The Hitachi DZ-BD7HE is an HD camcorder with Blu-ray recording capabilities.

Hitachi's DZ-BD7HE writes HD footage direct to Blu-ray Disc and 4.3Mp stills to an SD card that slots into one side. This setup makes the Hitachi pretty bulky for a modern camcorder, although it does its best to disguise that fact with a stylish, gently curved design.

The Hitachi DZ-BD7HE is also a rare bird in that it features moving recordable media, so there's a gentle hum and vibration during use unless you record to its 30GB hard disk.

It's also backwards-compatible with DVD – although, while this handily avoids any compatibility issues, it rather negates the purpose of shelling out nearly £900 on an HD model.

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When used in conjunction with the Hitachi DZ-BD7HE, a Blu-ray Disc allows for just 60 minutes of full HD recording time; the hard drive boosts capacity to four hours. Make sure you keep an eye on which option is selected before pressing the record button.

Footage and stills are composed using either the Hitachi DZ-BD7HE's flip-out 2.7in widescreen LCD or a pullout electronic viewfinder.

For recording to hard disk, an HD multimedia interface (HDMI) cable, standard video leads and USB 2.0 connectivity are provided with the Hitachi DZ-BD7HE.

We found the Hitachi DZ-BD7HE slow to adjust focus when panning between subjects, while switching between the manually selectable white-balance settings gave more accurate results than full auto.

The small joystick located on the screen for tabbing between these options is awkward to use. The Hitachi DZ-BD7HE also lacks optical image stabilisation and there are too many confusing recording options.

Unfortunately, the Hitachi DZ-BD7HE also delivers one of the noisiest low-light performances we've seen, and its lens provides a narrower field of view than we'd like.

While colour is vivid, it's too warm to match reality, and the Hitachi DZ-BD7HE's audio sounds rather hollow.

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Hitachi DZ-BD7HE: Specs

  • 1,080i (1,920x1,080) video resolution
  • 4.3Mp still resolution
  • AVCHD, Jpeg
  • 2.7in, 211,300 pixel LCD
  • 10x optical
  • 30GB hard drive, Blu-ray Disc, DVD, SD storage
  • HDMI, USB output
  • 80x87x165mm
  • 630g
  • 1,080i (1,920x1,080) video resolution
  • 4.3Mp still resolution
  • AVCHD, Jpeg
  • 2.7in, 211,300 pixel LCD
  • 10x optical
  • 30GB hard drive, Blu-ray Disc, DVD, SD storage
  • HDMI, USB output
  • 80x87x165mm
  • 630g

OUR VERDICT

It's got an interesting feature set, and you can't fault the storage options, but we weren't fully convinced by the Hitachi DZ-BD7HE's recording quality. And at £850, we would expect to be.

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