Panasonic HC-V700 Camcorder Review
The HC-V700 may be loaded with over 15 megapixels on its image sensor, but the camcorder's still image size options only go up to 6 megapixels. This leaves us to wonder why Panasonic decided to make a sensor with so many pixels in the first place. The effective pixel count of the image sensor is just 3.55 megapixels for stills, so even the 6-megapixel photo option is somewhat interpolated. It's just a 3.55-megapixel photo that's stretched to 3024 x 2016 without adding any detail.
But all this talk about photo size options isn't even that important, because if you truly care about image quality, you should be taking photos with a dedicated camera—not the V700 camcorder. Save the camcorder for video, that's what it's good at. This didn't stop Panasonic from including plenty of still features on the HC-V700. There's are three aspect ratio options, a high-speed burst mode, a self-timer, and a built-in flash with red-eye reduction and intensity settings. All of these options are found on the V700's dedicated still image mode, but you can also snap photos in video mode as well (your options are just more limited).
Ever been at a soccer game where your kid kicks the winning goal, but you miss it with your video camera because you weren't fast enough hitting the record button? Pre Record is designed for exactly those situations. It works like this: when engaged, Pre Record allows the V700 to store three seconds of video continuously in the camcorder's buffer memory. So, when you do hit record, the camcorder has already captured the three seconds of video prior to you hitting the record button. As long as you're pointing the camcorder at your kid, you won't miss any of the unexpected action. Warning: this mode does eat battery life faster than usual.
Faders are present on plenty of camcorders these days, but it is also very easy to add fading effects to your videos in post production. If you want to use a fader in-camera on the V700, you just hit the fade button the function menu. Then, when you hit the record button, your video will be accompanied with a fade-in. You can fade out by hitting the fade button again, antytime before you hit the record button to stop your recording.
Auto Ground Standby (AGS)
Auto Ground Standby (AGS) is a feature that is mainly found on Panasonic camcorders only, and we're not that impressed by what it does. AGS is designed to eliminate those embarrassing times when you've finished recording video, but you forgot to actually stop recording by hitting the start/stop record button. When AGS detects that the camcorder is pointed towards the ground for an extended period of time, the camcorder will automatically stop recording and turn off. But what happens if you actually want to be recording the ground? Thankfully, you can turn AGS off manually if that's the case.
On the front of the V700 is a small, underpowered video light that will help you record in the dark, but you shouldn't expect it to perform miracles. The light doesn't illuminate much, so you should only rely on it if you're very close to your subject in a dark environment.