The Panasonic SD80 is great for beginners looking to move up, but experienced users will be turned off by the missing features.
Feature migration is common in consumer tech. Features only found on the high-end devices last year are now available on the mid-range offerings. And next year, you'll see them on entry-level devices.
With that in mind, Panasonic is in a good spot. We loved last year’s prosumer-level TM700. And at CES 2011, Panasonic rolled out a slate of less expensive offerings promising many of the same menu and shooting options, including Intelligent Zoom (digital zoom with optical zoom quality), facial recognition, and a host of manual picture controls.
The HDC-SD80 is one of the new HD camcorders benefiting from the TM700 hand-me-downs. This mid-range camcorder offers the typical 1080p/60i picture quality, 3-megapixel stills, 33.7mm wide-angle lens (35mm equivalent), Hybrid Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), and Panasonic's Intelligent Auto "dummy mode" in addition to the aforementioned Intelligent Zoom and Facial recognition.
Does all that add up to a quality HD camcorder? Read the HDC-SD80 review to find out.
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