Panasonic SDR-S150 3, Almost perfect

This really is a first class camera for its size. Easy to use, good quality output. Only one thing to bear in mind. The microphone is at the rear of the device. Perfect for picking up ‘heavy breathing’ – or side comments on the action. . Can be a bit of an embarrassment.

I purchased this camcorder just over two weeks ago and must say that i am more than pleased w/ its performance. After reading countless reviews of camcorders and handling several at local stores, i selected the sdr-s150 based on: – size – reviewed video performance – sdhc recording format i wanted a camcorder that was very compact so that i wouldn’t mind carrying it anywhere. Being the size of an average digital camera, the sdr-s150 fits the bill nicely. Video performance is very good. Being able to pop the sd card into a card reader on my computer makes transfering videos pretty much effortless. This camcorder costs a bit more than others out there, but i feel the extra $$ is well spent due to it’s video quality, ease of use and expected durability. Since it doesn’t have tapes to jam or hard drives to crash, it should have a long life v. One concern i had prior to purchasing this camcorder was whether it could be used indoors, as the reviewers said it suffers more than some in low light situations.

Panasonic is not producing this camera any more; so i was very lucky to find one on amazone. For me it is one of the best small cameras ever built: splendid colours, sharps pictures, easy to handle and very smart. It took just two weeks to get it from the usa to old europe.

Key specs for Panasonic SDR-S150 3.1MP 3CCD MPEG2 Camcorder w/10x Optical Zoom (2GB Card Included) (Discontinued by Manufacturer):

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  • 3CCD camera system for clear, accurate images
  • Leica Dicomar lens
  • Optical Image Stabilizer (O.I.S) for video and still images
  • 2.8-inch LCD monitor
  • Compatible with SD/SDHC memory cards; 2GB card included

Comments from buyers

“As good as it can be, plus Mac iMovie instructions
, For me it is one of the best small cameras ever built
, Hold Me Tender

I have been using this camera for several weeks in lots of different conditions: indoors, outdoors, action, stills, etc. Overall, it is a great camera if you are looking for good video performance, acceptable still performance for a video camera, no tapes, and an incredibly small size which truly does fit in your pocket. I have not had any of the dark video issues mentioned above. I have owned many previous minidv cameras including a jvc, canon elura, panasonic 3ccd, and sony dcr-pc1000. To my eye, the video this camera produces video as good as the others in terms of sharpness and color accuracy. I tested it side-by-side with the sony (the most recent model of those shown), and it performed about the same to my eye as the sony with video, although color was a little more accurate on the panasonic, and the still images were noticeably better. I was concerned about getting an mpeg2 camera thinking the compression would cause artifacts and have trouble with action video. I have had no problems with either. The real reason i tried this camera is that all of the above cameras have broken after a couple years of use due to a broken tape handling mechanism, and i was thrilled about the idea of a tapeless camera.The battery lasts much longer due to not having to drive a tape, and the startup time is great since it doesn’t have to get the tape across the recording heads after you switch it on.

I don’t like to take video for many reasons. You end up with a lot of bad scenes in the middle of the tape, if you review the tape you have to forward to the point where you can begin taping again and it takes far to long to transfer the video to the pc if you want to burn it to dvd. This camcorder solves all those problems. Because of random access of the sd flash media, scenes where you accidently filmed your leg for 10 minutes and didn’t notice it till later can be deleted on the fly. It automatically begins to record at the end of the series of scenes so there’s no fast-forwarding to find the spot where you can record again. And copying the video to your pc is as easy as pulling out the sd card and plugging it into your computer. You can begin burning a dvd immediately. Now i don’t hesitate to video. With 3 ccds, quality is much better than the previous few single-ccd minidv camcorders i’ve owned from jvc, sony, and samsung, particularily the white balance and color correctness. On a big screen tv the difference is very noticable.

After reading the reviews here and at [. on this baby, i was a little cocerned about its low-light and indoor performance. Let me be the first to say that my fears were largely unfounded. Yes, if you film in very low light, it will darken many colors. But we’re talking 60 lux, which is the roughly equivalent to the light put off from the candles of a birthday cake. Just keep the lights on when your kid blows out the candles, and viola. Seriously, i have had absolutely no problems with it filming too dark indoors, outdoors, or even when i film local bands playing in dark bars. The reason i wanted to try this camera was because it is the only flash-based camera that is receiving even mildly positive reviews. I do not want a tape mechanism that will break, nor a fragile hard drive that cannot be used in many film-worthy conditions (think snow skiing, as the drive mechanism will freeze up on you in very cold weather). As i said, i was skeptical when i purchased it, but no more. ]

After opening the box and charging the battery, i had it shooting without cracking the user manual. Easy to use and confidence-inspiring. The menu system is mostly self explanatory, the only changes i made were to put it in xp (highest) quality mode, 4:3 instead of widescreen aspect ratio, disable digital zoom. Most of the options you’d want are there. This is a tiny device, about the size of my 4-yr old 3x zoom digital still point and shoot. As such, the screen size is a little small, particularly if you are shooting 4×3 instead of widescreen. The case is mostly plastic but feels solid nonetheless. Be sure to attach the included grip extender to the tripod socket. This is crucial for one-handed operation of the zoom. I like the use of thumbnails to identify each clip.

