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Manual Controls and Settings

By James Morris

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

The X400 is a cut above most budget camcorders when it comes to zoom. It offers a 23x optical telephoto, rather than the digital-only variety, although this is augmented by a 120x digital zoom you can't turn off. The image stabilisation is still electronic, though, and onlly has one mode. Although it's better than nothing, we didn't find it tremendously effective.

All of the X400's settings are accessed via an icon-driven menu which is called up on the 3in touchscreen. Three icons at the top provide rapid access to a selection of frequently-used functions. One toggles the built-in video light, which has limited range but is still welcome in a budget camcorder. There's also a setting Toshiba calls Digital Light. This is essentially a video gain booster, which brightens the image in poor illumination, at the expense of some image quality. A second button lets you switch quality modes, and a final button enables backlight compensation, always a handy setting to have readily available.

The remaining functions are only accessible via the full menu. This is also icon-driven, which makes some functions hard to find as their icons are a little obscure. For example, image stabiliation and motion detection use an icon of a hand and a person, but both are leaving trails so you have to think twice about which is which. Fortunately, each icon requires two clicks to access; the first click merely brings up a text description at the bottom of the screen, so you can check you have the right function before committing.

There aren't many of the manual settings we usually expect from a camcorder, either. There's no facility for manual focusing, nor direct control over exposure, let alone shutter and iris. White balance presets include sunny, fluorescent and tungsen alongside the fully automatic option, but no manual setting. Even the range of scene modes is pretty meagre, with just night, backlight compensation and soft skin mode included in this section. You do get a macro mode and control over how the exposure is measured, with auto, centre and spot options. There's also face tracking available and a pre-rec buffering function to help prevent you missing a shot due to being slow on the shutter.

Stan Lee

January 26, 2013, 7:34 pm

This camera is packed so thoughtfully, you think you are getting something terribly expensive!- the box is so gorgeous! And your anticipation is hard to control!!!

But -- when you start trying it out, your anticipation wanes to disappointment...

You must get an expansion memory card. You only get like 30sec on the internal memory...

The Start/Stop button is hard to push, making it difficult AND - doesn't protrude out enough for you to have a good 'feel'... Why it has to be so BIG compared to the OTHER buttons is a mystery...

The Zoom button is either full zoom or nothing. There is no such thing as 'slow' zoom.

You can't put a bigger battery into the camera - and it is a mongrel non-standard... It's available on eBay for a shocking $19.99 ! What a rip!

The recorded sound level is WAY too low!!!

The icons in the menus aren't big enough. Plan on using a stylus - if you can FIND one! (I hope you have tiny fingertips...)

Ditto when recording. You have to squint to see the icon on the screen if you are recording or not...

You can't attach a lens hood, so make sure the sun is BEHIND you - not on the side of you!

The supplied Toshiba camera bag is too small, and just too tight for the camera, and you can't carry anything else, like the charger...

The Walmart bonus bag is roomy enough for the camera, but the side pockets are too small for the charger...

If you want to plug in an ext mic, you have to open the LCD, which turns on the camera. The ext mic does not help the audio problem!!!

The video output connector doesn't make a good connection!

I went thro TWO of these. I returned the 1st one because of low audio, and the 2nd one because of low audio AND NO HI DEF PICTURE!!!!

Will I buy a 3rd?

nawwwwww...

Don't forget - You only get 15days to return it to Walmart if you don't like it!!!

I'm really glad I bought it from Walmart instead of eBay! I'd be stuck with it if I bought it on eBay...

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