Samsung SC-HMX20C 8GB High Definition Camcorder

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sale Samsung SC-HMX20C 8GB High Definition Camcorder with 10x Optical Zoom

Samsung SC-HMX20C 8GB High Definition Camcorder with 10x Optical Zoom

Product Description
Samsung Hi Definition Memory Camcorder

  • Full HD Camcorder with 1080P Progressive Mode
  • 8GB Built In Memory
  • 6.4M CMOS, 10X zoom
  • Docking Cradle
  • SD-MMC Slot

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Pleasant surprise from Samsung
Samsung is well known for devices such as LCD TVs and cell phones. However, not many people know that Samsung makes pretty decent digital cameras and camcorders. I came from the country where Samsung started and heard about Samsung's optical products. Although they do not have a reputation like Canon or Sony, Samsung comes pretty close to the level of other popular makers of cameras and camcorders. I think the HMX20c from Samsung shows a good evidence of this. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this camcorder and started to use the HMX20c more than any other camcorder I have. So, here goes my story for you.

First of all, the HMX20c is a very Mac-friendly camcorder. The other HD camcorders that I have use AVCHD codec to record the video, and you might need to do additional jobs to work with iMovie. AVCHD files recorded in the camcorder need a conversion process to be used by iMovie, and it takes up so much space. I have a Canon HG10 hard drive based AVCHD camcorder and iMovie always converts the AVCHD files to AIC (Apple Intermediate Codec) to use in iMovie. So I gave up using iMovie and used the Ulead DVDFactory on a Windows PC. However, the HMX20c records files on a flash memory (SDHC card) in H.264/MPEG4 format that iMovie loves to handle. AVCHD files alone from the HD camcorder cannot be recognized by iMovie without the conversion, however, MP4 files from the HMX20c have no problem being used directly on iMovie. I really like this and thank Samsung for choosing H.264/MPEG4 codec.

The weakness of the consumer level HD camcorder is the performance in low light. The HMX20c uses a comparatively larger CMOS (1/1.8 inch) than other HD camcorders (1/2.5 to 1/5 inch CMOS or CCD). This means the HMX20c is better in low light performance since the size of the CMOS (or CCD) is critical to accept lights, and it uses a 49mm lens, which is pretty big for a camcorder like this. So the HMX20c shows a pretty decent performance in indoor shots. I shot the video in our living room and church side by side with the Canon HG10. The HG10 also is a very good camcorder for indoor shot, however, the HMX20c is a lot better. I could notice that the shots from the HMX20c shows less grainy picture than the HG10. I take most of my videos indoors, so this is a very important factor for me. Also, I do not have any complaint about the picture quality of daylight shots. Most full HD camcorders that I see on the market already provide more than spectacular pictures and the HMX20c is no exception. The 6.4 mega pixel CMOS really does the job.

The HMX20c is a very beautiful camcorder. Its piano gloss barrel shape body looks great, and I have been always asked about the camcorder whenever I use it in public. It is very easy to grip and fits my in my hand nicely. And the user interface of a rotating LCD screen is pretty intuitive. The control menus that I use the most (white balance, video resolution, storage option, etc) are located on the root so I can use them in a single touch (LCD is a touch screen type). Some people might prefer the jog-dial like control, however, I prefer the touch screen interface because it is quick to access the features.

Another convenient feature that the HMX20c offers is that it allows to record the video in 480p SD (standard definition). Most HD camcorders only allow to record in HD and this SD recording feature can be very convenient if you want to take the video for web pages or other occasions that do not require highest resolution video recording. And the ability to take slow motion shot for 10 second is a plus for me. I will use this feature to monitor my golf swing.

There are a few drawbacks of the HMX20c. It does not have a HDMI port in it. If you want to connect the HDMI cable, you have to connect it to a cradle. And you cannot use a thick, high capacity battery because the battery is inserted inside of the camcorder and the space is already fixed for a battery. Unless the battery can have more capacity in a given size, you cannot expect to use a long lasting high capacity thick battery.

I was concerned about the lacking of optical image stabilization (the HMX20c uses a electric image stabilization) in the first place. Fortunately, I take most of my videos on a tripod so I did not recognize it. Even when I did not use a tripod, my shots were great and I do not miss optical image stabilization now.

Overall, the HMX20c is a great flash memory camcorder. I really like the low light performance and bright lens (f1.8-2.5). No motorized part inside gives very silent video without any buzzing noise. I have sold other HD camcorders that I had, and I do not miss them. The HMX20c is my only camcorder now, and this shows how much I like the HMX20c. Good job, Samsung.

