So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
- Superb colour quality, true 3.1 megapixel digital still images, optical image stabiliser
- Only 10X optical zoom
If you want a great lens, vibrant colours and the ability to simply and easily send your video out to the Web--and don't need a large optical zoom--the Panasonic NV-GS250 should be near the top of your list.
Price$ 2,199.00 (AUD)
The Panasonic NV-GS250 is ideal for the more experienced videomakers and for video camera owners purchasing their second or third camcorder. At just over $2000 at the time of writing, it represents some of the best value around.
The NV-GS250 uses a dedicated charge-coupled device (CCD) for each of the three video colours (red, green and blue), unlike most video cameras that interpret all three colours with one CCD. Surprisingly, the NV-GS250 also includes an optical image stabiliser, which is another premium feature that usually adds hundreds of dollars to the price.
It includes a manual focus ring and onboard flash for still photos--a great addition when you consider the 3.1 megapixel stills and a wide range of shutter speeds available. A Web video mode captures MPEG-4 quality video to an SD card, while high quality video is captured to a standard MiniDV tape.
The NV-GS250 is a compact camcorder with a familiar form. It sits comfortably in the hand, with the important controls within easy reach of the index and middle fingers of the right hand. An excellent 10X optical zoom lens gives you variable speed zoom control, but 10X is considerably less than the 18X to 24X zooms now available on most single CCD MiniDV cameras.
The 2.5" LCD screen worked exceptionally well, even in daylight shooting, and an optical viewfinder is available for when conditions get too bright.
The NV-GS250 comes with a wired remote control, which also functions as a microphone. The wired remote is about 8cm long and has several control buttons. At the bottom, there is the Talk button with the PhotoShot button on top. There is also a zoom toggle switch below the record button. On the top of the wand-like remote is the microphone.
The colour performance of the NV-GS250 was as good as you would expect from a quality 3CCD camera. The low-light performance was also surprisingly good.
The top-loading tape mechanism makes the NV-GS250 an ideal camera to use when taking video on a tripod, as you can change tapes without having to dismount the camera.
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