Panasonic SDR-H85

The Good Very good image stabilization; well-designed; manual controls.

The Bad Low-resolution LCD; dated user interface; poor low-light video; no external mic, headphone jacks.

The Bottom Line The Panasonic SDR-H85 standard-definition camcorder is worth considering for its manual controls and powerful zoom lens in a very compact body--not video quality.

Editors' Rating
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 7.0
  • Image quality 6.0
7.2 Overall

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Review

Panasonic SDR-H85

The Panasonic SDR-H85 is like having a small telescope that's able to capture standard-definition video. With its 70x lens you'll have no problem getting closer to your subject, and its optical image stabilization is very good even if you're moving. (You'll still want to use a tripod or other support whenever possible; the O.I.S system is good, but not that good.) You get full manual controls, too, as well as an 80GB hard drive for storage and the ability to expand that with SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards.

The H85's video quality is merely OK, but it's typical of what you can expect from any current standard-def consumer camcorder. Low-light movies are particularly poor, though, due to heavy noise. Also, those needing jacks for an external mic or headphones won't find them.

This camcorder is simply an inexpensive, easy-to-use option for capturing average standard-definition video with a megazoom lens. Don't expect the fine-quality SD video found before HD camcorders took over the market. At this point, you're money is going for the lens and the storage, not the video results.

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Specs / Prices

  • MSRP $350
  • Brand Panasonic
  • Type camcorder
  • Weight 9.63 oz
  • Digital Video Format MPEG-2, H.264
  • Optical Sensor Type CCD
  • Features AF/AE tracking, Intelligent Contrast Control, Intelligent Scene Selector, Pre-Rec function, automatic display brightness adjustment, Relay Recording, backlight compensation, built-in help guide, built-in speaker, face detection, takes photos while movie recording
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model Black

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