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The C10 relies on a small 1/6in CCD sensor with 680K pixels, which is usually a recipe for mediocre video performance. Nevertheless, image quality is perfectly acceptable in good lighting, with reasonably faithful colour, albeit nowhere near as saturated as with many camcorder brands, particularly Sony.
In adequate artificial lighting, the C10 still achieves reasonable results. However, the C10 produced a dark, almost featureless image in our gruelling '100W ceiling light' test. Turning on the Darkness scene mode did improve things to a tolerable level, but this drops the frame rate so produces a brighter image at the expense of jerky motion. Pocket Internet camcorders with larger 1/4in sensors produce better results in these conditions. For example, both Creative’s Vado HD and the Flip Video UltraHD will pick up much more acceptable images in low light.
Nevertheless, the C10 is clearly targeting the burgeoning pocket Internet camcorder market, as it includes its Intelli-Studio software on the device itself. The first time you hook the camcorder up to your PC, the app will be installed, and even updated to the latest version. You can then perform simple trimming and add effects to your clips, plus overlay titles and sound. You can also line up a storyboard of clips with transitions in between, although there are no layering abilities.
However, the primary function is uploading videos to the Internet. Options include YouTube and Flickr, plus sending your videos via email. There’s even a button on the side of the C10 itself allowing direct YouTube upload via an attached PC’s Internet connection, although you have to mark the files for sharing on the camcorder for this to work. The Intelli-Studio software also only runs on Windows PCs, not Macs.
The Samsung SMX-C10’s sub-£150 price pits it directly against pocket Internet camcorders, which have now moved up to 720p HD. So its lower video resolution may seem a little backward. However, the C10’s optical zoom, removable memory and greater control give it much more flexibility, despite the inferior low light performance compared to the best pocket Internet models. So if you want a cheap holiday camcorder, the SMX-C10 is a very good deal indeed.
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