- Decent low-light performance
- Touch-screen LCD
- Manual features
- Relatively expensive for a budget model
- No accessory shoe
- No mic input
Review Price £307.00
Although pocket Internet camcorders have drastically reduced the entry-level price of HD video shooting, you still need to spend at least £200 to get a decent fully featured model. Panasonic’s cheapest units haven’t dropped significantly in this area. So you will need to shell out around £300 for the HDC-SD80, which isn’t quite Panasonic’s budget offering, but just a rung up.
The HDC-SD80 is not the SD90 without as many bells and whistles. It uses a smaller 1/5.8in CMOS with just 1.5Mpixels. So although it records Full HD, there’s a little interpolation involved to make up the full 2.07Mpixels of this format. Even more interpolation is involved in the maximum still image resolution of 2,304 x 1,296, which the SD80 can even manage at the same time as shooting video.
Despite being a lower end model, the SD80 still offers Panasonic’s latest Hybrid OIS. This blends electronic and optical systems to provide even more powerful stabilisation, tuned to smooth out the low-frequency vibrations caused by shooting whilst walking, as well as the higher-frequency jerkiness associated with handheld work whilst zoomed in. There are two modes available, although the second of these is aimed at still image mode.