Panasonic HDC-SD80 - Performance and Verdict

Score

Sections

White balance options include presets for sunny and cloudy outdoor days, plus tungsten and fluorescent indoor situations, alongside auto and manual. You even get picture adjustments, including sharpness, colour, exposure and white balance bias. There’s a soft skin setting available, too. Not surprisingly, though, the SD80 doesn’t offer any enthusiast features, such as microphone inputs or an accessory shoe; for this, you will need to step up to the SD90. This model is aimed at the mainstream user exclusively. But you do get manual control over audio levels.
Panasonic HDC-SD80

Panasonic’s SD90 offers just about the best image quality in its price range, but the SD80 has a considerably smaller sensor. Nevertheless, although its footage lacks a little of the detail of its more expensive sibling, colour fidelity is similarly good in decent lighting. The biggest revelation is low light performance, which we had expected to be noticeably inferior to the SD90’s due to the tiny CMOS. There is greater sign of grain, but the picture remains brighter than most camcorders with sensors this size can achieve. Overall, the SD80 will pick up a decent picture in most everyday conditions, belying its £300 price.

Verdict

Panasonic’s HDC-SD80 is a good budget camcorder, offering decent image quality and a healthy array of manual settings if you do find you want to take a little more control of your shooting. However, if you do just want a cheap point-and-shoot camcorder capable of good image quality, JVC’s Everio GZ-HM445 lacks the range of manual controls, but shoots comparably good video and also offers a touch LCD for quite a bit less outlay.

Score in detail

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

Image Processor

Image Sensor 1/5.8in CMOS with 1.5MPixels
Image Sensor Quantity 1

Lens Features

Optical Zoom (Times) 42x
Digital Zoom (Times) 2000x

Video Recording

Recording Media SD card
Video Capture Format AVCHD
Max Video Res 1920 x 1080
Minimum Lux Rating (Lux) 7.0 (1/25 Low Light scene mode) / 1 (Color Night View)lx
Image Stabilisation Hybrid OIS

General Features

LCD Screen Size (Inch) 2.7in
On-board Storage (Gigabyte) 0GB
On-board Microphone 2ch Stereo, Zoom Microphone

A/V ports

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

Physical Specifications

Weight (Gram) 0.192g
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