Review of Panasonic HC-V550 Camcorder. Panasonic’s compact video camera is a great tool for bloggers and parents alike as it is light, portable and shoots great quality images easily.
As part of the #PanasonicBritBloggers Ambassador team, I was sent this HC-V550 High Definition Video Camera to test and review. Here are some of the Ambassadors and Panasonic experts:
The Panasonic Ambassadors chosen for the year were asked to work with the ‘Cameras and Imaging’ product range, and everyone was sent something to review. I got one of the camcorders and here is a shot of the camcorder and box…
I’m one of those people who learns best by doing and experiencing, so I’ve had to take the camcorder out on several occasions to give it a try and really see what it can do. What I can initially say is that I love its size. It is about the size of a Coke can, and it is shaped like this too, so it sits very nicely in the palm of your hand, making it a convenient camera to ‘whip out’ when the need strikes and capture what is going on.
Now before you read any further I need to give you a disclaimer… I’m not a major league techy person. I know what I know and I’m learning all the time, so don’t be expecting any advanced information from this review! I think that if you want that you can download the manual from the internet and read away. What I can tell you is what I’ve used the camcorder for and how I found it, in my everyday life. I’m sure I haven’t even scratched the surface of what this camcorder can do yet, but here is my experience.
I’ve had the camcorder now for two months and in that time I’ve been to a couple of music concerts with my daughter, both the kids’ sports days at school, and on a blogger trip to France where I used the camcorder to capture the action I didn’t want to forget. The size of the device is a big deal to me, because I was able to take it easily in my handbag along with my camera, so I had everything to hand for memory making!
The camcorder has a velcro strap to the right side so you can slot your hand through to safely hold the camcorder whilst shooting. A flip screen at the left side pulls out as your view finder and also the viewing screen when you are playing your recording back. This set up works well for me, as a right handed person, but I imagine it would be harder for a ‘lefty’ to comfortably use.
There is a zoom button on the top and the start and stop record button is on the back- facing you. It has been well thought out and the buttons placed where your fingers can easily reach! I use my thumb to switch on the record mode and my middle finger for the zoom. There is a button that sits under my index finger but I have yet to use this yet! I’m informed by the manual however that this button is for taking still pictures with the camcorder, so you can use it like a camera too. I have to point out a negative here though. It wasn’t easy to find out what this button was in the manual. It took me about 10 minutes of flicking through and reading to locate where this button was mentioned. If Panasonic want to take on board some feedback, then I’d love a basic diagram of the camcorder right at the start of the manual with a line and a number pointing to each button or feature with a name for what that bit is. Then I’d like the more detailed description further along the manual as is the case currently, but I do feel it is missing a basic diagram to set the scene.
Anyway one feature that I can rave about is the ‘Intelligent Zoom’. I have used it whilst at the sports day to focus in on my child, or to get a better look at the stage when I was at the concert, but I only zoomed in for as much as I needed to get the best picture. Whilst I was writing this post, I picked up the camcorder to zoom in and see how far it would take me. It has a 90x Intelligent Zoom. I swear to God, I was sat on my sofa when I tested out this feature and I could see the cobwebs on the doorway of my neighbours’ house, 30 metres away! Intelligent Zoom means that you can get up close to the subject without the picture becoming pixelated – this is what makes it intelligent. The neighbours can rest, I’ve got no plans to become a peeping tom, but it did blow me away, the detail I could see from so far away.
Apart from the few occasions when I’ve taken the camcorder out to film, most of my use has been done at home. I like to vlog recipes and fashion posts for my blog, and these go onto my YouTube channel so I’ve mainly used the HC-V550 on my tripod at home to film those. However playing with the camcorder has revealed that I can record short films with special effects. I’ve just used it in ‘Intelligent Auto’ till now where the camcorder picks the best settings for you based on the available light and circumstances, but I found that there are a few other settings which you access from the Recording Mode menu. The ones I enjoyed trying were the ‘Miniature Effect’mode and the ‘Silent Movie’ mode!
Have a look at this recording of my cat, which was firstly filmed in ‘Miniature Mode’ then goes into the ‘Silent Movie’ mode. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to tell which is which!
Like I said, I’ve only really scratched the surface but I’m enjoying getting to know this camcorder better this summer on our family holiday!
*Update* June 2015: I find that I use this camcorder all the time in my blogging work and for family outings. It is so compact and easy to carry round and the quality of the image and sound that you get it really good. I love to upload videos to YouTube usually recipes or fashion tips, and this is what I use for that purpose.
2014 Blog Ambassador: JuggleMum is proud to be part of the 2014 Panasonic Brit Bloggers Ambassador programme #PanasonicBritBloggers. As an Ambassador I have exclusive access to their in-house experts and get to try out their latest technology and report back my thoughts on this blog. I can also keep you up to date with any goings on in the Panasonic world, like new product launches!