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Camcorders Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Panasonic VDR-D300

£667 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Panasonic

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

It's a surprise to see the very consumer-oriented DVD camcorder format married to semi-pro three-CCD optics in Panasonic's VDR-D300.

It's a surprise to see the very consumer-oriented DVD camcorder format – whose big selling point is supposed to be that you can take the disc and stick it in your DVD player to watch it – married to semi-pro three-CCD (charge-coupled devices) optics in Panasonic's VDR-D300.

The VDR-D300 is based around a trio of 800Kp (kilopixel) 1/6in CCDs, similar to the MiniDV-based NV-GS180. However, interpolation is used to bump up maximum still-image resolution to 2,048x1,512.

Video is recorded in Mpeg2 format, with stereo Dolby Digital sound. Unlike most DVD camcorders, the Panasonic is capable of recording to DVD-RAM, as well as DVD-R and DVD-RW.

Reassuringly, the VDR-D300 is not brimming with pointless digital effects. You get a useful soft skin mode and a simple colour fade, both readily accessible via the joystick control next to the Record button. You can use this to access the night view setting, plus a 0 Lux mode, where you reverse the LCD panel to face the subject and it then turns white to provide illumination.

There are no program auto-exposure modes to speak of, although manual controls are comprehensive. As well as shutter speeds up to 1/8,000th, you can vary the iris from f16 to f1.8 and add up to 12dB (decibels) of video gain. White-balance settings include the usual sunlight and tungsten presets, plus automatic and manual.

With a tripod-friendly top-loading disc system, this camcorder ticks all the checkboxes for the video enthusiast. All, that is, except for a manual focus ring. The joystick is used for this function.

As we've come to expect from Panasonic's three-CCD camcorders, image quality was impressive under most conditions. In full daylight, video was sharp, with extremely good colour fidelity. However, video noise became noticeable in really poor illumination.

Panasonic VDR-D300 Expert Verdict »

Panasonic VDR-D300 Scores 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 review
3x 800Kp CCDs
Mpeg2 recording to DVD-R, DVD-RW and DVD-RAM
f1.8
10x optical zoom
2,048x1,512 still resolution
USB-in/-out
A/V-out
S-video-out
accessory shoe
  • Build Quality: We give this item 8 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 7 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

With the VDR-D300, Panasonic has successfully combined the manual features and image quality of a three-CCD camcorder with the convenience of DVD. You're paying a slight premium for the recording format, but in return you get the best combination of image quality and manual controls we've seen in a DVD camcorder.

  • Panasonic VDR-D310 DV camcorder

    Panasonic VDR-D310 DV camcorder

    The more sophisticated sibling of Panasonic's VDR-D210 (both are DVD models), the Panasonic VDR-D310, produces better-quality video and still images.

  • Panasonic VDR-D100

    In anything other than good natural light, the D100 suffered obtrusive and persistent blotchy noise issues and compression artefacts.

  • Panasonic SDRS100

    Panasonic SDRS100

    Apart from JVC, most manufacturers are backing recordable DVD as the next step for consumer video cameras. But Panasonic is taking another tack. Instead of the miniature hard disks used in JVC's Everios, the SDRS100 records to SD memory, with a decent-sized 2GB module supplied in the box.

  • Panasonic NV-GS180

    Panasonic NV-GS180

    The NV-GS180 is the successor to the mid-range NV-GS150, and its specifications are remarkably similar. It's based around a trio of 1/6in 0.8Mp CCDs, offering true 2.3Mp still images at 1,760x1,320.

  • Canon DC210 DVD camcorder

    Canon DC210 DVD camcorder

    Blessed with a very low price, the Canon DC210 offers a fair number of features. The Canon DC210 captured good but not great, video in PC Advisor's lab tests.


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