Samsung VP-D361

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Samsung VP-D361

Samsung's reputation for powerful functionality and innovative design is continued in the VP-D36x Mini DV Camcorders. Featuring enhanced audio and bat...

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80% positive

4 reviews from the community

Review of "Samsung VP-D361"

published 04/04/2007 | damo1980
Member since : 30/11/-0001
Reviews : 8
Members who trust : 0
About me :
Super
Pro Price, "Easy Q" Feature, Advanced Technology, Viewfinder Focus
Cons Complex Menu and Manual, Time consuming Set-up
very helpful
Ease of use
Durability
Range & quality of features
Recording quality
Picture quality

"Sold on the spur of the moment!"

Decision;
Having recently brought a Digital Camera I thought it was about time to upgrade to a Camcorder as well.
About three months ago I was traveling past my local Argos store and as normal I stopped to take a look at the special offer posters in the window. I noticed a large poster advertising this camera for £179, 99, I thought "wow" what a great price for large branded company like Samsung and with this in mind I entered the store to investigate further. After checking the price was the same with the product in the catalogue I notice that it also came with a free gift, a Samsung Camcorder Accessory Kit worth £39, 99 which includes a Carry Case, spare battery and a sixty minute DVC Tape. I was sold and on the spur of the moment I immediately brought the camcorder!

Samsung Camcorder (VP-D361);
On opening the box the camcorder was packaged very nicely as you would expect from a well know brand. Also included with the camcorder was an AC cord, AC adaptor, AV cable, Main Battery, Lithium Cell (Battery), Lens Cover & Nylon Cord, Adjustable Hand Strap and an Instruction booklet. I was very happy with the size of the camcorder measuring 9.3cm high × 5.3cm wide × 10.5cm long but it had a disappointing standard two tone color being brushed silver and black, silver on the outside and black where your hand cups the camcorder along the Hand Strap. Personally I would like to see a manufacturer be a little more daring and produce there products with a wide range of vibrant colors. We seem to be living in an age of Grey / Silver and / or Black!!

On inspecting the camcorder I counted a total of twelve function buttons on the outside and a further three under the LCD screen giving a very able to use, simplistic look. There is also two hidden compartments that are covered by black rubber caps which are very easy to open, the first is larger about 6cm long × 1.5cm wide alongside the Hand Strap for the DVi - Interface, Microphone port and AV port. The second is much smaller measuring 2cm long × 0.7cm wide at the back of the camcorder next to the Main Battery and this is for connection to Direct Current (DC), for when you want to charge the Battery? It also has an internal Microphone for picking up sound in Left (L) and Right(R) Stereo format situated on the front below the Lens, this measures approximately 2cm long × 2.5cm high and is Jet Black in color. The camcorder weighs about as heavy as a large cup of coffee and it feels very comfortable and sturdy in my hands. Overall I was very happy with the look and design for the money.

Functionality & Set-up (Now it was time to see how the camcorder worked? Out came the Instruction Manual).

Hand Strap and Lens cover;
The Hand Strap is already permanently attached to the backside of the camcorder and all that was required from me was to thread the rest of the Strap through a designed hole at the front side and to close it using a Velcro strip once I had determined a comfortable size for my hand. The Velcro is adequately long, 5.5cm on both sides to adjust the strap for both small and large hands. The Strap is made from Nylon-Thread and is Gray in color, measuring 1cm wide × 3mm thick. When unraveled the total Strap length is 25cm. Glued to the Strap is a large Cushioning pad 8.5cm long × 3.5cm wide × 7mm thick made from Sponge and Leather trim also Grey in color, designed to add comfort to the back of the hand, which it does very well. The Lens cover was very easy to attach but could be tricky if you have large hands? All I needed to do was loop the piece of Nylon cord through the hole on the lens cover and pull tight then loop the other end onto the hand strap.

Lithium Cell (Battery);
This is for the internal clock; its function is to preserve the clocks memory even if the battery pack or AC Power Adapter is removed saving you the hassle of resetting the clock each time! The installation is very similar to inserting a 'SIM Card' in a mobile phone, first you take off the main Battery then lift up the Lithium Battery cover, position the Lithium Battery and close the cover, when this is done slide the main Battery back on top. All was very easy and straight forward but you have to be vigilant and insert the battery the right way round for it to function properly. Also the Lithium Battery has a six months life span under normal conditions.

Main 7.4V Battery (SB-LSM80);
A chunky rechargeable Battery, which easily slides onto the back of the Camcorder and can be removed with the aid of a battery-release button. It takes approximately 1hr15mins to fully charge and with this you can record using the LCD Screen for about the same amount of time (1hr15mins) but you can squeeze more time out of the Battery, about 15mins more by using the Viewfinder instead.

