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Panasonic HDC-TM10 review

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Summary

Our Score

8/10

User Score

Review Price £428.90

Panasonic’s top-of-the-range HD camcorders, such as the HDC-HS300 and HDC-HS200 are our current favourites at the premium end of the market. But the company’s lower-end HD models, such as the HDC-SD20 and HDC-HS20 haven’t convinced us quite so strongly. Now we have the HDC-TM10, which (despite the model name) is actually a newer model than the SD20 and HS20 generation.

Whereas the HDC-HS20 and SD20 looked like smaller versions of Panasonic’s higher-end camcorders, the TM10 uses a rather different design relying mostly on silver rather than black plastic, which some might find less stylish than the previous generation. However, most of the baseline features are the same. The sensor is an identical 1/6in CMOS with 1.47-megapixels, and the lens a Leica Dicomar with 2.95-47.2mm focal length and 16x optical zoom. However, the filter diameter has been reduced from 43mm to 30.5mm, as the camcorder is quite a bit smaller, weighing 278g rather than 321g.

The microphone has reverted to stereo, rather than the 5.1-channel surround array found on the SD20 and HS20. On the plus side, the Advanced Optical Image Stabiliser now has an Active Mode, which we first encountered with the HDC-TM350. This smoothes out camera motion even more effectively than the basic setting, and is intended for when you’re using the camera when walking or otherwise in transit. We found Active Mode generally competent, although it does appear to cause a slight reduction in image quality, which is presumably why Panasonic has kept the original setting available.

Being a TM model, the TM10 comes with flash memory on board. In this case, you get 8GB, which is enough for an hour of footage at the top quality mode, but you can use the SD card slot to add more. Panasonic is still offering 17Mbits/sec as its top data rate, rather than the 24Mbits/sec Canon and JVC now provide for their latest models. The top three quality settings record Full HD at 1,920 x 1,080, but the bottom HE mode uses 1,440 x 1,080, as with HDV, and allows you to fit three hours of footage within the supplied memory. You can also take still images at 2.1-megapixels, which equates to the standard HD resolution of 1,920 x 1,080.

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John614

December 14, 2009, 2:33 pm

I am new to camcorders, but I'll never understand why none of you seem to care about a) wide angle, or b) quoting focal lengths in 35mm terms. It strikes me the only way to get wide angle footage is to splash out a lot for an adaptor, or to buy a video enabled compact or DSLR. Your review quotes the lens's focal length, but this alone is meaningless as different sensors are different sizes. Why is it that camcorder folks don't care about the wider end? Having a camcorder with a 50mm wide end makes it impossible to use, as you have to stand so far back all the time. Great for zooming though, but not when shake starts to appear.

James Morris

December 14, 2009, 4:26 pm

There are actually camcorders on the near horizon which take this into account... but I can't tell you more than that right now! ;^>

John614

December 16, 2009, 3:51 pm

Ooh OK, I'll hold me breath until the new year! I wanted to discuss this issue on your forum but it won't work for me. Where has it gone? I just get an error page. Perhaps if it's gone for good the forum link should be removed from your homepage?

cdmc

December 17, 2009, 12:54 am

Hi,





I'm thinking about a HD camcorder at the moment. I think this or the SD only version seem great value at their current prices. I'm wondering how they compare to the Sony HDR-CX105E? I see that the pannys have OIS, whereas the sony has DIS. I found in my Canon (FS100)that it was not as good ( I had a Sanyo for all of a week for the same reason). How do they compare for IS and in low light?

cdmc

December 17, 2009, 1:01 am

Oh can I also ask if the low light footage would be better with more gain?





Regards

John614

December 20, 2009, 3:37 am

The best place to ask those questions would be the forums. Have I missed the announcements from TR as to where the forums have gone?

Dave Cleverley

April 2, 2010, 2:16 pm

I'm a total newcomer to digital video having owned a few analogue video cameras in the past of which I was pretty impressed with at the time and served me well. I purchased the HDC-TM10 on a whim a few weeks back (not at the cheaper end of the price range either!) from a Euronics store. Generally the unit performs quite well in 'iA' mode with image stability and auto focus etc working well. My only disappointment relates to poor colour balance where all reds seem to have a 'pinky' hue and blues are weak plus considering the resolution is supposed to be 'Hi-Def' the images are noisy (even in brightly lit situations). Exposure compensation I find to be a little 'hit or miss' and stills are no better than from my mobile phone!


All in all I'm slightly unimpressed. Maybe I should have spent more time looking around for a better price that would have sweetened my views of this less than impressive piece of kit. I'd give it no more than 7/10 overall.

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