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Samsung HMX-H104 - Samsung HMX-H104

By James Morris

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

Thanks to its market-leading sensor specification, the HMX20 managed to put Samsung up with the big brands for image quality once and for all. The H104 is a bit more of a sober performer, however. It still shoots decent footage in good light. Colours are faithful, but not as heavily saturated as with some consumer models, particularly Sony's. Detail levels are also more than acceptable.

The image is surprisingly bright in poor lighting, too, considering the size of the CMOS sensor, and has commendable white balancing. However, colours become very washed out as illumination drops, so most of the detail nuances are lost. Unfortunately, the H104 is not such an exceptional low-light performer as the HMX20, and ranks below other pocket point-and-shoot HD camcorders in this area, particularly JVC's Everio GZ-HD300 and Sony's HDR-CX105E.

Flip off a cover at the rear, and a relatively comprehensive selection of AV ports is revealed. A small proprietary socket hooks up to a breakout cable offering component analog video and RCA audio connections. There's also HDMI available, but as always it's of the mini variety and no adapter is supplied in the box. The mini-USB connection resides here as well.

Unlike most other mainstream manufacturers, Samsung doesn't use the AVCHD format for its camcorders. Instead, it relies on MPEG-4 AVC H.264 with an MP4 file format, which is allegedly more standards-compliant than AVCHD but in reality we found it caused problems with Adobe video editing software. Fortunately, Samsung has taken a leaf out of the current trend towards video sharing camcorders, and has bundled an app called intelli-studio, which installs from the camcorder itself. This provides some very basic editing capabilities, plus one-step upload to YouTube.

Verdict

The Samsung HMX-H104 doesn't quite live up to the expectations created by the VP-HMX20. But that isn't to say it's a bad camcorder. Costing just over £400, it's actually rather good value, considering that Sony's HDR-CX105E is priced around the same with just 8GB of built-in memory, and JVC's Everio GZ-HD300 over £100 more, but with a 60GB hard disk. However, of these three the Sony's superior low-light performance still makes it the best overall choice.

Overall Score

8

Scores In Detail

  • Value 10
  • Image Quality 8
  • Features 7

TheLostSwede

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...

Mervin

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.

Mervin

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!

justin

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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