The StarPhonex magazine reviewed the first Samsung's full HD SC-HMX20 camcorder.
We have photo albums stuffed with the first step, the drooling smile of the first teeth -- literally thousands of them.
I wished for the ability to take video, but I didn't want to go out and buy a great big camera to haul around along with all the other paraphernalia we had to carry. So we went without video of all those precious moments that are best displayed in video.
I wish there were camcorders like Samsung's brand new SC-HMX20C available then. Announced at this year's CES in Las Vegas, the SC-HMX20C isn't available in Canada yet, but the expected release toward the end of May will put a terrific quality camcorder into the hands of home consumers -- although pricing also isn't available at this time.
Well, while I have my regrets about not having video, you don't need to -- this new camcorder pretty well has it all. It has a 6.4-megapixel still camera so you can take good quality images, and it's a full HD video camera that shoots at 1920 x 1080 resolutions. With that resolution, you can take your videos directly off of the camera and play them on your HD TV -- see junior drooling on the 60-inch in High Def!
The HMX20C is only 2.6 inches wide x 2.65 inches high by 5.47 inches, and weighs just 1.01 pound. The onboard 8GB of memory holds up to 90 minutes of recording at 1920 x 1080. You can easily add a memory card to increase the capabilities.
The 10X zoom lens offers you the ability to take those close-ups you want, and the 300 frames per second super slow motion recording speed lets you analyze your golf swing to see what you're doing wrong. If you're like me though, slowing down my golf swing just makes it look even worse.
The HMX20C has a 2.7-inch touchscreen LCD viewfinder, which is really handy when recording. The pop-up flash provides that extra bit of light when you need it, and the Electronic Image Stabilization is a real boon for those of us who aren't quite as steady-handed as we once were. It really comes into play when recording video while zooming, and is an absolute necessity in my view.
You can easily download your images and videos onto your PC, running Windows XP or greater. If you're a Mac user, sorry, you're out of luck with this camera. You can use USB 2 to download images, or use the HDMI cable to connect your camera directly to your HDTV to watch your photos and videos directly.
The lithium battery will give you about 1.5 hours of recording time, which is enough to fill the onboard flash memory. An extra battery is never a bad idea though, so if I were buying this camera, I'd get a battery for sure, as well as one of the extra SDHC/MMC+ memory cards.
The camera has a unique swivel grip which easily changes the way you can hold it from up in front of your face to down low, so you can take a kid-level shot of first steps, or get that all-important close-up of Lassie's adoring eyes. I may make a bit of fun of that feature, but it's actually pretty handy for taking all sorts of different pictures/videos and it'll soon be a feature you'll really like.
Samsung has supplied some software to put on your PC that will let you do basic editing of your videos to add those final touches before you show grandma and grandpa.
The onboard microphone records AAC audio, so you'll capture all the audio you want from your video shoot.
This is a nice, easy to handle camcorder that really takes advantage of the technology available to give home users the best possible videos at a decent price
If you're looking for a good quality digital camcorder that can take stills or videos with equal aplomb, is easy to use, feature-packed and takes HD images, then you owe it to yourself to look around for this camera.
PROS: High Def video, decent quality stills, many features, the super slow motion video and the cool swing grip make this a very desirable camcorder.
CONS: Won't work on a Mac, some might find it a bit cumbersome to use because of the weight and you must use the camera in your right hand -- like most camcorders.
E-mail Hill at: firstname.lastname@example.org, and find past columns on the web at: http://www.canada.com/topics/technology/columnists/hill.html.