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Panasonic HDC-TM700 early review: Feature-packed 1080p camcorder

The new Panasonic HDC-TM700 high-definition camcorder boasts more features than you could shake a stick at, but we suggest that you put down the stick and look at our pictures instead

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Richard Trenholm

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If you want your next high-definition camcorder to come with more features than your stick-shaking abilities can cope with, take a gander at the Panasonic HDC-TM700. We've whipped it out of the box for a close-up tour of those high-end options.

The TM700 sits in the middle of a triumvirate of feature-packed prosumer 1080p camcorders. The HS700, TM700 and SD700 differ in how much they can remember. The HS700 packs a 240GB memory and the TM700 holds 32GB. All three support SD, SDHC and SDXC cards.

High-end features included on the 700 models include a manual focus ring on the front of the camera -- great for taking charge of your videos. An accessory shoe sits in the side of the body, which is unusual, as they're generally found on the top. That could unbalance the camera, depending on the accessories, and an adaptor is required for some peripherals. Sounds a mite fiddly to us.

Still, it's a relatively light and slender frame to hold so many features. It also has a lens cover action we could watch all day, but that's just us.

Click through our gallery of the TM700 for a closer look at the TM700's range of clever features, and to find out the all-important price.

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Sound is handled by a 5.1-channel zoom microphone. A mic-in connection is located at the front.
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The TM700 captures 2-megapixel stills even while shooting video.
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The TM700 packs 32GB memory built-in.
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The screen well includes a standby button, a button for switching to 1080/50p and a fistful of connections.
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Inside the hinged hatch are HDMI, USB and AV sockets, as well as a slot for SD, SDHC and SDXC cards.
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The battery slides in sideways, rather than slotting in vertically as on most camcorders. Maybe that's to stop it falling out, like that ever happened.
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The screen bezel includes the major shooting options: quick menu, record, zoom, menu and delete.
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The viewfinder pops out for eye-level shooting, but doesn't tilt.
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The flip-out, 76mm (3-inch) touchscreen lets you control the camera with the touch of a finger.
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Also in the box is a lens hood, remote control for your camera -- or Panasonic TV -- and a stylus in case the touchscreen defeats you.
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The Panasonic TM700 is available now for around £850.

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