CNET First Look
Panasonic HDC-HS300A very good prosumer HD camcorder, the Panasonic HDC-HS300 still isn't as good a deal as the similarly featured but flash-based TM300 and has the same annoying touch-screen interface.
[ music ] ^M00:00:03 >> Hi, I'm Lori Grunin, Senior Editor with CNET. And this is the Panasonic HDC-HS300. This is Panasonic's top of the line hard disk space prosumer [phonetic] camcorder. And it's virtually identical to the TM300, which is its flash only based sibling. Even though it's about the same size as a TM300, it's a little heavier, because of the hard drive. And some of the design aspects are different. For instance, it has this tiny zoom switch, which is less comfortable to use than that on the TMC300. And the accessory shoe is on top instead of on the side. Other than that it functions almost identically and has the same specs. It has 3 Cmoss [phonetic] chips, which individually are high resolution enough to do HD video. So the camcorder doesn't suffer from some of the same image quality problems that Panasonic has had with previous models. It does have a lot of the same nice manual controls, however. It has a manual focus slash zoom ring that you toggle between, as well as manual controls for white balance, iris, and shutter. Those controls operate in conjunction with the touch screen LCD, which I'm not crazy about the touch screen on these models. I find it fairly non-responsive. So you're gonna have to try it out yourself before you buy it. Camcorder has 120-gigabyte hard drive, just like its lower end brother the HS250. Once thing that's nice on this model, just like the TM300, is it still has the electronic viewfinder, also known as an eyelevel viewfinder. However, because all of the manual controls operate in the touch screen you can't use the eyelevel viewfinder with the manual controls, you have to shoot, stop, set your setting, close it, and then go back to the eyelevel view finder. Like both of its siblings, the HS300 has a full set of ports, including the mini HDMI, component out, AV out, and a USB connection. It also, as I said, takes an SDHC card in addition to the hard drive. And Panasonic recommends class 4 card for use with this. In addition to the rather small zoom switch; the mode dial is oddly small on this model as well as on the HS250. Even though the camcorder is about the same size, some of the stuff had to necessarily be smaller to make room for the hard disk. Overall, the video quality doesn't scream I use 3 sensors, but it defiantly, finally competitive with models from Cannon and Sony. I'm Lori Grunin, and this is the Panasonic HDC-HS300.