Pocket camcorders tend to compromise fairly drastically on features and image quality in order to provide ultra-portable dimensions. But the Panasonic HDC-SD10 doesn't make any concessions on the high-definition video front and offers a number of useful extras, despite keeping everything small and neat, including its asking price of £370 or thereabouts.
It's possible to find HD camcorders that are smaller and lighter than the HDC-SD10 -- take the recently reviewed , for instance. But, while many models in the pocket-camcorder category end up taking quite a hit in the quality department, the HDC-SD10 aims high, with 1,920x1,080-pixel AVCHD video recorded at the same high bit rate (17Mbps) as the models at the top of Panasonic's consumer range.
Although the 1/6-inch CMOS image sensor is actually quite small and the effective resolution of 1.17 megapixels is relatively low for an HD model, the HDC-SD10's high-quality optics and image processing make for an extremely pleasing picture. Edges are crisp and colours are rich, with little in the way of unwanted artefacts or motion issues.
Panasonic has squeezed plenty of impressive technology into this little package. For example, a 'proper' optical image stabiliser is included, as opposed to the less effective electronic type that many diminutive camcorders get stuck with. The generous 16x optical zoom is another pleasant surprise.