Panasonic SDR-S7

Pintsized camcorder that punches above its weight

Panasonic SDR-S7
  • Panasonic SDR-S7
  • Panasonic SDR-S7
  • Panasonic SDR-S7
  • Expert Rating

    3.75 / 5


  • Affordable price, super-small design, convenience of SD/SDHC format


  • Occasional image issues, design may prove awkward for some users

Bottom Line

The Panasonic SDR-S7 is clearly not for everyone, but if you're looking for a cheap, user-friendly and highly portable camera, this is one of the better buys on the market. (It looks ferociously cute, too.)

Would you buy this?

The SDR-S7 is an ultra-compact, flash-memory-based camcorder that records video in standard definition. Aimed squarely at the entry-level demographic, it prioritises ease-of-use and affordability over video quality. Nevertheless, it should prove sufficient for capturing family movies, and is just about the cutest gadget you're ever likely to use.

The SDR-S7 shares a lot in common with its underwater cousin, the SDR-SW20. Both models sport similar designs and identical specifications, including a 1/6in CCD sensor, 10x optical zoom lens and 800k effective pixel count. However, whereas the SDR-SW20 is dust-proof, shock-proof and waterproof, the SDR-S7 is a standard camcorder (which is to say, it's fairly fragile). Dropping this baby in the water will result in instant destruction; whatever you do, don't get the two models mixed up!

As with the SDR-SW20, the SDR-S7 records standard definition video to SD/SDHC memory cards. The SDHC format is the rising star of Panasonic's camcorder range, with no fewer than eight models currently using this technology. The benefits of SDHC-based camcorders are numerous. They include playback convenience, prolonged battery life, the ability to hot-swap your data between compatible devices and greatly reduced camera size. This last point is especially salient in the SDR-S7's case — size (or rather, the lack of it) is arguably its strongest selling point.

They say that good things come in small packages, and they certainly don't get much smaller than this. The SDR-S7 is the tiniest fully-functional camcorder we've ever laid eyes on. Its minuscule 102x41x59mm dimensions lend the device an adorable appearance guaranteed to garner double-takes from passing strangers. Indeed, when we first pulled it out of the box, our entire office gathered around to make delighted cooing noises in a manner usually reserved for babies (and we don't eat quiche or anything). On the cute-o-meter, it would probably fall somewhere between a basket of fluffy kittens and the precocious dwarf from Webster. Naturally, this makes the SD7 a perfect travel companion, and suitable for carrying around in a jacket pocket. If you're into short film-making, it will also assist in capturing avant-garde shots (for instance, the interior of a car glove box).

Unfortunately, the SDR-S7's pintsized dimensions have forced Panasonic to make a few design concessions. Chief among these is the absence of a hand strap — instead, a loop of fabric must be worn around the wrist during operation. This forces you to firmly grasp the camera at all times. It also encourages the habit of 'going commando', sans wristband (which leads to a higher likelihood of dropping and breaking it). On the plus side, the camcorder's unconventional design allows you to hold it in a variety of ways. We found the most effective method was to grasp the camcorder like a battery-operated torch. (Panasonic has thoughtfully included an additional record button near the lens for this purpose.)

Another design oversight is the location of the battery and memory card slots beneath the camera. If you're the type of user who favours tripods for silky smooth pans and tilts, this may prove to be a headache: it forces you to remove the camera from the tripod whenever you need to swap batteries or SD cards. With that being said, the SDR-S7 was never designed for capturing award-winning videos, so it might be best to ignore your tripod altogether.

We were mostly satisfied with the video performance of this camcorder. It performed adequately for an entry-level model. As with most standard-def cameras, bright lighting is essential for attaining attractive footage. One other caveat is that compression artefacts were quite noticeable in our test footage, with occasional glitches marring sections of the frame. The SDR-S7 is also capable of capturing 640x480 JPEG still images. As one would expect, the results are rather rudimentary.

The SDR-S7 will record around 3.5 hours of standard-definition video onto the included 4GB SD card, which should see you through a day or two's worth of shooting. Naturally, higher capacity cards will net you more recording hours, though you will need to factor the additional cost into your purchase (32GB cards from Panasonic currently retail for $899).

Join the newsletter!


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

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


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.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?