First of all, there’s alot to like about this camcorder. I wont go over all the positive attributes, nearly everything they say in the sales documentation is true, but i am having one problem with it so far that’s pretty close to having me send it back. Low light is nearly unusable, bright light comes out dark. Everything is just plain hard to see. Now, i’ve been fighting with the thing for the past week, and as of this evening i’ve come to be convinced of one thing. My guess is that the camera doesn’t record dark video, it’s something to do with the mpeg-2 format *. Mod files that the camera is using. Mpeg causes them to run just fine on any pc or video appliance.

Friendly and photo video even in very low light conditions. High quality video is eventually going on the tv or computer. I have some problems with taking out the movies using the program but it’s simple to copy the movies through the micromate reader. I think it’s the best product i have ever bought.

If you want quality video, if you want to edit using a program other than the minimal one that comes with the camera, if you want to video indoors under normal indoor lighting, then this is not the camera for you. But, if most of your shooting will be done outdoors and you don’t plan on doing any significant amount of editing then this is an easy camera to carry around and it does a pretty good job of point and shoot. By the way, the video files on the sd card can only be viewed by the included panasonic software.

Panasonic sdr-s150 is a wonderful camera. I am extremely happy with it – and recommend it to everyone. Popular mechanics magazine has named it the best in its class – and i completely agree. I bought mine in the end of september of 2006 and was using it every day for the last 10 months. The sales person at j&r store has recommended it to me, based on customers feedback – and i am grateful to him for good advice. The camera makes very decent videos. Excellent optics, 3-ccd, and true image stabilization do their job. The videos are bright, sound is excellent. But most important for me is how easy it is to work with the camera and with the video clips once you made them. One can use the cable and software provided with the camera, but i like things simple.

This is a great video camera. My only complaint is the uncomfortable and awkward hand positioning when ‘taping’ or even while taking still pictures. I end up having to use two hands (luckily i have an extra one) to steady the camera, especially while using the wide angle / telephoto feature. It is even difficult to press the ‘record’ button to stop recording without a fair amount of movement.

**update may 2007************i just got back from turkey, and really put this camera through its paces. The convenience is absolutely an overriding factor to any flaws. Flipping back-and-forth between video and still photos is a snap. I can’t prove it but there were many still photos taken while in a moving car that should not of come out. I wonder if the ‘stabilizing’ video feature works during still shots as well. The instance (2 second) ‘on’ feature meant i also got shots i would have missed with any other camera. The absolute best travel camera i’ve ever owned. If i could, i’d change my ratings to five (5) stars. ************************i was looking specifically for the magic combination of an all-around video and still camera that was compact and built very solid that i can travel with easily.

I needed a camera that fits in my handbag to carry around everywhere i go. This was my primary priority, second was image quality and the third was to be able to record on a memory based media. And this camera is the best you can get considering all these factors. It is not the smallest camcorder in the world but small enough to fit your coats pocket, very easy to use, just pop the lcd screen and lens cover slide open and you are ready to shoot. There is an auto everything and manual switch where you can override all or some auto functions. I rarely use manual overrides, because not only auto shooting does a decent job but also manual functions are very deep in the menu system that makes it hard to control, and this is one of my few complaints about sdr-150. I wish there was a few quick access manual adjustment buttons. Image quality is surprisingly good, 3ccds are really make a huge difference, accurate vivid color rendition, no visible compression artifacts etc. Another cool function is the image stabilization system ‘ois’ works really good.

I took quite some time in deciding which camcorder to buy. I wanted one that was small so it would be easy to take with me. I also wanted to stay away from tapes because i think it’s much easier to organize videos on the computer rather than labeling and storing tapes all the time. This camera is wonderful for general use. It takes good video and good pictures. I highly recommend it for recording personal events. The one thing that i did not like was the software that came with the camcorder. In my case, it does not copy the video onto my computer properly. It will not let me organize the videos so i can find what i want later. I’m irrated that such a nice camcorder comes with such terrible software.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Panasonic SDR-S150 3.1MP 3CCD MPEG2 Camcorder w/10x Optical Zoom (2GB Card Included) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Rating
4.8 of 5 stars, based on 16 reviews