Panasonic NV-GS500 Review - Panasonic NV-GS500 Review


The NV-GS400 offered image quality to give semi-professional models a run for their money, and the NV-GS500 actually outperforms it. In the best lighting, its colours are on par, but the picture is even sharper and the dynamic range slightly better too. Moving to a reasonably well lit indoor environment, the excellent performance continues. Colours are a little more muted than in bright sunlight, but still very faithful. The 1/4.7in CCDs acquit themselves well. Best of all, noise levels are still fairly low – where the NV-GS400 was already a little grainy.

Moving to worse illumination, equivalent to candlelight, the image naturally loses a lot more colour and gains a heavy amount of noise. The sharp image also disappears. However, although the NV-GS500 can’t match semi-professional models in these kinds of conditions, it does manage to surpass its predecessor across the board – and that’s pretty commendable for a camcorder costing just over £600. So in this respect the NV-GS500 is a worthy successor.

Being a DV camcorder, the NV-GS500’s video will be compatible with virtually all editing software. Apart from the necessary FireWire jack, the NV-GS500 has a proprietary connection for a breakout cable sporting composite video, S-video, and RCA audio. However, unlike the NV-GS400, these are output only, so you won’t be able to use this camcorder to digitise straight from analogue sources. A USB port is available for accessing the contents of the SD card slot, but also turns the camcorder into a 320 x 240-resolution webcam.


After the revelation which was the NV-GS400, the NV-GS500 is a bit of a disappointment. Those who are looking for a great semi-pro camcorder would be better off picking up the older model second hand, even if the NV-GS500 has better image quality. Nevertheless, this is still a capable DV camcorder, and puts up a good fight against competitors from Sony and Canon which are similarly dumbed down (JVC no longer produces a DV camcorder in this price range). However, if you do like the look of the NV-GS500, hurry up and get one soon. Stocks are dwindling, and only a few shops still have this model available.

Trusted Score

Score in detail

  • Image Quality 9
  • Features 7
  • Value 8

Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.