Panasonic NV-GS500

Panasonic NV-GS500
  • Panasonic NV-GS500
  • Panasonic NV-GS500
  • Panasonic NV-GS500
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Excellent quality video, easy to use PC transfer

Cons

  • Slightly short optical zoom

Bottom Line

A MiniDV video camera that sits right at the top of the consumer camcorder ladder.

Would you buy this?

On top of great quality video the Panasonic NV-GS500 MiniDV video camera also produces still images of a respectable 4 megapixels, even allowing images to be saved while simultaneously shooting video.

The three CCD GS500 manages excellent colour differentiation and magnificently sharp details with little noticeable distortion and no sign of compression. Focusing on passing cars resulted in no stuttering or jerkiness, unlike some other models we have tested. Zooming in on the fine details of leaves produced solid edges with no fringing.

Other standard video features include night shot, wind reduction and a stereo microphone. Once again, as with other recent Panasonic models, we were thoroughly unimpressed with the night shot feature. Although the video is made much brighter, the corresponding drop in frame rate is a big disappointment. This is but a minor complaint considering how good the quality of the video is in regular light.

Despite having a wide range of features, using the camera is relatively simple. Panasonic has stuck to their tried and tested function selection dial with a five-way navigational stick in the centre. Using this it's possible to breeze through the simple two-level menu which contains almost all the available functions. This menu is displayed on the GS500's attractive 2.7 inch 16:9 widescreen LCD. Like all Panasonic's new video cameras the screen is of high quality and is even visible in direct sunlight. The viewfinder is also well designed and can flip out at two angles for ease of use.

The camera is large with a slightly cumbersome frame and is also relatively heavy. It's worth bearing in mind that if portability is your main criteria then the NV-GS500 isn't the ideal purchase. Panasonic has included 12x optical zoom, which although far from being the highest powered around, does a good enough job. Despite the bulky frame, holding the camera is comfortable with the main functions within easy reach. Battery life is a little disappointing at roughly an hour.

We were impressed when we transferred the footage to a PC. Panasonic include all the necessary components including a USB 2.0 cable and the easy to use, yet bizarrely titled, "Sweet Movie Life" software. Video is encoded in true 16:9 widescreen and was of exceptional quality when played back on a PC. There were no telltale signs of compression or a corresponding drop in frame rate. Panasonic also bundle MotionDV Studio 5.6 LE for editing videos. Firewire is supported but the cables for this aren't included.

While the GS500 still falls a long way behind the best still image cameras, its 4 megapixel sensor can definitely compete with products in the low-end section of the still camera market. The good quality images have decent colour reproduction, only minor flaws and are backed up with a full range of manual features and a flash. White balance, shutter speed and aperture priority modes are all included. On top of this, Panasonic has included an easy to use focus ring, akin to those found on SLR lenses and far better than a simple button. Another great feature is the ability to save images at the same time as shooting video, though this is only available at a one megapixel resolution. Images are saved to an SD card.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

PC World Evaluation Team Review - MSI GT75 TITAN

"I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it."

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

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.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?