|Panasonic SDR-S7 Flash Memory Camcorder with 10x Optical Zoom (Silver)
|List Price: $299.95
Our Price: Too low to display
Look! No tapes or discs. All camcorder images are recorded on a replaceable SD memory card, about the size of a postage stamp. That translates to a camcorder that's smaller and lighter than practically any camcorder you've used. Catch those shooting opportunities with this Panasonic SDR-S7K SD Card Camcorder. With its quick start-up time of 0.6 seconds from the time the LCD is opened, you'll be able to catch your baby's first walk, your favorite sports teams' win, or your pet's silly trick. Bring your subjects incredibly close with its 10x optical zoom and easily put your video onto DVD with the included video-editing software. And since it's so compact, you can take it anywhere.
LCD Monitor - 2.7 Wide (123,200 Dots) On-Screen Display Language - English / Canadian French / Spanish Recording Time with 16GB SDHC card - Up to 3hrs 20 min in XP mode, 6 hrs 40 min in SP mode, 13hrs 20 min in LP mode PictBridge Included Accessories - AC Adaptor, Lithium-Ion Battery Pack, Hand Strap, AV Cable, USB Cable, Motion SD Studio 1.3E Software, AC/DC Cables SD Memory Card not included - Expected recording capacities with optional SD - SDHC - 16GB - XP(3hrs 20mins)/SP(6hrs 40 mins)/LP(13hrs 20 mins), 8GB - XP(1hr 40mins)/SP(3hrs 20mins)/LP(6hrs 40mins), 4GB - XP(50mins)/SP(1hr 40 mins)/LP(3hrs 20 mins); SD - 2GB - XP(25mins)/SP(50mins)/LP(1hr 40mins), 1GB - XP(12mins)/SP(25mins)/LP(50mins)
- Capture video to flash memory
- 10x optical zoom
- 2.7-inch LCD screen
- Ultra lightweight, compact design
- Compatible with SD/SDHC memory cards
- great camcorder for usd 236
I was searching a camcorder easy to use and travel. This is great. I dont need to have a case, just in the pocket of the shirt, it is easy to travel, moreover ease to use.
- Good, but ....
I bought this camera on sale a few weeks ago and have used it quite a bit. It's very easy to use and for the money, is really pretty good. The small size is a true plus. The included software is ok but one has to play with the settings a bit to get the optimum quality output. I've uploaded some files to YouTube and they look reasonably good. The 16:9 setting is a bit strange. The standard 4:3 aspect ratio is done using the 640 x 480 pixel resolution. But the specs say the camera will also shoot widescreen 16:9 and it looks like it does. However, the max resolution of the CCD is 704 x 480 which is not true 16:9 since that would be more like 843 x 480. So I have no idea how this does 16:9 with only 704 x 480 pixels. The sound quality with the mic is really pretty good. All-in-all, this is a good little video camera for the money....more info
- Excellent compact camcorder.
I bought the SDR-S7 to use as a compact, always-with-me tool for recording video blog entries. I wanted something compact that shot good quality video (not HD, just good SD). The Panasonic has lived up to that task very well. It produces good quality video for a consumer camcorder of this type, it's incredibly compact, has optical zoom and a useful array of manual controls, and it uses standard SD cards instead of some weird proprietary format. The built-in microphone records in high-quality stereo, it does pick up some environmental noise but there's not much you can do about that on any device at this price level!
I use a Mac, and I've had no problem importing the video files into iMovie for editing. The trick is to have iMovie '08 or '09 and to plug in the camera or card reader *after* you start iMovie. That has worked 100% of the time for me and I've been able to import with no problems. I haven't used the Windows software so I can't comment on it.
The only downside to this camera is a result of the size - the battery life is limited to a little over an hour, and there is no cold shoe, microphone input, or auxillary lighting. If you need lighting you can buy a light bar that will screw into the tripod mount, that's probably your best bet. If you need an external mic then you won't find that option on *any* camera at this price level.
Overall, I'm very satisfied with this camera.
good quality video
uses standard SD cards
no mic input
relatively short battery life
no on-board light...more info
- First Impression With Some Technical Analysis
I received this unit yesterday afternoon, and started playing with it immediately. Here are my first impressions of the camera.