A good hi-def consumer camera
Small but powerful. This is a great camcorder to slip into your pocket or backpack. The super slo-mo feature is great for capturing sports such as golf or tennis.

Takes great 6 meg stills.

Very Good Product
I've ran a small selection process amongst top vendors, and despite the fact I really enjoy Samsung as a brand, the camera is very good, extremelly easy to use and very powerful in terms of features.

I'm very happy with it.

Rating depends upon your intended use for the camera.
I've struggled with deciding on a rating for this camera (3 or 4 stars) because there are so many features on this camera to like, and I really want to like it more than I do. Actually, for my purposes, it's a 4-star camera, but for most, I believe it will only achieve 3-stars, and that's based on a few simple observations --

1) Low light (indoor) performance can be very grainy, especially since the light source/flash only works with stills: with this camera, the brighter the shooting environment the better (up to a point).

2) Autofocus can be very slow. If you are mounting this camera on a tripod, mainly focusing on details in the distance with very slow, deliberate movements and focal changes, you'll be fine. This is my main intended use for this camera. However, if you want to use it as a "handy-cam," you may be disappointed. In filming indoor, close-range action of family members, the lens will take anywhere from 1/2 second to 5 seconds with any significant focal change. The 5-second episodes are where the lens corrects in the wrong direction, goes all the way to the end of that focal length, only to turn around and come back.

3) Size of shooting frame: this is not really a ding on this camera but to most HD cameras. If you're filming at a distance, you're fine, but for close-ups with people, you may find you're clipping torsos or heads. Keep in mind that at a distance of 6 ft, the size of the 2D plane that you're capturing is roughly 5ft by 1.5ft (~60in x ~34in = 16:9 HD ratio). Thus, for most, the 10x zoom is nice, but a wide-angle addition (say 0.7x) would really be much more helpful.

4) There is no 720p mode -- only 1080i/p and 480. However, there is a really neat slow-mo feature (in SD only, unfortunately) where one can film a 10 second clip and play it back at 1/5 speed.

5) The sound quality is quite good, but, probably to avoid operator hand-noise and breathing, they've mounted the mics on the bottom of the unit. This is fine in many situations, but if you're filming while walking, the "clomp clomp clomp" of your footsteps is VERY loud.

These are the main factors I'd consider crucial in determining if this is the camera for you. For me, it's quite good, with great optics; wonderful picture quality, color, and sharpness (if filmed in good light); tons of features; and a great docking bay that lets me plug it into an HDMI cable directly to my Panasonic Viera TH-42PZ85U 42-Inch 1080p Plasma HDTV.

Without going into micro-technical detail.... For my purposes -- making HD recordings of concerts (BTW, the external mic input works great), filming students in music lessons with the ability to simply plug in their SDHC card when they start and pulling it out for them to take home when they leave, filming myself for self-critique of my playing, etc., ALL from a tripod, this camera is more than adequate. However, if you're doing a lot of mobile camcording, you might want to consider some of this camera's limitations that I've outlined here. Good luck with your deliberations and product comparisons....

Just what I had been looking for
I am always cautious about reviewing electronics because I hate to gush about something and then find a flaw later. So far, I've found very few flaws with this one.

The one major disappointment I have had is with the quality of the still shots. Maybe I am doing something wrong? I get a lot of fuzz in the pictures. I am not sure if it is "noise" because of the high definition or what, but I don't seem to have the problem with moving images, only still shots. I am continuing to learn this device and I will come back to update once I have completely mastered it.

Aside from that issue, I am thrilled with this as a camcorder. Every little feature you could want, this appears to have. The flip screen that has a touch screen is awesome! The menus and functions on this camcorder are pretty intuitive. Just from pressing a few buttons, I figured most everything out without having to consult the manual.

I love that it has a built-in auto open/close lens cap. I love the size of this. It is so small! I have tiny hands and it even feels small to me. Size matters if you've ever had to lug around an older camcorder and had a sore arm all day. This is so lightweight that I can never imagine that happening.

I've found that using a tripod with this gives the most professional results. I have used this at two functions and burned discs for relatives and they've said it looks professional. Maybe they are partial to me, but I have to agree. I have never shot such crisp moving images as I can with this camcorder.

More Info: Sale Samsung SC-HMX20C 8GB High Definition Camcorder with 10x Optical Zoom

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