Recording Tapes;
The Camcorder only uses 'Mini DV' Cassettes, to insert or takeout a tape you must be connected to a power source (Main Battery / AC Adaptor). It states clearly in the manual; "Slide the Tape Eject Switch and the Cassette Door opens automatically" in a way this is true for the inner workings of the door but not for the outer casing of the Camcorder? You must press & hold the 'Tape Eject Switch' and while doing this softly pull the out casing to the left. Once this is achieved the metal cassette holder automatically comes up and out. This is not explained in the Manuel and it took me a while to figure it out! The tapes can be any make as long as they are 'Mini DV'; I personally use Samsung's own brand 60mins tapes. I also use the tapes on 'Long-Play' which extends my filming time to 90mins.

Menu Setup Easy Q & LCD Screen;
Manual Menu setup requires a lot of your time to figure out how everything works and which setup is best for certain conditions, this can give you a frustrating headache in the process. All setup features are accessed through the 'On Screen Display' or 'OSD'; this is shown on the 2.5inch 'Liquid Crystal Display' or 'LCD'. With this in mind Samsung have incorporated an added extra, a very easy solution called 'Quick menu", this provides you easier access to frequently used menus without having to go through the long standard menu, all of this at the press of a button. Both the 'Menu' and 'Quick Menu' buttons can be found easy next to the Viewfinder on the top-back-right of the Camcorder. The OSD shows over thirty Icon functions within 'Player' and 'Camera' modes and there are too many menus functions to list! But all can be found clearly on pages 20-21 of the Manuel. To switch from 'Player' to 'Camera' mode is very simple, there is a large circular switch located perfectly for use with your thumb when holding the camera correctly and when turned 'Up' means "Player Mode' and when turned 'Down' means 'Camera Mode" and in the middle of the two is the 'Off Mode'.

If you're a beginner like me and the Menu controls seem too much, don't worry because Samsung have added an even better feature called 'Easy Q'! This allows you to start filming straight away without the hassle of setting up any of the Menu as its all done for you. Set the Camcorder to 'Camera Mode', open the LCD Screen and then press the 'East Q' button situated just above the LCD Screen on the left hand side of the Camcorder and press Record. When you become more technical with functions you may wish to set the Camcorder up using the Menu but until then 'Easy Q' is the way to go. Also in this mode you can not adjust any of the other functions or setting as they are all preset for you, people with more knowledge of Camcorders might find this feature a hindrance?

The LCD Screen makes filming your subject very easy with a crisp, sharp, color picture. The screen can open 90 degrees to the Camcorder and then rotate through a total of 180 degrees on its own axis. Also if you rotate the screen 180 degrees to the Lens, you can close the screen with it facing out. This is a very convenient feature during playbacks. Also adjustments can be made to the color and brightness of the screen depending on the conditions where you are indoors or outdoors, night or day? The sounds recorded in filming plays back excellently, very crisp and easy to hear. The sound volume can also be adjusted to individual preferences. Two other features that work very well with the LCD are 'Zoom' and 'Auto Focus', with a bit of practice using the Camcorder all these features gives you a professional look to your finished films.

Viewfinder;
You need to play around with the Viewfinder to adjust it to your own setting because it has an adjustment button for people with vision problems to see the image clearer. For people who wear glasses this is a fantastic feature and a cleaver piece of technology considering the price of the Camcorder. This is done by pulling the Viewfinder back towards you 1.5cm to expose the adjustment button on the left hand side, while looking through the Viewfinder (without the Lens cap on) you can adjust the Lens focus until the picture becomes sharp. Also the Viewfinder is in color the same as the LCD. What I didn't like, there was no soft material or rubber around the edge of the viewfinder making it uncomfortable against the eye socket.

Zoom, Macro and Color Nite Mode;
The first two functions give you 33×Optical Zoom allowing you to change the size of your subject and also allowing you to film up close with an effective distance range 50-100cm away from the Lens. The Zoom is controlled by a 'Paddle' switch located on the top of the Camcorder; by pushing it to the right (Telephoto) side the subject appears closer. By pushing to the left (Wide Angle) side the subject appears farther away, it also allows you to film your subject that is about 10mm away from the Lens! The speed at which you push the paddle switch is in direct correlation with how fast you zoom in and out, a delicate touch is needed for smooth filming. Macro Mode is for up close filming allowing you to produce a clearer, more detailed picture, the button it located inside the LCD Screen compartment and can be used when the LCD is in the 'Open' position. Color Nite Mode allows you to control certain aspects of the shutter speed allowing you to take shots of objects in slow motion, or make an image brighter in a darker place without compromising the quality of the colors. This mode is for more advanced users but if you wish to give it a go the button can be found next to the Macro Button.

