This Panasonic uses MiniDV tape and is loaded with tried-and-tested camcorder tech. Take the 3CCD sensor system: a tiny glass prism splits the incoming light into red, green and blue, and each colour is processed by its own sensor. It’s clever, as is the optical image stabiliser that counteracts the natural wobble of the human arm, and does so much better than an electronic image stabiliser.
As a direct downside of all this jiggery-pokery, the Panasonic feels like it’s eaten most of, if not all, the pies. At 570g it isn’t ideal for toting around, though conversely it does make it very easy to hold and use.
Almost every function can be accessed using one hand, and the on-screen display and menus are simple. The electronic viewfinder slides and hinges, working well as an alternative to the LCD for bright light shooting and crosshair accuracy.
The GS250 produces technicolour images. The 3CCD system works a treat - colours are rich, edges defined and there’s very little pixel bleed. The easiest way to witness this for yourself is to connect the camcorder directly to the AV sockets on your TV; we had trouble finding a PC that would ‘see’ the Panasonic, let alone start editing the images.
Running costs might be a concern, too. A £35 battery will last for the hour of footage that fits on a £5 MiniDV tape. If you think you’ll end up with several half-finished tapes you can’t be bothered to archive to DVD, it could all begin to add up.