A compact, high-definition Panasonic camcorder with a 3-chip sensor.
- Compact size, external audio jack, 24p progressive scan mode
- Poorly thought out design, below par image quality, too expensive
The Panasonic HDC-SD100 provides a great set of well-implemented tools that are in the right place at the right price. Unfortunately, poor connection placement and poor imaging make it hard to recommend this camcorder.
Price$ 1,979.00 (AUD)
Panasonic's small and conveniently packed HDC-SD100 camcorder uses a three-chip image sensor, a rarity in the consumer camcorder market these days. But the Panasonic HDC-SD100 HD uses that three-chip sensor to make up for each individual sensor's anaemic 1/6in size. There are many great features on the HDC-SD100, but image quality unfortunately isn't one of them.
The Panasonic HDC-SD100 is very comfortable to hold and shoot with. Panasonic uses a lens ring that gives the HDC-SD100 great manual control, and the ring is truly intuitive. You can use it to adjust the focus, iris, shutter speed, and white balance. The Panasonic HDC-SD100's manual tools provide an easy way to deal with challenging shooting environments when the stock camera responses just aren't enough. It's much more effective than jumping through menus.
The focus assist that pops up when you are focusing (giving you a zoomed-in sample of the image to focus on) is a great and well-implemented tool. We did find it curious that, in adjusting the white balance settings, you have access to preset values only; you cannot, for instance, smoothly change the color temperature by 100-degree increments.
The Panasonic HDC-SD100 has a viewfinder; cute, but most people won't use it and many people will accidentally hit the EVF/LCD switch on the top of the camcorder and then be confused as to why the video isn't showing up on the LCD (when you change from LCD to EVF, the LCD turns off). This is usually a power-saving feature, but looking through a viewfinder on a small camcorder hurts the video due to added hand movement.
The component out port, AV/headphone jack, and SD card access are conveniently placed and protected on the side of the Panasonic HDC-SD100 (though we have some concerns about the longevity of the SD card release; it feels a little cheap, like it would just stop working over time). However, the power, mini-HDMI, and USB connectors are behind the battery. This means you're forced to plug the Panasonic HDC-SD100 into an external power outlet to pull data off the card (without a card reader) or to use the HDMI connection. When we did transfer video from the Panasonic HDC-SD100 to a PC, we had no problems importing the movie files.
The Panasonic HDC-SD100 HD captures 5.1-channel surround sound that works surprising well. In addition to the onboard microphones, the camera provides an external audio input in the front. It's a great implementation; you have the sound-in jack up front, and the headphone jack to the side. With these items plugged in, the cables don't conflict with each other when they are both being used by the more discerning shooter. If you're planning to do anything remotely professional (like podcasting), separate audio-in is key.
Panasonic will extol the virtues of three-chip imaging sensors and tell you how great they are in low light and detail. Unfortunately, none of this is evident in the Panasonic HDC-SD100. To be blunt, the image quality was just okay in good light (3,000 lux) and a mess in low light (300 lux).
The loss in detail in low light situations was dramatic, and 300 lux isn't even what some would call true low light. The lesson here is that a 1/6-inch sensor is not enough for a camcorder at this price point. It's not about the colour or even the graininess (we would expect some degradation in low light here), but the image just gets much softer in resolution tests. This kind of problem is normal for small cameras like the Flip Mino, but at the price point Panasonic is selling into, this is unacceptable.
As something of a consolation prize, the Panasonic HDC-SD100 does shoot at 24p (progressive scan video at 24 frames per second), which is a great feature and something every camcorder should have when consumers are shooting for output to a computer or LCD. The Panasonic HDC-SD100 saves the video at 17 megabits per second; normally, we like to see a little higher rate (like Canon's 24Mbps) but we don't think the higher bit rate would capture any more data through the sensors that are provided.
The still photo quality is okay, capturing shots at 1,920 by 1,080 pixels. But the small sensor size also adversely affects photos. In both video and stills, size does matter. The Panasonic HDC-SD100 HD features facial recognition and optical image stabilisation, which both work well.
One of the unique features of the HDC-SD100 (which we'd love to see in other camcorders) is the integrated menu explanation system. As you are going through the menus on the HDC-SD100, short SMS-length descriptions of each feature pop up. These work remarkably well and speed up the acclimation process a great deal. In conjunction with the surprisingly well-engineered joystick, the camcorder settings are some of the easiest to navigate of any camcorder that we've tested.
Join the newsletter!
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Apple iPhone X
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
cloudandco Smart Cane
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Toys for Boys
Bose SoundLink Micro
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Xbox One X
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
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
- CCNetwork Engineer (Juniper)VIC
- FTSenior PMO AnalystOther
- CCBusiness AnalystQLD
- CCCRM Business AnalystQLD
- TPICT Project ManagerWA
- TP3 x Change and Adoption Managers | Health | 12 month contractsQLD
- FTService Desk Operators (Part Time and Full Time)SA
- FT.Net DeveloperACT
- CCAIX System Administration ? UNIXVIC
- FTSenior Technical Delivery ManagerACT
- FTData AnalystOther
- CCWeb DeveloperNSW
- FTProject Manager - Finance and Loan Implementation SystemOther
- FT.NET Developers (Perm and Contract)WA
- CCHelpdesk TechnicianNSW
- FTNatural/ADABAS ProgrammerNSW
- CCIteration Manager - TelcoVIC
- FTLead PHP DeveloperNSW
- FTProject Manager | Onsite ParkingOther
- FTMedication Management Support - PermanentQLD
- CCSystem Access Administrator - TelcoVIC
- FTGun Java Developers wantedVIC
- CCSystems Administrator - not for profit organisationQLD
- FTGenesys ConsultantACT
- CCProject ManagerQLD