Panasonic is tackling the market at the low end. Ultimately, the NV-GS37 has modest specifications – it's based around a single 800Kp (kilopixel) 1/6in CCD (charge-coupled device) without a memory-card slot. It can capture still images to tape at only 720x576 and features a 30x optical zoom – combined with the digital facility you have 1,000x zoom, which you'll never use.

The shutter can be varied from 1/50th to 1/8,000th, the iris from f/16 to f/1.8, and up to 18dB of video gain can be added. These are accessed using the joystick, which houses the Soft Skin mode, colour night view and white balance. There's even a built-in light, although it's not particularly powerful.

It's easy to use the GS37 with a tripod, but the lack of a DV (digital video) input is a problem. In good outdoor lighting, image quality is decent, but colour definition can't match some single-chip models. Indoors, images are grainy except in good light.

Panasonic NV-GS37: Specs

  • 800Kp CCD
  • DV recording to MiniDV tape
  • f1.8
  • 30x optical zoom
  • 720x576 still resolution
  • FireWire-out
  • A/V-out
  • 86x120x69mm
  • 410g (without battery)
  • 800Kp CCD
  • DV recording to MiniDV tape
  • f1.8
  • 30x optical zoom
  • 720x576 still resolution
  • FireWire-out
  • A/V-out
  • 86x120x69mm
  • 410g (without battery)

OUR VERDICT

The NV-GS37 is no match for its three-chip stablemates, but you can't argue with the price. If you're after a camcorder to try desktop video-making, this is extremely good value.

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