Being a DV camcorder, the NV-GS230 naturally sports a FireWire port, so you will be able to capture and edit footage with any FireWire-equipped system. Virtually all software supports the DV video format, too. The headphone socket doubles as an AV output for composite video and RCA audio. There’s even S-video built in, although all the analogue video ports are output only. Sadly, so is the FireWire port, so it won’t be possible to record your edits back to tape.
Presumably, Panasonic took this decision to keep the costs down, as there is still a higher tax in the EU on video devices able to record over a digital connection. As well as providing access to the contents of the SD memory card, the USB port can be switched between capturing DV on a PC or to use the NV-GS230 as a webcam, which is a handy extra capability.
After a decade of dominance, DV camcorders are fast losing out to new video formats and media types. But there are still a few years of life left in the old dog, as Panasonic’s NV-GS230 illustrates. It lacks a few important features, such as FireWire input, and low light performance matches the price. But if your budget is small, the NV-GS230 is can still shoot decent video. The audio connectivity options and manual controls are comprehensive, too. As a low-cost way of trying your hand at making video, it still makes some sense.
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