Panasonic HC-V520 - WiFi features, Image Quality and Verdict

Score

Sections

Panasonic HC-V520 – Features continued

The quick menu on the edge of the 3in LCD display provides rapid access to most frequently used functions, including the OIS Lock. In manual mode, an extra column appears, giving you manual focusing, and the ability to set the white balance or choose from the four presets – two for indoor lighting, two for outdoor natural lighting. You can vary the shutter from 1/50th to 1/8,000th of a second, and independently adjust the iris between F16 and F1.8, then add up to 18dB of video gain on top. We suspect most users of a camcorder in this class will never touch these features, but it’s great to see them there just in case.
Panasonic HC-V520

Panasonic HC-V520 – WiFi and NFC

Despite its lower-end orientation, the HC-V520 also includes the WiFi features added to the HC-X920 and HC-V720. Panasonic has benefited by not being an early adopter here, and has essentially added all the best bits from JVC’s and Canon’s implementations. So you can connect the camcorder to an existing wireless network, or set it up as its own access point, although this won’t provide Internet access. In both cases, a smartphone app for iOS and Android can then provide remote control facilities, although you can’t do this with a desktop Web browser. If your Android phone supports NFC, you can simply touch it to the allocated spot on the camcorder body to set up your wireless connection automatically.

The remote control facilities include the ability to operate the zoom and toggle record, but also to set the quality. If the camcorder is connected to a wireless access point attached to the Internet, you can switch the smartphone to Home Monitoring mode, and keep an eye on your premises remotely. You can also turn the HC-V520 into a DLNA server, which we were able to connect to easily with a Samsung Smart TV. Most excitingly of all, the HC-V520 can stream live video via the USTREAM broadcasting service, although you will need to sign up for an account, and also one with Panasonic’s Lumix Club, then enter your details into the camcorder to enable this.

Panasonic HC-V520 – Picture Quality

Of the three Panasonic camcorders we have reviewed in the last few weeks, the HC-V520 shows the most obvious improvement in image quality. The new sensor fixes the Achilles Heel of its predecessor, namely a slight lack of detail, although otherwise the HC-V500 already offered a very commendable performance for the price. The image still doesn’t quite have the crispness of Panasonic’s top-end models, but it’s very good for a camcorder with a 1/5.8in sensor. Low light performance is also slightly improved, even though on paper both the new model and its predecessor have the same 4 lux minimum illumination. There is a bit more colour and grain is finer as lighting is reduced.

Verdict

The Panasonic HC-V520 is quite an improvement over its predecessor. With better image quality, the WiFi features, and enhanced zoom as well as more image stabilisation options, there are many reasons why this is a better buy than the HC-V500. However, at around £130 less than the HC-V720, it’s not such a clear value proposition in the mid-range price bracket. If you have the extra to spend, the HC-V720 is a clear winner around the £500 mark. But if your budget is around £400, the HC-V520 gives you a lot of camcorder for your money.

Score in detail

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

Image Processor

Image Sensor 1/5.8in back-illuminated CMOS with 2.51Mpixels
Image Sensor Quantity 1

Lens Features

Optical Zoom (Times) 62x
Digital Zoom (Times) 3000x

Video Recording

Recording Media SD card
Video Capture Format AVCHD 2.0 and MP4
Max Video Res 1920 x 1080
Minimum Lux Rating (Lux) 4lx
Image Stabilisation Hybrid OIS+ with Active Mode

General Features

LCD Screen Size (Inch) 3in
On-board Storage (Gigabyte) 0GB
On-board Microphone Stereo

A/V ports

HDMI Yes
USB 2.0 Yes
Audio / Video Out Yes
Audio / Video In No
External Microphone No

Physical Specifications

Weight (Gram) 229g
Back
Next