CNET First Look
Panasonic HDC-TM300A very good prosumer HD camcorder, the Panasonic HDC-TM300 nevertheless has an annoying touch-screen interface.
[ Music ] ^m00:00:03 >> Hi I'm Lori Grunin, senior editor with CNET and this is the Panasonic HDC-TM300. The TM300 is Panasonic's highest end Pro Zoomer flash based camcorder. It has 32 gigabytes of memory built in, as well as an SD HD card slot. Panasonic recommends a class 4 card or faster to use with this camcorder, and that's pretty easy to find. It's a 3 chip camcorder with 3 CMOS chips, and unlike previous models from Panasonic, it has 3 full sized chips; meaning that each chip by itself is more than HD resolution. And that's necessary to get the best quality video. And finally Panasonic achieves that, although when I looked at the video I didn't say 'oh my God that's 3 chip video'. It did finally match up to video quality from competitors from Cannon and Sony. So Panasonic finally has a really descent Pro Zoomer camcorder. Unfortunately I wasn't crazy about 1 aspect of the design. It uses a touchscreen, which didn't feel very responsive. And although it has a full set of manual controls including the manual zoom and focus ring, using the touchscreen to change your white balance, shutter speed, and iris... it doesn't feel very fluid. And even though it has an eye level view finder, which you enable by pulling out, and that's a really nice feature that a lot of camcorders are dropping, you can't use the manual features while you're using the eye level view finder because you have to use the touchscreen. So you know, Panasonic giveth, Panasonic taketh away. Everything else about the camcorder is very well designed. It has a nice big zoom switch, if you're not using the ring, and the zoom switch is very comfortable. Panasonic put an accessory shoe on this model, and moved it to the side because when you hold a camcorder like this, your fingers go over the top and would be blocking the accessory shoe. Here it's slightly blocked but still in a good place, and it's close to the microphone input, which is really what most people will be using the accessory shoe for. So if the touchscreen operation doesn't make you crazy, and you should definitely try it before you buy it, then you'll find this a pretty good camcorder as I did. I'm Lori Grunin and this is the Panasonic HDC-TM300. ^m00:02:25 [ Music ]