- Good video quality, above average still images
- A little awkward to hold, controls not that nice to use
A high performance video camera that could use a little tweaking
Price$ 1,979.00 (AUD)
Home video cameras used to almost be as big as buses. It's easy to forget this, and worth bearing in mind. Our first reaction when picking up Panasonic's VDR-D300 was that it was quite heavy. Of course, compared to cameras produced even a few years ago, it isn't. Even if it is, we can probably forgive it, as the Panasonic VDR-D300 is a very impressive camera. The VDR-D300 is one of the latest slew of cameras that can write directly onto mini DVD discs. The VDR-D300 supports DVD-R and DVD-RW as well as DVD-RAM. Each little disc can store about an hour of film. In addition, an SD slot allows the camera to operate as a digital camera, taking photos up to 3.1 megapixels in size.
The VDR-300 certainly isn't the smallest or lightest camera on the market. This is partly due to the fact that having an on board DVD drive adds a fair amount of weight. However, when we were out and about using the camera we didn't find it bulky or cumbersome to hold. One complaint we would have is that the buttons aren't positioned in the most intuitive manner. Getting used to this took a while, but after using the camera for a few days it felt more comfortable, although the thumbstick was just plain cumbersome. Other than this we found the VDR-300 to have a good range of features: 10x optical zoom, 700x digital zoom, stereo microphones - everything we would expect from a high end camera.
Where the VDR-300 shines is the quality of its video. The camera records in a native widescreen resolution complete with a widescreen LCD. We were particularly impressed with the LCD's performance, offering bright and clear images even in direct sunlight. The video quality, while not possessing the quality and resolution of a pre-recorded DVD, is outstanding. Video playback is smooth and crisp, with nice tonal balance. Day time shots look fantastic with vivid colours and beautiful definition. We weren't blown away by the performance in low light levels, however, with poor contrast and slight image degradation. The real advantages of using DVD are shown when comparing the output to traditional Mini-DV cameras.
The differences between Mini-DV and DVD video are not so pronounced when viewing on a standard television, but when viewing on a high resolution computer screen it immediately becomes clear that the DVD possesses far greater detail, clarity and resolution. It is much better to be able to play back video direct from the DVD than having to go through the rigmarole of transferring footage from a DV tape onto the computer. There is no sacrifice in quality and no need to spend hours tinkering with software. The VDR-300 automatically splits up each day's recording into a separate chapter, making playback a whole lot easier too. Other than the constraint of cost, we can see no reason for anyone to buy a DV tape camera over a DVD camera.
The VDR-300 also functions as a still image camera. While this is a nice feature, it isn't in a position to rival having a dedicated still digital camera, much in the same way that the video functions on still digital cameras are in no position to compete with the VDR-300. Most of the functionality you would expect from a basic digital camera is present on the VDR-300 including flash, multiple quality modes and red-eye reduction. With the advantage of using the built in 10x optical zoom this all sounds promising.
Unfortunately, the VDR-300 failed to live up to our expectations, though it is still above average for a video camera. Firstly, it is slightly annoying that images have to be stored on an SD card; there is no option of saving them to the DVD. Worse, is the fact that the image quality isn't that good. Though it is higher quality than most video cameras provide, 3.1 megapixels just doesn't cut it these days, and in conjunction with some over-saturation images aren't that spectacular. Having said this, they would be fine for making 6x4 prints, so if you just want a few holiday snaps and only want to take the one camera, then the VDR-300 would do the job.
Overall, Panasonic have produced a good camera that is a little rough around the edges. It may not be the most comfortable to use, but its high quality video and images set it apart from the crowd.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Huawei Mate 9
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® Portable SSD
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Surface Pro 4
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 2 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
- 3 Panasonic Blu-ray recorder PVR set-top box review
- 4 Garmin Fenix Chronos fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 5 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
Latest News Articles
- HBO brought its best shows to life at SXSW with an awesome escape room
- AT&T will acquire Time Warner for US$85.4b in content play
- Facebook adds Apple TV and Chromecast support as video push ramps up
- Remocam review: This security camera can control your home appliances
- Logitech's C922 webcam is the revered C920's vastly upgraded successor
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- First look at the Formula 1 2017 pit lane in Melbourne, Australia
- LG 2017 OLED and Super LED UHD 4K TVs: Hands-on review
- Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTMarketing Specialist (B2B Sales)NSW
- CCFull Stack DeveloperQLD
- FTMultiple Infrastructure ArchitectsWA
- CCNetwork EngineersACT
- FTManagement AccountantNSW
- CCIT SharePoint SpecialistNSW
- FTSoftware EngineerSA
- FTJunior Applications SupportQLD
- CCIT Business Analyst - UX DesignNSW
- CCSenior C++ .Net DeveloperWA
- FTBusiness Development Manager -Wealth/Funds Management SoftwareVIC
- CCProduct Design AnalystNSW
- FTBillings Integration ArchitectVIC
- TPAgile Implementation LeadNSW
- FTService Desk Operations AnalystNSW
- CCSolution ManagerSA
- FTSeeking all Java Developers!QLD
- FTSCCM AdministratorACT
- FTHR Business Analyst / Performance Management SMENSW
- CCDeployment GraduatesSA
- FTResponsive Design Developer, Frontend, PHP, WordpressNSW
- TPAEM DeveloperNSW
- CCSenior Network Architect l Checkpoint firewalls l Cisco ACINSW
- CCUX DesignerVIC