Panasonic HC-V500




  • Sophisticated optical image stabilisation
  • Lots of manual features
  • Decent image quality


  • No accessory shoe or audio minijacks
  • Not quite budget pricing

Key Features

  • Review Price: £292.20
  • 1/5.8in High Sensitivity CMOS with 1.5Mpixels
  • 42x zoom; 50x iZoom
  • Hybrid OIS+ optical image stabilisation
  • AVCHD Full HD at 1080/50p
  • SDXC-compatible SD memory slot

Panasonic regularly graces the top of our Recommended list for premium camcorders, but its budget models haven’t been quite so all conquering. They’re good, but not usually priced as keenly as their competitors. The Panasonic HC-V500 arrives with a street price somewhere between £250 and £300, which on the face of it puts this model in the same category as predecessors. But this time it does have a few features that justify that extra cost and place it ahead of budget devices costing around £200.

The base specification is not particularly exciting. There’s a small 1/5.8in CMOS with just 1.5Mpixels – not enough to match the resolution of the Full HD format it shoots. However, this is what Panasonic calls a High Sensitivity sensor, which essentially means it’s a back-side illuminated CMOS, providing potential benefits when shooting in low light.

Footage can be grabbed at up to 1080p (Full HD with 50 progressive frames per second) with a bitrate of 28Mbits/sec, and there’s a discrete button to enable this mode. Unlike the previous generation, the 50p mode doesn’t switch to MP4 but still records an AVCHD MTS file. However, strangely the top non-50p recording mode runs at just 17Mbits/sec, not the 24Mbits/sec possible from the AVCHD format. Footage is recorded to SD memory card, with around 1.25 hours of footage fitting on a 16GB at the top 28Mbits/sec data rate.

However, where the V500 does place itself a cut above the budget level is in image stabilisation. Most camcorders costing around the £250 mark or less will rely on an electronic form of image stabilisation. But Panasonic has endowed the V500 with its latest Hybrid OIS system, which compensates for roll as well as movement in the X and Y axis. In Panasonic’s higher-end camcorders, this is the most effective image stabilisation system currently on the market, and it’s equally good in the V500.

The zoom factor is pretty commendable, too. The lens itself provides a

38x factor, but this translates to a 42x optical zoom. Panasonic has

also enabled an iZoom, which boosts the factor to 50x. This presumably

crops into the sensor slightly as with similar provisions elsewhere,

rather than magnifying the image electronically as with digital zooms.

However, this technique works best when the sensor has surplus pixels,

and the V500’s CMOS already lacks the native resolution for Full HD. So

we’re not convinced the iZoom is such a useful feature here, and the

real 42x optical zoom is already sufficient on its own.


this is a budget camcorder, it’s no surprise that the V500 lacks

enthusiast features like an accessory shoe or minijacks for headphones

or an external microphone. There are also only discrete buttons for a

few major options, like switching to manual from Intelligent Auto,

enabling the image stabilisation system, and choosing the 1080/50p

recording setting. But it does have more user-configurable settings than

you would expect within the touch-screen menu. Even in Intelligent Auto

(iA) mode, there’s a full range of scene modes available, including all

the usual suspects, although iA does a decent job of detecting

conditions and selecting scene modes automatically.

More from TrustedReviews

LG Q8 finally brings the V20’s promise to Europe

Atari is now in the speaker business… and the hat business

Thinner Moto Z2 Force could come with a huge trade-off

HyperLoop One

Elon Musk’s Hyperloop gathering pace as NY-DC link gets ‘OK’


Is this proof an N64 Classic will follow the SNES?

Agents of Mayhem preview

cats 17

Why you’ll want to download this OnePlus 5 update today

Golf rory

British Open Golf Live Stream: How to watch online for free

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare for Xbox One down to under £9

Samsung Gear S3 finally gets Samsung Pay support in UK

Welcome to the all new Trusted Reviews

Netgear Arlo

Netgear Arlo Pro

Cat Amazon

Are you kitten me? Pet translation devices tipped for future smart homes

fire emblem warriors

Fire Emblem Warriors


Pokkén Tournament DX

TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb 5

TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb

Samsung Pay

Samsung Pay now lets you use your PayPal funds at the checkout

assassins creed origins

Ubisoft teases new games for Nintendo Switch, coming ‘quite soon’

amazon echo

Ask Vodafone: Mobile network’s first Amazon Alexa voice skill is revealed

Google Feed

The Google app’s new personalised feed might just drag you off Facebook

z2play 9

Moto Z2 Play

Mira Prism

For just $99 you can bring AR to the iPhone 7

Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung Galaxy S9 displays may be the same, save one major new feature

movie theatre

The Netflix Effect: ‘Binge-watching’ is coming to movie theatres

Porsche MIssion E

Porsche’s latest electric car chargers put Tesla to shame

EE logo

EE’s new 20GB SIM-free deal is the best value tariff you’ll see all summer


These are the first images from the ISS – as captured by a zero-gravity drone

iMac 21.5-inch 4K (2017)

LG V30 case

LG V30 design ‘confirmed’ ahead of IFA 2017 launch

iPhone 7 vs iPhone SE

Waiting for the iPhone SE 2? Sadly, it could be a one-and-done

Google Glass Enterprise

Google Glass 2 has arrived, sort of

Denon AH-C621R

Denon AH-C621R

BBC Proms

Get ready to listen to the BBC Proms like never before

Fender Newport Monterey Bluetooth speakers

Fender’s new Bluetooth speakers look just like tiny guitar amps

Garmin Vivosmart 3

Garmin Vivosmart 3


Is the laptop travel ban dead? Electronics restrictions lifted by TSA but UK fails to follow suit

KitSound Immerse

KitSound Immerse Wireless Headphones


It’s World Emoji Day and Apple is showing off all of its newcomers

Porn Block

Privacy fears as UK plans age verification for porn sites


New WhatsApp feature could give Apple’s iMessage a run for its money