If you have a tight budget, and are looking for a unit that uses standard memory cards for recording (as opposed to a hard drive), produces REASONABLE quality digital video and audio, and has the standard set of features, you'll like this camera. It is compact (which some might think is not good), light-weight and easy to use.
The biggest drawback is not so much with the camera, but with the marketing. It is sold as having "DVD Quality Recording" capability (there is even a label on mine on the side of the camera as a testament to this), which is not the case once you view your first video. If you are okay with a 640x480 resolution image, then you'll be okay with this camera; otherwise, save yourself the trouble if you want REAL DVD quality!
Now, here are some specific pros and cons I have noted so far about the camera. I have included my own personal rating (impact) for each one. Remember, these are MY ratings based on my need.
1. (Impact: High) The features provided are surprisingly numerous for the price.
2. (Impact: High) Sound quality is better than my previous unit, and seems quite sensitive to sound. The unit records at 48K Hz in 256Kbps AC-3 stereo format (through a single opening on the front of the unit), and offers several selectable special audio recording features (wind reduction and a zoom feature which increases or decreases sounds/noise not directly in front of the camera while zooming).
3. (Impact: High) A 4GB SD memory card can record 50 minutes of XP video and audio (the highest quality available on the camera). With current prices of 4GB SD cards, this is not bad. Note that with 40-70 minutes of battery life, it doesn't make much sense going to a larger memory card unless you have multiple batteries!
4. (Impact: High) The USB connection provides easy transfer of files to a PC or Mac. I had no problems getting my Windows XP Dell computer to recognize the unit, which added the camera as a removable disk. Interestingly, the unit organizes the video files into separate folders (one for each day), although I saw nothing on the unit menu playback that showed the unit uses this information.
5. (Impact: Medium) Price (why I bought the camera). I picked up the camera on sell for $140. I should mention that I would NOT purchase this camera (for its quality and features) for more than this amount!
6. (Impact: Medium) The unit is made in Japan. This might seem an odd "pro" to some but I have exceptional bad experience with electronics made in China, and personally steer clear of such items now. It is possible some parts are Chinese, but I like knowing that the unit comes from somewhere with more experience producing quality electronics.
7. Videos can be created in either letterbox (4:3) or widescreen (16:9) format.
8. The camera has a built-in cover to protect the lens and easy to use.
9. The screen/viewer (monitor) is surprising good (brightness, clarity, clear of defect spots) for the price. We'll see if it stays that way....
1. (Impact: High) The battery is a clear con. According to the manual, it takes 2 hr 15 min to fully charge the battery, which lasts from 40-70 minutes. This means it takes at least twice as long to charge as it takes to discharge. I have already resolved to ensuring I keep the camera plugged between even intermittent uses. Besides the long time to charge the battery, you should be aware that the battery will not charge while the unit is turned on. You MUST turn it off to charge the battery.
2. (Impact: High) Be aware that while Panasonic states that the camera will record in 16:9 and 4:3 formats, it is more accurate to state that the camera alters or manipulates the lens to produce the videos. This requires a technical explanation. I examined the file information for a video that I produced in 16:9 (widescreen) mode, and was surprised at a few things. If you record a video in 16:9 format and run the raw .MOD video file directly in a program like MS Media Player, you will note that your videos are compressed (in width) to fit the 704x480 resolution (faces look narrow, circles look oval, etc). Also, the actual video resolution was 704x480 (330K), though the specs in the manual state the effective pixels are 300K in this format. If you do the math, you will see 704x480 is NOT a 16:9 ratio (it is 22:15). This means the videos must be "stretched" horizontally to approximately 853 pixels wide to fit the 16:9 format (or crushed vertically to about 396 pixels, meaning loss of data). With a 21% stretching or crushing, this ultimately affects either video quality or size (which I noted when I played the video back in true 16:9 format). I also examined files in 4:3 video resolution mode and found they ALSO are in 704x480 resolution (though the specs state the effective pixels is 340K.) The stretching/crushing for the 4:3 format is not as severe, so recordings in this format will produce a video that is of slightly better quality than that of the widescreen format (just not in wide-screen). Transforming the raw 704x480 into either 16:9 or 4:3 formats means you will have to do some video editing. If you know how and don't mind the hassle, then you're okay. You will need to use a video editing program like the MotionSD STUDIO software (provided with the camera) to get it into the proper format.
