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Panasonic HC-V720 review

Updated camcorder is big on features

There are some places where the Panasonic HC-V720's touchscreen controls are as obvious as they should be (tap the iA button to change whether you're using the excellent Intelligent Auto mode or want to choose a 'scene' mode, for example), but mostly it feels either needlessly complicated or like you're lacking information.

The tilt-shift options we mentioned before, for example, speed up the footage in the final videos (so in a cityscape, you'd get cars whizzing by, like you've filmed the opening to one of the many CSI shows). The only indicator of this is that the time count creeps up much slower than usual.

Panasonic HC V720 review

There are lots of features like this, where once you've realised how they work, or where they are, they're fine, but this video camera's not beginner-friendly.

The Wi-Fi setup in particular is one of the biggest crimes against good usability we've ever seen. It's obtuse and confusing, and even entering your router's password is comically fiddly.

The thing is, we get why Panasonic doesn't necessarily want to stick all these control options as physical buttons on the camcorder - it looks scary, for a start, and can be confusing to remember. But we can't help looking at all the unused plastic on the outside and thinking how much faster it would be to switch modes or fiddle with the focus with some extra controls.

While all of the Panasonic HC-V720's features make a compelling case for upgrading to a dedicated camcorder, the image quality is what really counts. And we have to say that we're a little disappointed by the Panasonic HC-V720, as we were by its predecessor.

Panasonic HC V720 review

The issue is really in the crispness of the images. It just isn't as good as what we'd want from a spending £500 / US$550 / AU$680 on a camcorder, even at 1080p.

There is, broadly speaker, lots of detail there, but it isn't as sharp as you'd hope. Of course, you might expect this if you're heavily zoomed in using the digital zoom, but it's the case all the time.

Panasonic HC V720 review

There's often quite a bit of noise, too, and colour banding, which is bonkers when you consider that it can record at up to 28Mbps - it's less crisp than an HD video download at a quarter of the bitrate.

We suspect the image sensor is the culprit, because the 1/2.33 sensor used here is roughly equivalent to what we'd expect to see in most lower to mid-range compact cameras.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDigital Camcorder
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
TouchscreenNo
Number of Image Sensors1
Effective Image Resolution4.1 Megapixel
Effective Video Resolution4.1 Megapixel
HDMIYes
Recording MediaMemory Card
Image StabilizationElectronic, Optical
Optical Zoom21x
Digital Zoom1500x
Brand NamePanasonic
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsAVCHD, MP4, H.264/MPEG-4 AVC
Recording FormatsFull HD
Built-in DevicesMicrophone, Speaker, Flashlight, Video Light
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityREACH
Image Sensor Size1/2.33"
Maximum Image Resolution6016 x 3384
Maximum Frame Rate50 fps
Battery Built-inNo
Battery RechargeableYes
Battery IncludedYes
Audio ChannelsStereo
Wireless LANYes
Display Screen TypeLCD
Image Sensor TypeMOS
Total Camcorder Resolution17.5 Megapixel
Recommended Illumination1400 lux
Maximum Video Lines1080
Interlaced ScanYes
Progressive ScanYes
USBYes
Longest Shutter Speed1/25 Second
Shortest Shutter Speed1/8000 Second
Focal Length (35mm Equivalent)28 mm to 729.60 mm
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card
Height69.3 mm
Width60.1 mm
Depth124.4 mm
ColourBlack
Video SystemPAL
Sound SystemDolby Digital
Minimum Illumination1 lux
Focal Length2.82 mm to 59.20 mm
Image FormatsJPEG
Audio FormatsAAC
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerPanasonic
Product ModelHC-V720
Product NameHC-V720 HD Camcorder
Aperture Rangef/1.8 to 3.5
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberHC-V720EB-K
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.panasonic.co.uk
Marketing Information

All-Round Camcorder Featuring New High Sensitivity Sensor for Clear Images and Wi-Fi Function for Easy Sharing

The combination of the newly developed High Sensitivity Sensor and the Crystal Engine Pro, with its superb noise reduction performance, records bright, high-quality, and low-noise images in both bright and dim lighting situations. Beautiful images can be recorded under a variety of situations, including indoor shooting and night scenery shooting.

The wide shooting range expands the breadth of photographic expression, extending from 28mm wide angle to Intelligent 50x zooming. This makes it possible to capture everything from panoramic scenery to telephoto images for obtaining dynamic images of subjects at a distance.

The Wi-Fi function enables real-time broadcasting of important events via Ustream to share images worldwide, while recording in Full-HD. There is also a function to send e-mail to notify the start of streaming to preregistered e-mail addresses. The NFC achieves one-touch connection with a smartphone. There is no need for cumbersome settings. Home Monitoring lets users check on pets or family at home from the outside. They can even speak to their pets or family while viewing them on the screen, and record images remotely from a smartphone.

The HC-V720 is also equipped with Level Shot Function, in addition to the 5-Axis HYBRID O.I.S.+ that thoroughly suppresses blurring over the entire shooting range. Level Shot Function automatically detects and corrects the tilting of captured images. It records crisp, clear and more horizontal images with reduced blur even if when shooting in an unstable or awkward position such as low-angle or high-angle shooting.

Horizontal resolution of 1080 TV lines makes it possible to shoot high-resolution Full-HD images that express even extremely small details.

Package Contents
  • HC-V720 HD Camcorder
  • AC Adaptor
  • AC Cable
  • DC Cable
  • Rechargeable Battery Pack
  • HDMI Cable
  • Shoe Adaptor
  • USB Cable
  • Software CD-ROM
Display Resolution460800 Pixel
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)277 g
White Balance Modes
  • Auto
  • Indoor1
  • Indoor2
  • Sunny
  • Cloudy
  • White Set