60 and SD600. There is no contest in terms of footage quality. The SD600 is dramatically better. The best footage I've ever seen in a non-pro camcorder. Those 3 sensors deliver natural colours, no fringing, incredibly sharp images and even has pro level 'Zebra' image-calibration options. It's an amazing camera. I have not seen a single sensor camcorder which comes close to this yet.

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