The Gigashot sports quite a large CMOS sensor, so we were hoping for decent results in our tests, and Toshiba did in general deliver the goods. In sunny conditions, colours were faithful and the high data rate meant there were few signs of compression artefacts. In an adequately lit living room, the Gigashot also provided good colour accuracy and little evidence of noise. So it’s more than up to shooting in the kind of conditions the domestic target audience is likely to require.
Only when we tried the A100FE in more challenging lighting conditions did it start to lose its grip on colour and detail, although the image remained relatively noise-free. Raising the gain does increase the brightness and colour of the image in low light, but at the expense of noticeable grain. Still, Canon’s HG10 has the edge in poorer illumination.
Being a hard disk-based camcorder, the Gigashot relies mainly on its USB connection for editing. Despite the HDMV video format, we had no trouble importing footage into Ulead’s VideoStudio 11 Plus. But Pinnacle Studio 11 Ultimate couldn’t open the files at any of the quality options, even with the very latest patch. So Toshiba’s choice not to use AVCHD doesn’t appear to have done it any favours.
Otherwise, Toshiba has integrated proprietary ports with breakout cables for composite and S-video with stereo RCA audio, plus component analogue. There’s a port for HDMI, too, but this is the mini variety so will require an adapter for a regular HDTV cable, and none is supplied in the box.
Toshiba’s Gigashot A100FE 100GB makes a credible stab at a premium high definition camcorder. Its image quality is in the same league as Sony’s HDR-SR8 and Panasonic’s HDC-HS9. It’s very good value, too, undercutting Panasonic’s HDC-HS9 by nearly £100. However, the range of manual control available is very limited, and with Canon’s HF10 looming the Toshiba isn’t going to appeal to anyone beyond the novice videomaker.
Score in detail
Image Quality 8