Panasonic HDC-HS20-K high-definition camcorder
A Full HD Panasonic camcorder with Intelligent Auto and an 80GB hard drive
- Attractive and sturdy design, beginner-friendly modes and features, optical image stabiliser
- Components could be of higher quality, outclassed by some of its rivals
The Panasonic HDC-HS20-K is a reasonable high-definition camcorder with some very user-friendly features. If you're new to video and want the Full HD treatment, this model mostly delivers.
Price$ 1,649.00 (AUD)
The Panasonic HDC-HS20-K is a Full HD video camera with 80GB of inbuilt memory. It shares many similarities with the Panasonic HDC-SD20-K (RRP: $1099), including an effective pixel count of 1.47-megapixels, a 1/6in CMOS sensor and an identical feature set. Even its name sounds confusingly similar. In fact, the only thing separating this camcorder from its cheaper sibling is the addition of the afore-mentioned hard drive (the HDC-SD20-K is SD card-only).
Despite the inclusion of a hard drive, the Panasonic HDC-HS20-K is not much bigger than the HDC-DS20-K. With dimensions of 69x64x128mm, it’s only a few centimetres larger than its flash memory–based cousin. It is significantly heavier, however. At 360g, it weighs almost 100g more than the DS20-K, though we found this didn’t detract from its usability (some users may even prefer the extra weight, as it helps to keep the camera properly centred).
In terms of design, the Panasonic HDC-HS20-K is a handsomely crafted camcorder. The robust casing is finished in a subtle black glitter, while an assortment of technical logos and badges lend it a prestigious air. We remain violently opposed to the protruding back battery, however; something that has blighted more Panasonic camcorders than we can count. On the plus side, at least it blends in with the HDC-HS20-K’s black finish, unlike the silver HS20-K. Apart from this small quibble, it is one of the better looking camcorders we’ve seen in this price range.
The Panasonic HDC-HS20-K device fits well in the palm and has a good sense of heft. The added weight, combined with Panasonic’s optical image stabiliser, should ensure your handheld footage remains smooth and shake-free. Unfortunately, no external audio options are included with this camcorder, which means you’re stuck with the 5.1ch zoom microphone. Thankfully, it acquits itself well in all but the windiest conditions. It would've been nice to have an accessory hot shoe though — instead, the Panasonic HDC-HS20-K comes with nothing.
Alongside its SD20-K sibling, the Panasonic HDC-HS20-K is the first camcorder from Panasonic to feature an LCD touch screen, as opposed to a directional joystick. This is sure to go down a treat with mainstream consumers, who can’t seem to get enough of touch-based technology. For a debut effort, it’s not half bad either, with large and responsive icons that are easy to understand. We found it compared favourably to Sony's handycam range, which has included models with touch screens for years.
There’s a decent array of modes and features tucked away on this camera, including adjustable shutter speed and exposure, manual focus (via touch-screen prompts), a Soft Skin mode, AF/AE Tracking, face detection, a selection of scene modes and Intelligent Auto (Ai). As its name implies, Intelligent Auto is an advanced automatic/easy mode geared towards novice users. It automatically adjusts exposure levels, prioritises human faces and swaps between scene modes to suit the shooting situation. In addition, it also alerts you with handy onscreen prompts when you do something wrong (such as panning the camera too quickly.) If you’ve never touched a camcorder before, or are planning to buy one for your granny, the HS20-K’s iA mode is an enticing proposition.
We’re almost at the end of the review and we haven’t even mentioned image quality yet. Well, there’s not much we can add that wasn’t already said in our Panasonic HDC-SD20-K review — both camcorders produced identical results. In short, its scant pixel count and undersized sensor cannot hope to match the likes of the Canon HF11 or Sony HDR-CX12, two similarly priced camcorders with superior optics. That said, most users will be satisfied by the HDC-SD20-K’s output, which remains sharp and colourful in optimum lighting.
With an RRP of $1649, the Panasonic HDC-HS20-K costs $549 more than the HDC-SD20-K. This may seem like an unacceptable mark-up, given how cheap HDD technology is these days. However, it’s important to note that removable flash memory is a far costlier alternative — amassing 80GB of SD cards for the HDC-SD20-K will cost you around $1500. This makes the HDC-HS20-K a comparatively better buy, regardless of how overpriced its hard drive might be. With a maximum bitrate of 17 megabits per second, the HDC-HS20-K will store around 10 hours of AVCHD video on its 80GB hard drive.
Join the newsletter!
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
cloudandco Smart Cane
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Toys for Boys
Bose SoundLink Micro
Google Daydream View VR Headset
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Xbox One X
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Fallout Geeki Tikis
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 LG 65E7T Ultra HD OLED TV review: The South Korean thoroughbred is still first past the post
- 2 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 3 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 4 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 5 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
Latest News Articles
- CES 2018: Ring Bolster Security Offering With Cameras, Lights, Alarms and Subscription Service
- Keep Watch Day and Night with Uniden’s Two-In-One Camera and Spotlight
- 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
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
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
- CES 2018
- CES 2018: Belkin go big on wearables accessories and wireless charging
- OPPO Load Up A73 Smartphone With Flagship Features
- 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
- FTSecurity ArchitectOther
- CCSenior Project OfficerNSW
- TPJunior Java DeveloperNSW
- FTSenior Infrastructure Delivery ManagerOther
- FTSenior Consultant - .NET DeveloperQLD
- FTApplication/Systems Support AnalystOther
- CCHFC Support EngineerNSW
- CCSharePoint DeveloperACT
- FTIT Security OfficerACT
- FTBusiness Analyst - Operational Performance ReportingOther
- CCJunior Java DevelopersVIC
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW
- FT.Net DeveloperACT
- CCHadoop DeveloperVIC
- CCApplication Security and Identity Management SpecialistSA
- CCITSM Business AnalystNSW
- FTSenior Infrastructure EngineerOther
- CCSolution DesignerNSW
- TPApplication Support AdministratorVIC
- FTManager, Data QualityOther
- FTSenior Software Engineer - C++QLD
- TPSolution Architect - HealthQLD
- FTNetwork Technical Specialist L3 x 2 ? Large Telco ? 6 month contract initiallyNSW
- CCIteration Manager - TelcoVIC
- FTData Analyst / Reporting Analyst - $496.00 per dayOther