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Top-of-the line HD camcorder

Pansonic's top prosumer HD camcorder includes a 120GB hard drive. However, it's about the same size--though a little heavier--than the flash-only TM300.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET

Manual controls

The manual focus button works in conjunction with the ring on the lens; when not used for focus, the ring zooms. The function button brings up white balance, iris, and shutter speed options on the touch-screen LCD.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET

Thin zoom

Though the hard disk makes the HS300 a little wider than the TM300, the placement of the accessory shoe means Panasonic had to relegate the zoom switch to the side; it's skinny and wobbly compared with the large comfortable switch on the TM300.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET

Controls

Despite the relatively large size of the camcorder, the mode dial is kind of small. The rest of the controls, pulled up by the bezel-based Quick Menu and Menu buttons, operate via the touch screen. Unfortunately, I found the touch screen relatively nonresponsive.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET

Connectors

A full complement of ports and connectors live in the LCD recess: AV, component, and mini HDMI out, USB, and an SDHC card slot. Panasonic recommends a Class 4 card.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET
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