Still image performance is pretty accomplished, too. Without interpolation, the maximum resolution is 3,264 x 2,448 pixels, but there is also a 10.6-megapixel mode which shoots 3,984 x 2,656 pixel stills with a 3:2 aspect ratio. Detail and colour are impressive, although the Canon HF S10’s single higher-resolution CMOS gives it a slight edge in this department as well.
Since the HS200 records AVCHD, most editing software is compatible, and even Adobe’s Premiere Elements has supported the format since version 7. If you simply want to watch your footage on a TV, there’s mini HDMI, although no adapter is supplied. Analogue options include a minijack for composite video and stereo RCA audio. There’s also a proprietary connection for component analogue video.
So the Panasonic HDC-HS200 is capable of impressive image quality, and if you want the best picture, but probably won’t use the manual features of the HDC-HS300 and TM300, it’s a great-value compromise. If £700 is still pricey, Panasonic also makes a camcorder identical in features to the HS200, except that it records video to SD memory instead. This is the HDC-SD200, and at under £600 it’s even more keenly priced, although you have to factor in your own flash memory.
Score in detail
Image Quality 10