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Panasonic HX-WA2 - Image Quality and Verdict

By James Morris

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

You don't get any direct control over shutter or iris, though. Also, all of these settings can only be found in the full menu, which is accessed using the menu button on the side and the joystick on the rear. So they're not quick to get to, and the joystick otherwise performs no function, which is a missed opportunity when it could have been used to provide a quick menu for some of the most frequently used settings.

The WA2 has plenty to offer digital photographers, too. It’s not going to replace a dedicated compact, but mostly for ergonomic reasons. The gun format doesn’t feel quite right for taking stills. Again, though, most pocket Internet camcorders don't offer stills shooting at all, so the WA2 already has an advantage here. You can control ISO from 50 to 1600, switch between centre, spot, and multi-point metering, and toggle between spot and 9-point autofocus. There are 14Mpixel and 3Mpixel burst modes, plus 2- and 10-second self timer options.

There's also a panoramic mode, which takes multiple images as you sweep the camera vertically or horizontally, then stitches them together to create a single wide or tall image. However, it's a little finicky about sweeping speed so can take a few goes to get right.

Panasonic HX-WA2

Continuing our comparison with pocket Internet camcorders, the HX-WA2 competes very well on image quality, as well. In particular, alongside good detail and colour, it copes well with contrasting brightness levels, neither blowing out highlights nor losing detail in shadows, which is a common issue with cheap camcorders. Low light performance is more of a mixed bag. Although brightness and colour are reasonably well maintained as illumination drops, there is some grain visible. This is still good for a camcorder at this price, but only marginally better than pocket Internet models.

Verdict

At a little over £200, Panasonic’s HX-WA2 isn't as budget conscious as pocket Internet camcorders costing £100 or less. It doesn’t quite have the immediate single-function appeal of Flip-style camcorders, either. But if you do fancy a go-anywhere pocket-friendly shooter, and are willing to pay a little extra for quite a lot more features, this is a capable camcorder for the money.

Overall Score

8

Scores In Detail

  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Image Quality 7
  • Perfomance 7
  • Value 9

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David J Noble

May 10, 2013, 10:23 am

Brilliant product
You can customise the thumbstick with most frequently used short cuts like flash on / off , times shot and other settings. VERY good . You chooses .
You should also set the camera into photo camera 1st view and set it at 10 meg 16:9 aspect for nice big shots.
Brilliant product.

David J Noble

May 10, 2013, 10:26 am

in fact you need to correct your report , what you wrote regarding thumbstick is not correct . The Panasonic actually allows you to customise what u want the joystick to do, how good is that !!!!

****** THIS NEEDS CORRECTING **** : You don't get any direct control over shutter or iris, though. Also, all of these settings can only be found in the full menu, which is accessed using the menu button on the side and the joystick on the rear. So they're not quick to get to, and the joystick otherwise performs no function, which is a missed opportunity when it could have been used to provide a quick menu for some of the most frequently used settings.

Pratap Biswas

October 15, 2013, 4:40 am

could you say me about the video recording capabilites on action.....is the camera perfect for shooting action videos like dance,sports,biking?.....this site says that there is only electronic stabilizer not optical? what that means?

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