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Panasonic HC-V500M Comparison
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The Panasonic HC-V500M is an entry-level camcorder that easily garnered our support. Despite being cheaper than the JVC VX700 by a good margin (you can find the Panasonic online for less than $400), the Panasonic V500M outperformed the JVC in nearly all of our tests. The only area where the JVC did better was low light sensitivity, where the VX700's f/1.2 lens really did give it a boost in performance.
But we also prefer the way the Panasonic V500M handled. Its touchscreen interface wasn't perfect, but it was far more responsive than JVC's. The Panasonic also has just as many manual exposure controls as the JVC, as well as some extra features that are absent on the VX700 (like gain control, some picture effects, and a much larger optical zoom capability). The JVC's advantages are slim: it has the benefit of built-in WiFi and its slow motion record mode, and a smaller body design, but that's about it.
If you're looking for a traditional camcorder on the cheap, the Panasonic HC-V500M is one of the best options we've seen in 2012. It's videos don't bring amazing image quality, but the camcorder is easy to use and it is packed with a lot of features for a model that's priced so low. And it is better than the JVC GZ-VX700 in nearly every category that counts.