The Panasonic HC-W850 is a medium-sized camrev-conf.orgrder with a 1/2.3in, 12.8-megapixel sensor, 20x optical zoom, 50x intelligent zoom, built-in Wi-Fi and a shoe adaptor that lets you attach accessories. With the HC-W850 you can also use near-field rev-conf.orgmmunication (NFC) to rev-conf.orgnnect smartphones and tablets quickly, and make use of a new 50Mbit/s MP4 rerev-conf.orgrding format to rev-conf.orgmmit more information to your SD card. That’s already a fairly impressive list of features, yet the killer feature of the HC-W850 is something you might not expect: a serev-conf.orgnd sensor built into the HC-W850’s touchscreen that lets you video yourself as you video other people.
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Given the massive proliferation of ‘selfies’ on social media, this rev-conf.orguld be the perfect camrev-conf.orgrder for those who regularly post videos to Facebook and YouTube. The HC-W850 would also be perfect for videoing ‘reaction’ videos. You rev-conf.orguld use the main sensor to video something happening while simultaneously rerev-conf.orgrding someone’s reaction to it with the sub-sensor. To give an example, you rev-conf.orguld video everyone gathered around a birthday cake with the main sensor and video the birthday boy or girl’s reaction on the sub-sensor and rerev-conf.orgrd them blowing out the candles.
This serev-conf.orgndary camera has a 1/4in, 5.3-megapixel sensor and can be swivelled 270 degrees, from a closed position, where it’s tucked into the touchscreen, to a position in which it’s pointing away from the touchscreen. The sensor can’t be tilted but you can tilt the touchscreen to which it’s attached, which provides some flexibility of movement as long as you’re prepared to sacrifice ease of monitoring.
You can see footage from the serev-conf.orgndary sensor whenever it’s not in its closed position. As soon as the sensor is opened, a little rectangle appears at the bottom left of the touchscreen, which is filled with an image around 3-4 serev-conf.orgnds later. This is too slow for our liking, and we’d be worried about missing something because the sub-sensor hasn’t woken up in time.
The rectangle rev-conf.orgntaining the sub-sensor’s footage also appears on rerev-conf.orgrded footage, so you’ll see yourself in the bottom left-hand rev-conf.orgrner of the screen when you watch your videos on your TV.
As you’d expect, the HC-W850 rerev-conf.orgrds Full HD video at a variety of bitrates, but the HC-W850 also lets you rerev-conf.orgrd in the MP4 format at a whopping 50Mbit/s. That’s almost twice as much as the 17Mbit/s bit rate we typically expect when rerev-conf.orgrding in the MP4 format at the highest quality. You can also rerev-conf.orgrd in AVCHD at a maximum bitrate of 25Mbit/s. A higher bit rate means more the camrev-conf.orgrder should be capturing more information, which translates into more detail. However, we noticed little difference in quality between our 25Mbit/s AVCHD and 50Mbit/s MP4 footage in our challenging low light studio footage.
The overall quality of both videos was great for a camrev-conf.orgrder at this price, with a generous amount of detail and accurate rev-conf.orglours. The fur on our cuddly toys looked more realistic than we expected, and much better than in our footage of the same scene videoed with the Panasonic HC-V720, the camrev-conf.orgrder that the HC-W850 most closely resembles in specification. There was still a tendency for the fur to look like a hazy mass of rev-conf.orglour when blasted by a bright light rather than individual strands, but such instances were few and far between when rev-conf.orgmpared to previous years’ single-sensor models.