CNET First Look
Panasonic SDR-T50, S50, and H85The Panasonic SDR-T50, S50, and H85 standard-definition camcorders are worth considering for their manual controls and powerful zoom lens in a very compact body--not their video quality.
>> Hi, I'm Josh Goldman, Senior Editor for CNET Reviews. And this a look at the Panasonic SDRT50, S50 and H85 standard definition camcorders. All three models are basically the same. It's just the storage that differs. The S50 has no internal memory, but takes SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards. The T50 and the H85 can store to those cards too, but the T50 also has 4 gigs of flash memory, and the H85 has an 80gig hard drive. And even with the hard drive, the size doesn't change that much. They're all very compact and feature a 70x optical zoom lens and an enhanced optical zoom of 78x. This enhanced zoom uses the extra pixels on the CCD sensor to increase magnification, which is different than a digital zoom that degrades quality. Regardless, that's a very long zoom range. And despite having very good optical image stabilization, you'll still want to use these on a tripod or other support if you're using the full zoom. All of these models have the same control setup, low resolution, 2.7inch LCD and shooting options. This includes fully automatic recording or full manual controls. Just flip back and forth between the two with this button. Everything about them is fairly straightforward. So even someone new to using a camcorder should be able to use it out of the box. Video quality is okay, on par with other current consumer standard definition camcorders. It's soft with [inaudible] visible noise, especially in dim lighting, and a lot of purple and green fringing around high contrast subjects. Yes, you can shoot video of the moon. And if capturing distant subject is all that matters to you, then they're worth the price. I'm Josh Goldman, and that's a look at the Panasonic SDRT50, S50 and H85.