Digital camcorders for most companies were not really about innovation but more about refinements and bringing out a better experience for a more affordable price. In order for digital camcorders remain as a big deal, they must be both affordable and feature rich because a lot of people are contented with using their smartphones for recording HD video. Panasonic makes budget digital camcorders for audiences that want decent video quality and easy usability in an affordable package although each iteration doesn’t show much improvements. Even the midrange HC-V550 model boasts only minor improvements over the HC-V530 launched the previous year. But moving on to the high-end, the Panasonic HC-V750 represents Panasonic’s desire to push the capabilities of compact camcorders to new heights. The older HC-V720 was a fine camcorder in its own right so it is surprising to see the HC-V750 taking several steps forward.
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Design and Interface
The Panasonic HC-V750 takes a full black body approach this time around making this camcorder look a bit more attractive and professional than the HC-V720 model. The side of the camcorder has a few more buttons than the older model. You can access the playback button, Level Shot function, Wi-Fi control and power button all from that side of the camera. The shoe adaptor release remains in the same spot.
While the display and touchscreen wasn’t perfect, Panasonic took the safe route with the HC-V750 and kept the screen specs and user interface the same for the most part. It isn’t really so bad since the 3-inch LCD touchscreen is pretty standard for camcorders that weigh about a pound these days. It isn’t a multitouch display so you need to make sure you touch an icon using one finger to register a tap. There are onscreen directional buttons along with a return button in case you get lost. Swipes are supported as well.
A nice new addition can be found on the bottom part of the Panasonic HC-V750 right next to the lens. It is a small multi manual dial which allows you to quickly adjust a manual control of your choice. This includes the focus, iris, shutter speed, sharpness, exposure, color saturation and white balance. It is a great feature for those tired of using the touchscreen to make those adjustments.
Storage and Connectivity
Panasonic camcorders with internal flash storage are becoming increasingly rare these days so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise for the HC-V750 to lack any internal memory. This shouldn’t be a problem for buyers in general since it is very easy to find cheap 16 GB and even 32 GB SD cards in retail and online stores. But if you want to record several consecutive hours of Full HD video, you better go for at least a 64 GB SDXC card.
The new refinements of the Panasonic HC-V750 are primarily focused on the performance side of things with the Wi-Fi features simply being carried over from the predecessor with no major improvements. But if this will be the first time you will use a Panasonic camcorder, there is plenty to like here. If you have an Android or iOS device, you should download the free Panasonic Image App because you can really make the most out of the Wi-Fi features there. With the mobile app running and the Wi-Fi active on the camcorder, the mobile device can be used as a remote live viewer where you can see what the camcorder is currently viewing. You can let the camcorder take pictures, record videos and browse stored items as if you have physical access to the camcorder. You can also upload recorded content to social networking services like Facebook or stream videos live to Ustream. Connecting your mobile device to the camcorder is pretty simple and if it supports NFC, the process is even more straightforward. Many Smart TVs that have DLNA certification should be able to wirelessly connect to the HC-V750 as well.
The Panasonic HC-V750 sports a new 1/2.3-inch BSI MOS sensor that is capable of delivering better overall image quality and noticeably brighter visuals in dark areas. The optical zoom capabilities takes a small hit as you can only zoom up to 20x now but the Intelligent Zoom option still lets you reach 50x. This new sensor works an improved Crystal Engine Pro+ technology that increases the processing speed and relies on a more superior noise reduction technique. Placing these new technologies without increasing the bulkiness has been made possible through the 4-drive lens system. If you really want to witness the huge improvements in image quality, you can use the MP4 format and shoot at 50 Mbps.
The 5-axis HYBRID Optical Image Stabilizer makes a return in the HC-V750 along with the mighty useful Level Shot feature. These two functions focus on making the recording look nice and professional even if you can’t keep the Panasonic HC-V750 still. You can smoothly zoom all the in from wide angle without suffering from blurring. Combined with the Intelligent Auto setting, you can still use this high-end camcorder as an entry-level device and slowly experiment with new features once you are ready to capture even better videos.
Panasonic has also armed the HC-V750 with an improved zoom microphone. It uses a unique damping material which Panasonic calls Wind Shield to better suppress the wind noise.
Intelligent Auto and Manual aren’t the only options featured in the Panasonic HC-V750. You can also fiddle with the Creative Control option where you can add extra fun effects. Stop motions and Full HD slow motion video can be handled by this camcorder too.
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Most owners of Panasonic camcorders released in 2013 shouldn’t have to upgrade as these models still perform well especially when compared to today’s smartphones. But if you feel the need to upgrade to Panasonic’s latest cutting edge technologies, the Panasonic HC-V750 is the best way to go and it will set you back $599. It is cheaper than the flagship $799 W850 model although you won’t get the twin recording feature and night vision option.