Advanced Recording;
If the 'Easy Q' function is not your thing then the Camcorder has six Programmed Automatic exposure Modes for you to try. These are more advanced programs and can be adjusted in the Menu, unlike 'Easy Q' which cannot be adjusted. The six Program Modes are; 'Auto Mode' for normal use with the ability to change setting, 'Sports Mode' for record fast moving objects, 'Portrait Mode' for focusing on the background of the subject when the background is Blurred and out of focus - and is very good for outdoor filming, 'Spotlight Mode' for recording when there is only light on the subject and not on the rest of the shot, 'Sand/Snow Mode' for when your subject is darker than the surrounding because of reflected light from the ground and other sources and 'High-Speed Mode' for very-fast moving objects like in Golf or Tennis. They functions give you a greater depth of control but they only work in the Camera Mode.

Manual;
The Manuel is very informative but at times confusing because it's not only for this Camcorder but six different other Samsung models? When studying the Manuel you have to be careful to make sure the camera function you are reading about is the one for your Camcorder and not a different model?? A good feature of the Manuel is its Diagrams; they are very clear and easy to understand. All-in-all a very complex Manuel, which requires your full attention to be understood correctly.

Summary;
I've tried to outline the main features and components that make up this Camcorder, too fully understand everything it can/can't do you need to buy it and then spend time familiarizing yourself with the many and sometimes complex functions! I believe it's suitable for all experience levels from beginner to very advanced user, and for the price at £179.99 a bargin for the technology you're acquiring. Overall a very good deal and worth my recommendation.

Thank you for reading.




Community evaluation

This review was read 5394 times and was rated at
79% :
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very helpful

Comments on this review

  • Red-blood-Black-heart published 23/12/2007
    great review
  • frain2005 published 07/09/2007
    Awesome Review, Ben xx
  • MumCC published 12/06/2007
    A very good review.
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Product Information : Samsung VP-D361

Manufacturer's product description

Samsung's reputation for powerful functionality and innovative design is continued in the VP-D36x Mini DV Camcorders. Featuring enhanced audio and battery life, these feature-rich performers make movie making fun and easy.

Product Details

Product Description: Samsung VP-D361 - camcorder - Mini DV

Product Type: Camcorder

Media Type: Mini DV

Sensor Resolution: 800 Kpix

Effective Sensor Resolution: Video: 400 Kpix

Lens System: 33 x zoom lens - 2.29 - 75.57 mm - f/1.6

Focus Adjustment: Automatic, manual

Image Stabiliser: Electronic

Viewfinder: LCD monitor - 0.3" - colour

Display: LCD display - 2.7", LCD display - 2.5"

Supported Battery: 1 x Li-ion rechargeable battery ( included )

AV Interfaces: Composite video, S-Video

Colour: Silver

Dimensions (WxDxH): 6.4 cm x 11.8 cm x 9.2 cm

Weight: 350 g

Digital Zoom: 1200 x

General

MPN: VP-D361/XEU, VP-D361

Product Type: Camcorder

Enclosure Colour: Silver

Camcorder Sensor Resolution: 800 Kpix

Effective Video Resolution: 400 Kpix

Camcorder Media Type: Mini DV

Optical Sensor Type: CCD

Optical Sensor Size: 1/6"

Optical Zoom: 33 x

Video Recording Modes: SP, LP

Faders: Black fader

Image Stabiliser: Electronic

AV Interfaces: Composite video, S-Video

Digital Zoom: 1200 x

Exposure & White Balance

Min Illumination: 3 lux

Exposure Modes: Programme, automatic, manual

Shooting Programs: Sand & snow, spotlight, portrait mode, hi-speed shutter, sports mode

Special Effects: Negative, Art, Black & White, Sepia, Mosaic, Pastel, Mirror, Emboss

White Balance: Custom, automatic, presets

White Balance Presets: Indoor, outdoor

Max Shutter Speed: 1/10000 sec

Min Shutter Speed: 1/50 sec

Lens System

Type: 33 x zoom lens - 2.29 - 75.57 mm - f/1.6

Focus Adjustment: Automatic, manual

Zoom Adjustment: Motorised drive

Filter Size: 27 mm

Additional Features

Additional Features: Built-in speaker, backlight compensation, display brightness control, 16:9 widescreen mode

Viewfinder

Viewfinder Type: LCD monitor

Viewfinder Colour Support: Colour

Viewfinder Diagonal Size: 0.3"

Viewfinder Resolution: 123,000 pixels

Display

Type: 2.7" LCD display, 2.5" LCD display

Resolution: 230,000 pixels

Display Features: Rotating

Microphone

Microphone Operation Mode: Stereo

Microphone Features: Zoom, wind noise reduction

Connections

Connector Type: 1 x microphone ¦ 1 x composite video/audio output ¦ 1 x S-Video output ¦ 1 x IEEE 1394 (FireWire/i.LINK) ¦ 1 x DC power input

Miscellaneous

Included Accessories: Lens cap, power adapter, S-Video cable, audio / video cable

Battery

Battery Type: Samsung SB-LSM80

Details: 1 x Li-ion rechargeable battery ( included )

Dimensions & Weight

Width: 6.4 cm

Depth: 11.8 cm

Height: 9.2 cm

Weight: 350 g

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Listed on Ciao since: 13/08/2006