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Ring around the lens

The lens ring serves a variety of purposes, including manual focus and zoom, and adjusting shutter speed and iris. It has a pretty nice feel for a servoelectronic mechanism.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET

Manual controls

You use the zoom ring in conjunction with the buttons and switches to control most of the manual features. The Cam Func button is quite small and difficult to manipulate without looking, unfortunately.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET

Electronic viewfinder

Unlike many midrange and prosumer camcorders, Panasonic retains an EVF on the HS100.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET

Switches

The HS100 has a traditional zoom switch with a very nice, responsive feel that makes it easy to get a controlled zoom. The camcorder also has a switch to toggle between the EVF and LCD, which is odd but nice; usually the camcorder automatically switches when you open the LCD.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET

No joy on the joystick

The joystick's location makes it disorienting to use, and it's a bit too recessed, which makes it difficult to manipulate. Thankfully, you don't need to use it too much--unless you use face detection, night mode, telemacro, or other marginal shooting features.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET

Under covers

The component output, headphone jack, and SD card slot are located within the LCD recess.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET
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