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Samsung HMX-H104 review



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Until last year, Samsung was firmly targeting the budget end of the camcorder market. Then it released the VP-HMX20 and showed us that it had the technology to vie with the top names. Now the company has launched a new H series range, with which it hopes to build on the ground it gained in 2008. This week, we put the entry-level HMX-H104 through its paces.

The first batch of H series camcorders are separated only by the amount of flash memory they have on board. The H104 has 16GB, the H105 has 32GB, and the range-topping H106 incorporates a whopping 64GB. Despite its impressive specification, the VP-HMX20 only comes with 8GB. However, although the new models share a similarity of design with their predecessor, what's inside is markedly different.

The most surprising aspect of the HMX20 was its massive CMOS sensor. At 1/1.8in, it's still the largest in any consumer camcorder, and the 6.4-megapixel resolution was also market leading at the time of release. In contrast, the H104 and its siblings sport a much more modest 1/4.5in CMOS sensor with just 2.2-megapixels. Samsung still promises 4.7-megapixel still images, at 2,880 x 1,620, but this is clearly with a hefty dollop of interpolation, even if the end results are satisfactory for a camcorder.

A similar array of shooting resolutions and qualities are available to the HMX20. The top resolution is 1,920 x 1,080 Full HD, operating at 25 interlaced frames per second. But you can also record at 1,280 x 720 and 720 x 576 with 50 progressive frames per second. You can shoot time lapse footage, too, with one frame recorded every 1, 3 or 5 seconds for up to 72 hours at a resolution of 1,280 x 720. However, the slow motion options offered by the HMX20 have been left out. There are three quality settings, with the top Super Fine mode allowing around two hours of Full HD footage within the 16GB storage. There's also an SDHC slot if you need a bit more capacity.

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June 13, 2009, 12:55 pm

I like the fact that Samsung allows you to shoot in 720p, as it's much more useful for web usage than 1080i/p. I wish more camcorder manufacturers would have this as an option on their models, but AVCHD doesn't seem to offer any kind of support for lower resolutions at all. Oh well...


June 13, 2009, 4:09 pm

I know this is off topic but is there a chance of a Sanyo WH1 review soon?

James Morris

June 13, 2009, 10:18 pm

Literally just got hold of the WH1 yesterday, so will be putting up a review in the next week or so. Watch this space!

Dave Deacon

June 14, 2009, 5:37 am

I was set to buy one of these for a good discount but they and reviews failed to appear time and time again. I gave up waiting and bought a Canon HG20. Glad I did. Storage with a 60GB hard drive and upto 32GB SDHC is not an issue. With recent updates, Premiere Pro CS4 copes well with AVCHD and reducing that to 720p is not an issue.


June 14, 2009, 5:42 am

Good bless you, you good man...

James Morris

June 16, 2009, 3:54 am

@Dave Deacon The HG20 is a great camcorder - hope you enjoy it!

@Mervin ;^> Thanks!


July 15, 2009, 5:44 am

james-i'm stateside and found your site as it offers much more robust reviews than those that i have found here. i recently purchasing a macbook pro and am interested in a digital camcorder that takes advantage of that laptop. i understand that many of these cameras do not have firewire and i'm unable to locate much information regarding transfer speeds and such. at this time, i'm looking at something akin to the panasonic hds hs300 or the equivalent to your canon legria hf s10. do you have a review with that kind of information per chance? if not, would you drop me a note and let me know your advice? thanks very much for your thorough reviews - they have been very helpful in helping me to narrow down my decision!

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