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Samsung HMX-H104 - Samsung HMX-H104

By James Morris


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Although Samsung has bumped up the specifications for its latest camcorders, it hasn't made many concessions for the videomaking enthusiast. The H104 has no lens ring, no accessory shoe, nor minijacks for headphones or an external microphone. The Quick Menu button on the LCD provides access to a few frequently used functions, including switching shooting resolution, plus manual configuration of white balance, exposure and focus. There are two white balance presets each for indoor and outdoor conditions, plus the usual auto and custom modes.

The exposure control has nine levels, and there are two options for manual focusing. You can either use an onscreen slider, or a one-touch system. However, we found the latter one of the least effective versions we've used, having regular difficulty locking to the points we indicated on the LCD.

There are yet more settings available in the full menu, in particular direct adjustment of aperture and shutter. The iris can be set from F1.8 to F16, and the shutter speed from 1/50th to 1/10,000th, but configuring one returns the other to auto mode, so you can't set them independently. Samsung has also annoyingly placed backlight compensation and the telemacro controls deep within the full menu, making them a pain to enable.

Samsung is clearly aiming this model at point-and-shoot consumers. To this end, the H104 also offers an Easy Q mode which disables both the Quick Menu and full menu. There is also a curious rotating grip, which appears to be designed so you can hold the camcorder like a torch, although you will then need to use your other hand to toggle recording. If you're shooting from the hip, this configuration does prove more comfortable than simply gripping the camcorder between thumb and forefinger, and you won't risk dropping it either.

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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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