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Panasonic HM-TA20 review

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Panasonic HM-TA20
  • Panasonic HM-TA20
  • Panasonic HM-TA20
  • Panasonic HM-TA20
  • Panasonic HM-TA20
  • HM-TA20 Digital Camcorder - 7.6 cm 3" LCD - Touchscreen - Live MOS - Orange (16:9 - 5.1 Megapixel Image - 2.9 Megapixel Video - AVCHD - Electronic IS - Full HD - Speaker, Microphone - HDMI)

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

Pros

  • Toughest pocket Internet camcorder
  • Decent video performance

Cons

  • Fewer features than some competitors
  • Non-removable battery

Key Features

  • 1/4.1in CMOS sensor with 5.33Mpixels
  • Full HD shooting
  • SDXC-compatible SD memory slot
  • 4x digital zoom
  • Waterproof, shockproof and dustproof
  • Manufacturer: Panasonic
  • Review Price: £141.19

The fall of the Flip has taken the wind out of the pocket Internet camcorder genre. But if you just want a cheap shooter you can slip into your jacket or trousers and not worry too much about, this format is still a valid choice. The concept makes even more sense if you throw in a bit of resilience to the elements, because then you really can take the camcorder wherever you like. Sanyo was an early adopter with the Xacti VPC-WH1, and JVC followed suit with the PICSIO GC-WP10A. Since then, we’ve had Kodak’s PLAYSPORT Zx3 and Zx5. But the granddaddy of toughness is Panasonic, and its latest entry into the market is the HM-TA20.

The specifications of the TA20 aren’t that groundbreaking, however. It’s based around a 1/4.1in CMOS with a gross 5.33Mpixels, which is fairly par for the course for a pocket Internet camcorder. Video is recorded at Full HD, 720p, VGA or iFrame resolution, the latter being the quarter-Full HD (960 x 540) format aimed at Mac compatibility. However, all of these operate at 30 frames/sec. The TA20 doesn’t offer a 60 frames/sec option for smoother motion. Digital photography is also available, with VGA and 8Mpixel options, plus both standard aspect and widescreen 2Mpixel choices. Finally, you can use the TA20 as a digital voice recorder, with a range of format options on offer.

All the TA20’s functions are accessed via a 3in touch-sensitive LCD, which uses resistive technology and isn’t the most responsive we’ve come across. It still offers more menu space than Kodak’s Zx3 and Zx5, making it a little easier to operate. Unfortunately, though, the range of settings isn’t so extensive, with no direct control over exposure or microphone level, unlike the Kodak competition. You get a 4x zoom, but it’s only digital, so reduces resolution when used. There is a small selection of digital effects available, including black and white, sepia tone, and soft skin. You can also manually enable low light mode and the built-in LED video light.

costa

June 27, 2011, 7:56 pm

I really don´t get these flip like things.
A year ago I got a Samsung WP10 for 150 Euro.
It is roughly the same size, water and dust proof, has a 5x optical zoom and a good working digital image stabilisation and makes good 12MP pictures and captures good detail in the 720p video.
I doubt that with that tiny sensor and lens there is even enough detail for a 720p container.
There was a reason Flip went down the drain, these things are obsolete.

Dirk1959

July 3, 2011, 5:43 pm

This looks like the General Electric DV1, same specifications etc... Just, that GE is almost 1 year old. I have one and it's a great toy :) I use it mostly for quick snaps and movies at work and it's perfect for that.

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