Review: Panasonic SDR-S10 – titchy SD card camcorder

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panasonic_sdr-s10.jpg The propaganda

Panasonic is touting the SDR-S10 as the world’s smallest SD camcorder – while we can’t vouch for that, it’s certainly very small for a dedicated video device.

It’ll do both video and still pictures – but it’s skewed towards the video side. There are no moving parts – stills and video are recorded to SD card. It supports the new SD HC (high capacity) standard, so in theory you’ll be able to fit in a 32GB card in the near future – although you’ll be hard pushed to find anything larger than 4GB on the market at the moment.

The good

With no moving parts, there’s less to worry about if you plan to take it with you during extreme sports excursions. It can take a knock or two without the danger of losing precious footage.

It’s quick to respond too – you can go from off to shooting in just a few seconds so you won’t miss that special moment and there’s a 10x optical zoom for close up action.

Shots are recorded in 704×576 pixel MPEG2 format and you’ll get around 50 minutes on a 2GB card in standard quality. Results are reasonable, but it performs better in natural light and can struggle in dark environments.

The bad

While it’s certainly small for a camcorder, the design feels basic and not especially ergonomic. There’s nothing specifically to grab hold of, so when you’re using it it feels a bit like you’re just waving a large bar of soap around.

Hook the camera up to your PC and it will refuse to let you at the footage until you connect it to a mains supply – which could be a problem if you’re out and about. If you’ve got a compatible SD HC card reader, however, you could just use that.

The photo side of things is pretty weak – only offering snaps at a meagre 640×480 pixels, which most camera phones could beat these days.

Geek Sheet

Dimensions: 31x63x114 mm

Storage: SD HC, 2GB card included

Video format: 704×576 pixel MPEG2

Photo format: 640×480 JPEG

Zoom: 10x optical, 700x digital

Display: 2.7″ LCD

Battery: 1 hour 10 minutes maximum record time

Overview

The SDR-S10 is a small, pocketable camcorder that you could feasibly carry with you most places you go. Record time is currently limited by SD card capacity, but that will invariably increase over time.

Results are good enough for YouTube, but it’ll struggle if you’re aiming for higher production values. Available online for around £300 it’s more of an expensive toy than proper camcorder replacement.

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Related sites: Panasonic SDR-S10

Will Head