Moving pictures are one of the gadgeteer’s oldest things in their arsenal of technology, and on that note we review a pretty modern iteration of this ageing medium; the Panasonic NV-GS500 MiniDV vidcam.When you get a hold of the unit itself, it is somewhat dull. It looks like a chunk of ‘video camera’, the kind of look that almost all cams have adopted over the past decade or so.
One rather annoying thing about the detailing is the hand-strap attached to the side.
It hangs slightly too far down, meaning those of us with smaller hands have to really stretch to keep the unit upright, however, once done, you do get used to the akward positioning.
It sports a decent zoom length, allowing quality to be preserved right along the extension, something that not many cameras allow, making this great for those rather funky in-out shots you see on the likes of 24.The battery life is really rather good, lasting for as long as I cared to tape for at a time, and the fact you are given an external charger rather than having to connect the whole unit to the mains, means a second battery is a realistic possibility for those that are going to be a way from electricity for a while.
The MiniDV format is reaching the end of it’s life really, with the advent of large flash storage, HDD’s and MiniDVD’s the tape is somewhat dated, but as it is still digital it doesn’t skimp on the quality.
Sporting a crisp screen that helps stop the normal home video shake we all know and hate.
The menu system is easy to navigate, although the joystick for it is located a little too near the hand for my liking, however like the strap you learn to live with it, and at least it shouldn’t normally get knocked.
The superbly named NV-GS550 is a decent video camera, priced a tad high at about £650, but it does everything you need from a digital vidcam.
Good, but not a necessity for us gadgeteer’s.