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As a Standard Definition (SD) Camcorder the FS200 provides a strong choice in a competitive market but does not come without its faults.
Optical sensor size: 1/6 " Optical sensor resolution: 800000 pixels Auto focus: Yes Manual focus: Yes Scene modes Sunset: Portrait: Beach/Snow: Sports: Spotlight: Supported image formats: JPEG Still image capture resolutions: 1024 x 768, 640 x 480 Compatible memory cards: SD/SDHC Hard disk drive capacity: 16 GB Weight & dimensions Weight: 225 g Width: 55 mm Depth: 121 mm Height: 59 mm Digital zoom: 2000 x Optical zoom: 37 x Aperture range: f2.0 - f5.2 Megapixel: 1.23 MP Battery technology: Lithium-Ion
Given the range of choice on offer, this is certainly one to consider seriously at the top range of the Standard Definition technology. A very compact device with a 37 x Optical zoom but lacks image stabilisation which is a major draw back when compared to alternative cameras within the same price range.
I found the model to be light and comfortable in the hand with it being easily portable, accessible and robust. The video quality isn’t perfect and don’t expect it to compete with the lower budget High Definition devices.
Being available in now standard Red, Silver and Blue, it looks good and draws attention. The flip out 69mm (2.7 inch) LCD is standard and well built to take a few knocks. I found the interface to be logical and easy to use with little need to refer to the manual with basic camcorder knowledge.
Although not perfect, I was pleased with the quality of the video and there is an intelligent feature that allows a ‘dual shot’ option that lets you switch between capturing stills and video without changing modes. Unfortunately however, you cannot capture still images whilst recording video which to me is a significant lack of an important feature.
The battery life is sufficient for a day out with a range of 1 hr and 40 minutes next to the LCD makes the function of the FS200 relatively easy. The buttons are clearly labeled with quick access to the menus.
As demonstrated in the specifications, the FS200 has generous video shooting options. Thankfully the automatic shooting option is probably what most people will need to use. I have certainly not felt the need to keep messing around with the menu settings.
A unique feature is the ‘Video Snap Mode’ that captures repeatedly only 4 seconds of video. It is not obvious what the purpose of this is, but I am sure that these clips are likely to end up on You Tube.
I liked the overall performance of the video but in low light there were some minor ‘low noise’ and colour issues. This is standard with such cameras and I doubt if this would put the casual user off.
Having tried the FS200, I struggle to decide whether the FS200 provides best value for money when compared to entrance level High Definition alternatives. A major draw back was the lack of a image stabiliser which reduces the appeal of this camera even against other Standard Definition models. This therefore falls into a grey area and although good, would not be my favourite option. If the price was to fall by another £50 - £60 pounds then there would be higher temptation to say that this is a very good value for money camcorder.
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