Advantages Small, light, 30 x optical zoom, good battery
Disadvantages Can be awkward to use, no firewire cable
|Ease of use|
|Range & quality of features|
I film a lot of rugby matches, and, as I was getting ready for a Saturday morning match, on the Friday evening I decided to check my camcorder (JVC - 6 years old, mini-DV). It did not work, and I could not make it work, so I went to a well-known department store and bought a new one.I wanted a mini DV camcorder, preferably with DV-in, and a good optical zoom. The assistant informed me that DV-in was now uncommon, but otherwise I could choose from about eight models. A rough mental calculation showed that the best price/zoom combination was the Panasonic NV-GS37, which, as it was the display model, had a discount. I paid, and took it home to prepare the camcorder for the next day.
The first thing that surprised me was the size of it, and I wondered how the tape could possibly fit into the camcorder. It slides in horizontally on the right hand side, under the grip belt, which, awkwardly, has to be moved out of the way. The next thing was the size of the supplied battery, physically very small, but, as it turned out, had plenty of power to record the whole of the game's action (55 min stop/start) but had sufficient power to rewind, and then replay the unedited tape. The 30 x optical zoom was amazing, far better than the previous camcorder. However, the 1000 x digital zoom is pointless.The controls are easy to use, with the play/pause button operated by the right hand thumb, and the zoom operated by right hand index finger. The still facility (photo shot), is just behind the zoom button. There is no photo-card, but it saves a "still" picture of 7 seconds to the tape.
The image in the viewfinder is less bright than actuality, but this will save straining your eye. The camcorder is not supplied with a neck strap, but the grip belt has loops on it to fit one.One interesting feature is the claim that the microphone "zooms" with the optical zoom. I could not detect this in use or playback.
There are five different scene modes, for difficult situations, like sports, or snow, and the exposure is compensated to suit the individual circumstance, The others are portrait, low light, and spotlight. They are only available in "manual". It seemed thatThe camcorder is fitted with a small, but bright LED white light, which lights up to about 1.5m.
The camcorder is fitted with three outputs, but only 2 cables. There is an AV cable for connecting to a video player, and a USB 2.0 cable for connecting to a computer. A DV (firewire) output port is available, but no cable is supplied. The remote control is quite useful for reviewing tapes through a video player, but I have not used it much, as yet.There are many functions on this camcorder which I have not yet used, including soft skin mode (softens tone of skin) and blank search (finds unrecorded sections of tape).
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