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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Sharpness

Distortion

Low-light quality

Color and exposure

Color

Bokeh

Overall, the M4xx series' video looks relatively sharp--and looks even better played directly on a TV, like most of its competitors. There is some aliasing on edges, generally a result of the interlaced video format. (frame grab)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
I don't normally shoot a distortion shot for camcorders, though I'll probably start now; given how narrow the lens at its shortest focal length (43mm), I was surprised by the amount of barrel distortion there is. (frame grab)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
The camcorder's low-light video looks quite good; a little soft, but with a nice balance between sharpness and color saturation and accuracy in its noise reduction. (frame grab)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
Overall, the camcorder's exposure and color rendering look very good, with a broad tonal range--there's no excessive clipping in the highlights or shadows. (frame grab)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
This is just an example of the color processing difference between video and stills. Note how the saturation is pumped up for the stills.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
Though the M4xx series uses the same sensor as the more expensive HF G10, the lenses are very different, and it shows in a variety of ways. In this case, the more pentagonal aperture renders less pleasing out-of-focus highlights. Because the camcorder was stopped down to its smallest aperture it emphasizes the effect. (Frame grab)
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
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