The Panasonic HDC-HS100 is a compact high-definition camcorder with a 60GB hard drive.
- Compact size, lots of manual controls, optical image stabiliser
- Unwieldy joystick interface, sub-par image quality, too expensive for what it offers
If the images from Panasonic's HDC-HS100 equalled its great handling and usability, this model would be a clear winner. The HS100 provides the best controls we've seen in a small HD camcorder, but the images lag behind those of AVCHD camcorders such as the Sony Handycam HDR-SR12 and Canon HF10 camcorders — and those models offer decent usability, to boot.
Price$ 2,089.00 (AUD)
The Panasonic HDC-HS100 camcorder is a better camera than it's predecessor the Panasonic HDC-HS9, with improved image quality and greater usability. However, the $2089 HDC-HS100 has only narrowed — not closed — the image-quality gap between its own video and that of the top HD camcorders in its class. If you disregard image quality, the HS100 is a clear winner, but it's hard to ignore a "small" thing such as image quality, especially at this model's price.
The Panasonic HDC-HS100 records HD video as AVCHD files on to a 60GB hard drive at four quality settings. The highest-quality setting records 17mbps, 1920x1080 images at either 60 interlaced frames per second (60i, which definitely looks like video) or 24 progressive frames per second (24p, which looks more like film). The hard drive holds about 7.5 hours of 17mbps video.
The Panasonic HDC-HS100 can also record to user-supplied SD/SDHC cards. In our testing, we evaluated 17-mbps video files. While the HS9 had three underperforming 1/6-inch CCDs, the Panasonic HDC-HS100 HD senses images on three higher-quality 1/6-inch CMOS chips. Under typical lighting conditions, HD image quality looked good, with noticeably better contrast and resolution than what the HS9 produced. However, it also showed some extraneous noise.
Colours appeared oversaturated, a hyped-up look that may appeal to some users but not to those looking for accurate colour reproduction. The Panasonic HDC-HS100's low-light video was fair (about the same as the HS9's low-light performance), with a noticeable amount of visual noise and a lack of sharpness.
Still images lack the colour, exposure, and distortion performance of some other HD camcorders. Overall, video and stills from the Panasonic HDC-HS100 showed a bit less resolution and colour accuracy than imagery from top-rated HD camcorders, but the results remain acceptable.
Image drawbacks aside, the Panasonic HDC-HS100 is a pleasure to use. Beginners will quickly take to the automatic mode, which does an excellent job of optimising the camera settings for the shooting environment. The menus are also very helpful for novices, as they include concise explanations of how and when to use the camera's features.
Experienced users will enjoy the broad array of manual controls, including zoom, focus, white balance, shutter, and aperture settings. They'll probably also appreciate the manual-control ring encircling the lens; it's like a lens-focus ring that you can turn to adjust other settings, too. Sounds odd, but it works great. Those on the professional end of the spectrum will value the Panasonic HDC-HS100's viewfinder, headphone, and microphone jacks, as well as the accessory shoe.
Everyone will welcome the Panasonic HDC-HS100's 12x zoom lens, the smooth optical image stabiliser, the very good audio performance, the accurate (though sometimes slow) autofocus, the nearly 2-hour battery life (it lasted 1 hour, 59 minutes in tests), the bright 2.7in LCD, and the comprehensive 159-page printed user manual.
But few users will like the tiny control joystick stuck on the right side of the Panasonic HDC-HS100, which is placed too awkwardly to use effectively. And that's saying nothing of the poorly placed HDMI, USB, and DC power ports, which are all hidden behind the battery.
On the software side, Panasonic bundles HD Writer 2.6E, a limited but functional Windows-only editing application. Mac users can edit the Panasonic HDC-HS100's AVCHD video with iMovie '08. On either platform you'll want to use a computer built around a 2GHz Intel Core Duo or better processor, as well as at least a couple of gigabytes of RAM.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 2 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 3 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Sony make shooting in HDR easy with new 4K camcorders
- Sony announces Australian availability for new waterproof RX0 action-camera
- Microsoft's Beam becomes Mixer, adds four person split-screen streaming to battle Twitch
- Microsoft's Story Remix uses machine learning and mixed reality to make your movies awesome
- New IoT malware targets 100,000 IP cameras via known flaw
PCW Evaluation Team
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
- Opinon: Life after KRACK
- Jabra Elite Sport (2017) review
- How to download the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update right now
- 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
- TPSenior Business Analyst (x2)NSW
- CCSolutions ArchitectVIC
- CCAutomation Scripter - Data CentresWA
- FTSenior Java EngineerACT
- CCSenior ETL Developer/DesignerVIC
- FTService Desk Level 2 Support ConsultantACT
- FTMid Level UX DesignerOther
- CCSenior Applications EngineerNSW
- CCMulesoft DeveloperVIC
- FTPortfolio Performance LeadOther
- FTSolutions Architect - Metering Systems / AMIOther
- FTScrum Master, Marketing ProgramOther
- CCSalesforce DeveloperNSW
- FTProgram ManagerOther
- FTJunior-Mid Infra Project ManagerOther
- CCSenior Test Engineer - Telecom domainVIC
- FTGraduate Software Developer - Front EndWA
- FTAssociate Consultant - Help DeskNSW
- FTIT Audit ManagerNSW
- CCCall or Contact Centre OperatorNSW
- FTTest Analyst / Engineer (Cloud / O365 migration)Other
- FTBusiness AnalystACT
- CCSAP HR / Payroll AnalystVIC
- FTInfrastructure ArchitectOther
- TPAEM DeveloperNSW