3. (Impact: Medium) While every feature setting can be viewed in the LCD monitor, it took me some time to realize that these features (or ANY menu displays) will NOT appear if the monitor is in "self-portrait" mode (where the screen is flipped out and turned 180 degrees). Also, in this mode, everything you see is a mirror of the image being recorded. This could take some time getting used to if you are moving the camera while having it trained on you as well as images in the background. You can get the features to return (and the image to NOT be in the awkward mirrored mode) by pushing the monitor back against the camera with the monitor screen facing out. I found no explanation for why it was designed this way, but I personally find this odd.
4. (Impact: Medium) You have to plug the AC adaptor into the unit before you can connect the camera to a PC or to your TV for transferring or watching videos. I find this excessively restrictive.
5. (Impact: Medium) The battery/SD card slots are accessed through a door on the bottom of the camera. Unfortunately, I am using the unit on a tripod, which means the tripod connection adaptor, screwed on to the bottom of the unit as well, prevents easy access to the SD card (meaning I can't easily swap out memory cards while recording).
6. (Impact: Medium) Feature settings on the camera are split into "Basic" and "Advanced" but as yet, I cannot discern the logic in how features were assigned. Some I would think are Basic are under Advanced and vice-versa.
7. (Impact: Medium) I have not looked for another battery that would provide a longer life for recording (40 minutes is really not much), but my assumption is that since the battery fits into a slot on the bottom of the unit, it might be hard for Panasonic to produce a more powerful battery that fits here. This means you may need multiple batteries if you're planning an all-day trip or event.
8. (Impact: Medium) Video files are saved as ".MOD" file extensions, although the file seems to comply with the MPEG-2 format. I had no problems getting my computer to recognize this format. However, you should verify you can work with this file type, or be aware that you will need the included software to successfully transfer the files into a .MPG (mpeg) file format.
9. (Impact: Low) The layout of the manual does not make it easy to find specific features.
10. (Impact: Low) The buttons on the side of the camera are relatively small. If you have big hands or fingers, you might find it difficult to work your way through the menus. The good thing is that you are not likely to do this very often.
11. (Impact: Low) No SD memory card comes with the unit (so be sure to purchase your own!)...more info
- worth it for the price
THis is a very affordable item which serves my basic needs for capturing home footage!...more info
- You Get What You Pay For!
It's a good little camera.
My main reasons for purchasing this camera was to own a portable, tiny camera that I can use to record unimportant, silly, amusing, and generally wasteful things.
I had to decide between the Panasonic and the Sanyo Xacti. The Xacti was a little bulkier and couldn't stand upright on it's own, and had a removable lens cover that I could see easily losing. I think the Xacti had slightly better image quality, but at this size, and for what I plan to use it for, image quality is hardly a deciding factor for me. You may want to consider the Xacti if you need a small camera and the best possible image quality, but it's a small difference. If you need better image quality than what these cameras offer, you should consider a larger camera, possibly HD. These are not close to HD.
There's not a lot to this camera, and I'm happy for that. I didn't need a huge, overpowered HD camera to film my cats playing on the carpet. This is the on-the-go YouTuber's video camera. It's highly portable (fits in the pocket of my jeans), powers on fast and records without a lot of fuss. The picture and sound quality is mediocre but a vast improvement over my cell phone, so I'm happy.
There is nothing special about this camera. It can take poor quality stills or standard MPG quality video and records to a flash card (you do NOT need a fast flash card -- an SDHC class 2 card is more than sufficient, so save your money. It can easily upload to YouTube, and works equally well on a PC and a Mac. The included software is junk, and I simply rename the video files from .MOD to .MPG and use VLC movie player to watch them. Eventually, I hope to find something to record and start wasting space on YouTube.
If you're looking for a good, compact flip camera, this is a good option....more info
- SDR-S7 Feedback
Its small so I'm more likely to have it on me. Its not HD, but the quality is comparable to the Sony miniDV handycam I'm replacing. I tend to use this a lot more than my old cam just because its small. I originally got the insignia HD from best buy for 1/3 the price and I was happy to return it. I'm much happier with this camcorder. If I want to shoot in HD in the future, I would not hesitate to have a 2nd camcorder for those needs. For the size, the simplicity of not having tapes to deal with, and the ease of operation, I would recommend this to anyone looking for this convenience.
If you must have HD (I'm sure the price will come down dramatically like all new technologies), then go with HD.