In many ways Panasonic’s TM700 is not that different from the competition but in one substantial way it’s way ahead.
Without getting too technical the TM700 supports full HD at 60p or 60 frames per second progressive. That’s double or more the frame rate of most other camcorders which means smoother and higher quality video. The downside is that the recorded video files are larger, take longer to transfer and process and many video editing applications don’t fully support it yet. There are ways around that though and it shouldn’t put you off buying this camcorder.
Besides the 60p mode this is well-equipped camcorder. Panasonic’s usual Intelligent Auto mode makes the decisions for you if you want to let it but you can also control everything manually, which is rare on this type of camcorder. If you record a lot of people the camera can detect and follow faces, a great feature I find when I do video interviews with people.
The lens starts at a respectable 35mm wide angle and has 10x optical zoom and digital zoom after that. Video and photos are recorded to the internal 32GB of flash memory or to an SD card. The 32GB is enough to record about two and a half hours of video at the 60p setting but you should know that the standard battery gives up after about an hour of continuous recording.
Although I admire the video quality coming out of this small camcorder I also see things besides battery life that could be improved. For example, to remove the battery you have to open the LCD display, which means the camera turns on, if only for a fraction of a second. I’m glad there is an accessory shoe for a light or microphone but it’s awkwardly placed on the side and requires a special adapter. Finally, still images from the TM700 look dull in terms of sharpness and colour despite Panasonic’s claim of them being 14.2 megapixels.
But besides those complaints, to sum up, the TM700 is more expensive than other camcorders in the same class but it’s well worth the price. At Dh5,199 you pay a premium for the 60p mode but if it’s high video quality in a small package you’re after this is currently the camcorder to get.
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