We've got our hands on the Panasonic HDC-SD5, a dinky SD-card-based 3CCD hi-def camcorder. Take a look at our photos for more
Panasonic's trio of prosumer camcorders, the hard-disk-based HDC-HS900 and flash-based TM900 and SD800, deliver generally excellent video quality and provide the full set of manual controls and features advanced users want. But you have to be willing to baby the white balance a bit. The TM900 is my top pick of the three for its EVF, but if you're on a tight budget the SD800 should suit just fine.
Panasonic's HDC-TM40, TM41 and SD40 are some of the cheapest camcorders you can buy with a zoom lens and manual controls. If you care about video quality, spend a little more money on another model; if you don't, buy the cheapest one of these you can find, adjusting for the cost of memory for the SD40.
Panasonic's quartet of entry-level HD camcorders--the HDC-HS60, TM60, TM55, and SD60--delivers a nice manual feature set and good performance, as well as solid video quality for their class. As long as you don't pay list price, the SD60 is a great value, and if possible, avoid paying the unnecessary price premium for the hard drive in the HS60.
The flash-based Panasonic HDC-TM700 and its hard-disk sibling, the HDC-HS700, stand out for their low-light video quality and broad set of manual controls. However, while the TM700 is very attractively priced for its class, the HS700 is not, and not worth the price premium unless you absolutely need the hard disk.
A very good prosumer HD camcorder, the Panasonic HDC-HS300 still isn't as good a deal as the similarly featured but flash-based TM300 and has the same annoying touch-screen interface.
A very good prosumer HD camcorder, the Panasonic HDC-HS250 is the best deal of its product line, but has the same annoying touch-screen interface.
A very good prosumer HD camcorder, the Panasonic HDC-TM300 nevertheless has an annoying touch-screen interface.
Though it has a nice feature set for the price, the Panasonic HDC-SD100 doesn't deliver the quality of video you expect from an HD camcorder in its price segment.