It wasn’t long ago that hi-def camcorders were bazooka-sized beasts, but the HDC-TM10 – the world’s lightest Full HD camcorder – shows just how far they’ve come.
It’s a lot like Panasonic’s own HD-SD10, but rather than relying on SD/SDHC cards it packs a decent 8GB flash memory for storing your sparkling vids.
The TM10’s design isn’t as immediately eye-catching as that of Samsung’s HMX-R10, a major rival, but its silver finish is still impressive and expensive-looking.
There’s no clutter, either, as the majority of menu selections are made using the responsive 2.7in touchscreen LCD, and navigation is a quick, streamlined process.
It’s easy to warm to the TM10 as Panasonic has obviously invested research time in making this a simple – but not simplistic – model to use.
Once again, the touchscreen proves effective in order to make the most of iA (intelligent Auto). This is a system that automatically activates key functions such as exposure and focus. You can touch a point on the LCD screen and the camcorder will lock exposure and/or focus for that subject. It will then track the subject even if it moves or turns, keeping the setting consistent.
For such a lightweight model the TM10 still packs plenty of storage potential. There’s an 8GB internal memory, plus the capacity to record to SD/SDHC, while a clever Relay Recording mode automatically begins storing footage to SD card when the flash memory becomes full.
With several recording resolutions available, this versatility provides you with several hours of movie and recording.
The TM10 steals a march on several competitors, among them Sanyo’s VPC-HD2000 and the Samsung R10, with its impressive 16x optical zoom. The R10’s 5x optical zoom and the Sanyo’s 10x effort seem piddly by comparison.
What’s even better is that Panasonic has added optical image stabilisation (OIS) as well, so there are no compromises made on picture quality here.
A dutiful, reliable shooter, the TM10 is a good all-rounder. It’s the kind of cam that’s easy to drop into a bag or jacket, but which doesn’t dirty the reputation HD has for detail.
There are a couple of niggles with its performance, notably on more tricky scenes where images start to show picture noise (or fizz). Its stills imaging potential is a bit weak, too, and doesn’t match up to the 8MP available on Sanyo’s HD2000.
Aside from these niggles, though, it’s a clean bill of health – with extra plaudits for good low-light performance.
It might not dazzle the way other camcorders do, and some will find the design flimsy rather than comfortingly light, but if you need a tidy HD shooter at a fair price the TM10 deserves the nod.