The SD-10 is targeted towards the casual user that will have the camera on auto mode pretty much all the time.
High Definition video cameras are very much becoming the standard and we take a look at Panasonic’s HDC-SD10 today. The camera came packaged in a white box, unfortunately, with the wrong charger. Luckily the battery was fully charged which allows for over an hour’s worth of recording- good enough for our testing.
Besides the wrong charger in the packaging, there was a DC cable that allows you to record continuously with unit plugged into the wall socket, a 4GB SD card, a USB cable, a composite audio/video cable, the user manual and a software with bundled applications to transfer and edit your recordings.
The SD-10 is quite light and small in size which should make extended usage of it easy to handle. On the top you have the SD card slot which allows for quick replacement of storage along with the 16x zoom control, still picture recording button and the i.A (Intelligent Auto) O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilization) buttons which help in stabilizing jittery videos as well as selecting the right settings based on the surrounding light. Further down on the top, towards the lens, you have the internal stereo microphones. When you hold the camera, your thumb automatically rests on the record button.
The left side of the camera has the 2.7″ touch screen LCD screen which flips out and can be rotated so you can record yourself. Below the LCD screen, you again have the record button and the zoom buttons along with menu, light and the trashcan. On the body of the unit, you can see the power, pre recording and manual buttons along with HDMI/USB and video output connectors.
The SD-10 is targeted towards the casual user that will have the camera on iA mode pretty much all the time to automatically find the best settings during shooting. If you do prefer to use the somewhat manual controls, you can chose different scene modes such as night time or sports as well as add some effects like fading etc. to your recording directly on the camera. Something that I found a bit annoying right away is that you manually need to open and close the lens cover- it would’ve been nice if the cover automatically opened when you turn the unit on in recording mode. Also worth noting is that the 2.7″ touch screen is not the most finger-friendly which is why Panasonic provides a stylus in the package.
I thus tested the camera with iA enabled at three different times- one at night with very little light, one at night with plenty of light (the fireworks at Burj Kahlifa’s opening night) and one indoors during the day. The results from daylight shooting as well as night-time with plenty of night were decent. You could see the clarity in the high-definition recording, however, the video was a bit jittery even with the Optical Image Stabilization turned on. The night time mode with low-light is something this camera just cannot handle- all I got was a black screen with artifacts even with the light turned on.
The included SD card of 4GB will allow you anywhere between 20 minutes for full HD recording at 17Mbps to 90 minutes at 1440×1080 at 6Mbps of recording. The recording is in AVCHD format which should make it work with the leading hi-def video-editing applications. Or you can directly connect the camera with an HDMI cable to your TV and enjoy the footage.
The SD-10 is targeted towards the casual user who wants to record decent quality videos without really getting in the details and manually adjusting settings. From that aspect, its a decent camera and at a retail price of AED 2399/- makes it a good value as well.