Panasonic HDC-SD5 AVCHD 3CCD Flash Memory High Definition Camcorder with 10x Optical Image Stabilization w/DVD Burner

Price:Too low to display
Best deal:

Works great but in low light conditions the video isn't that great. Well lit and sunny areas the HandyCam captures great HD video.
I have owned the camera for 2 weeks now and am returning it. I currently own 3 other video cameras, but this is my forst HD camera. 

Everything about the camera is wonderful except for one MAJOR flaw, there is a high pitched whine when I play back the vodeo through the camera. It is quite noticeable to say the least and simply unacceptable for a camera in this range. There is no tape transport, no hard fact no moving parts at all,  nothing I can think of to be making the whine.
Perhaps it is only the particular one that I have purchased, as the other reviews seem fine.....I did see a proffesional review somewhere that had the same problem.........maybe I have that actual camera
Very light camcorder.
It was a concern for me about editing avchd:
The included software (HD writer) is not very powerful, but it's ok to save your video in HD format.
I use video studio pro x2 to edit in AVCHD without any problem with my laptop(window vista, 3GB memory)
The quality of the picture is not very good in low light situation.
It's an excellent flash memory HD camcorder for the price

Up until this camcorder I was recording off of the HDV format. With the emergence of Blue-Ray as the winner of the HD war, I decided to switch.  After much research, I bought this model refurbished from Amazon Warehouse Deals. The first one arrived without a battery, so I returned it. The second one arrived in great condition (except for a tattered box) with all parts accounted for.  This is my second transaction with Amazon Warehouse Deals for a refurbished product, and I think they offer great value if you can live with the fact that the box has been opened and may not be in the best of shape.  

I only shoot family events (vacations, birthdays, etc.) but I wanted to make sure that all of our personal, memorable moments could be viewed for years to come in as best quality as affordably possible.  So, along with this camcorder I also bought a Panasonic DMP-BD30K Blue-Ray DVD player, plus the Panasonic VW-BN1 DVD burner.  I couldn't be happier with my choice for all three.  Now I have a fairly simple process for taking family videos, saving them to disc, and playing them in the Blue-Ray format.

As others have mentioned, the HDC-SD5 takes outstanding video outside in bright light, but is not so great indoors, in low light situations.  I was torn for quite some time between this one and the HDC-SD1, because the SD1 has quite a few features the SD5 doesn't, namely a microphone input jack, 5.1 Dolby sound instead of only stereo, 12X zoom instead of 10X, and larger image sensors for better low light performance (1/4" instead of 1/6").  One advantage of the SD5 over the SD1, though, is its resolution, with full HD output at 1920 X 1080 compared to 1440 X 1080 with the SD1.   I am admittedly not sure how much difference this makes, or if this compensates for the smaller CCD sensors in the SD5.  Regardless, what finally sold me on the SD5 was simply its compatibility with the VW-BN1 burner, which I believe from internet readings the SD1 does not have and which I consider to be about the greatest thing since night baseball.  It is SO EASY now to transfer my recordings to a DVD-R disc in full Blue-Ray HD.  Since they are unedited, they transfer "warts and all" but I don't usually edit my home videos anyway. Maybe some day I will, but for family footage I just never bothered with it. With the BW-BN1 burner about 40 minutes of recorded video only takes about 20 to 30 minutes and voila! My memories are stored on DVD.  An amazing feature, in my book.

My only dislikes about the SD5 are no viewfinder, which is starting to be more and more common for small camcorders, and the quirky placement of the input jacks for the HDMI and the USB connection, which are beneath a panel under the hand strap; very awkward.  You also have to put in a fake battery that is connected to the power cord for AC hook-up, which causes you to have to insert this fake battery in the battery slot on the BOTTOM of the camcorder, run the cord through the battery cover via a tiny slot in the cover in order to close the cover, in order to operate the camcorder, that lay in the house that Jack built. It won't turn on with the cover open.  Really goofy, no?  You also cannot utilize the USB via battery power (which also means you can't operate the VW-BN1 burner via battery power) so you have to go through this exercise every time you want to do anything with USB connectivity.  Presumably this "USB via AC power only" rule is so you will not lose power during a file transfer, etc, so I can understand the rationale behind it, but the placement of the jacks and the AC hookup process really makes it a pain. 

The SD card slot is also on the bottom, by the battery, so you have to open the battery cover every time you want to remove/replace it (you access card slot  on the SD1 model via the flip-out LCD screen). The Panasonic Blue-Ray player I bought will read video right off of the card, so I find myself accessing it often, and it's also less than convenient. 

As much as it may sound as though I am knocking this camcorder, I am very happy with the purchase and love shooting video with it, largely because I view it as part of my overall system (camcorder, burner, player).  As mentioned before, the video quality is outstanding, but only so-so in low light.  The sound is also excellent, despite the downgrade to stereo from 5.1. However, if the SD1 would work with the VW-BN1 burner, I would have gone that route. As a final comment, I will NEVER go back to mini tapes now that I have gotten used to the SD cards, which seem to be dropping in price almost every day.  

Anyway, I hope this long-winded review helps you in your decision making, thanks for reading!

You've got the widescreen TV. Now consider the camcorder you're going to get. Let's say you bought a 1080i HDTV. Doesn't it make sense to get a 1080i camcorder? Panasonic's HDC-SD5 is by far one of the most comfortable camcorders you will ever hold. At less than 1 pound, this cylinder-shaped camcorder reaches 1080i resolution in 16:9 widescreen for true HD play on HDTV sets. The tiny size and lightweight is due to the media it uses for memory. A removable SD or SDHC card. This card format is about the size of a postage stamp but can hold from 1GB up to 8GB memory. Because they're easily replaceable, you can carry additional SD cards with you for more memory. About 6 of these cards weigh about an ounce for true mobility.  The SD5 features Advanced O.I.S. and the 3CCD camera system. Advanced O.I.S. prevents blurry images caused by unsteady hands as you shoot, so images are clear, sharp and beautiful when displayed on a big TV screen. The 3CCD camera system is used in most professional broadcasting equipment because it draws out the full potential of the camera's high image quality. The USB Host function lets you use your DVD burner to copy and play recorded images in their original AVCHD format. The data can also be easily edited on a PC by using the included software, and the finished result can be saved onto a DVD disc or other media in either AVCHD or MPEG-2 format. One of the new functions, called Pre-Rec, simplifies shooting and prevents mistakes. Pre-Rec records the image for 3 seconds before you even start shooting, so you're sure to capture unexpected actions that you would otherwise miss. Intelligent Contrast Control helps render natural-looking, highly nuanced images with proper contrast.  Still photo mode with built-in electronic-flash    1/30 - 1/8000 (Motion Picture), 1/30-1/8000 (Progressive 1/30 - 1/500) (Still Picture)    Auto and Manual Focus    SD Memory card slot   Recording time up to HG -  80


 Transcend 8 GB SDHC Class 6 Flash Memory Card TS8GSDHC6:
 Transcend 4 GB SDHC Class 6 Flash Memory Card TS4GSDHC6:
 SanDisk SDSDRH-008G-A11 Ultra II 8GB/15MB SDHC Card (Black):
 Transcend 16 GB SDHC Class 6 Flash Memory Card with Card Reader TS16GSDHC6-S5W:
 Sandisk MicroMate SD/SDHC Reader (Black):


 Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 9:
 Sony Vegas Movie Studio 9 Platinum Pro Pack:
 Pinnacle Studio Ultimate Version 11 [OLD VERSION]:
 Corel VideoStudio Pro X2:
 Roxio Creator 2009:
Alattar (1)
5/22/2009 4:58:55 AM
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