Panasonic HM-TA20

A new waterproof camcorder

Panasonic didn’t get intimidated by the big wave of upgradings in digital cameras industry, which nowadays can do pretty much everything for you, and launched on the market something which is not that all- important, but it gets to be useful in some situations. The new device is called Panasonic HM-TA20. We’ve tested for a detailed review.

1080p Full HD resolution

The Panasonic HM-TA20 is a tough designed camcorder, up graded to then modern fashion.
It is a shockproof and waterproof camera, capable of shooting 8 megapixel images and recording Full HD. Its roughness comes in the right moment, as no one would like a scratch on the newly bought camcorder. Under its rigid coat, the camera comes pretty well equipped… for a camcorder, and we should not expect more. It is capable to shoot 1080p video at 30fps, and it also has a LED flash, which we cannot say it is that useful and powerful for the quality of the image. The display of HM-TA20 is a 7.5 cm/3.0-inch touch panel which is pretty resistive compared with the touch screen used for phones. However, it is useful, as it can function underwater, as the rest of the camera. Panasonic-HM-TA20

4x digital zoom

Except the big red button on the back, which starts the recording, everything else is accessed on this panel. The menu of Panasonic HM-TA20 is not very varied and you have few options to choose from. There is the possibility of a 4x digital zoom and a poor selection of effects, like sepia and black and white.
The recording is done in Auto Mode, and according to the specifications in the manual, there are six automatic scene modes: Portrait, Scenery, Spotlight, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, and Macro, which we did not quite identify during our review. We also noticed that sudden moving from light to dark is well supported. The other recording mode, which is not default and must be manually activated from the menu is the night mode. If you are on Auto Mode and the image becomes dark, a flashing icon appears on the screen informing you should switch to night mode for better light.

Face detection technology

The face detector can identify up to three faces, indicating them by the use of squares, but according to our test, the camcorder encountered some difficulties in exposing these faces properly.
The TA 20 has a very simple design, which disappointed us a bit, but it is all in the use of functionality. Regarding the waterproof function, the camcorder is resistant enough to be use at depths up to 3 meters. There is a button that allows you to lock the screen, so the water pressure wouldn’t affect the touch panel. While locking the screen of the Panasonic HM-TA20, a message appears to remind you to lock all port covers before using it under water. These port covers have rubber inserts to prevent water getting in, and also have locking mechanism.

Medium battery life

However, there are a few areas not that safe against water, as the memory slot area and start/stop button on the back.
This camcorder can also fall, but not to pieces. It can drop from 1.5 m without being damaged. and as if the possible damages were not enough, you can even drop it in sand, because it is dust proof also.
The battery life of Panasonic HM-TA20 is around 1h and 50 minutes, which is not that bad but it could have been better. Why? Because it does not have a removal battery pack. The battery can be charged using the USB arm.

Review conclusion

As an overall opinion, the new Panasonic HM-TA20 is a good and resistant camcorder , but it did let us down in regards to the waterproof function. The rigid design and the colors it comes in pleased us, as well as the colors in the recording. It did work well under water, but after the test performed for this review we found some drops inside of it. it is not as good as the Kodak PlaySport Zx5 or Zx3, but is still on the podium.

Technical specifications

Maximum Video Resolution 1920 x 1080
Touchscreen Yes
Product Type Digital Camcorder
Effective Image Resolution 5.1 Megapixel
Effective Video Resolution 2.9 Megapixel
Number of Image Sensors 1
Recording Media Memory Card
Digital Zoom 4x
Image Stabilization Electronic
Video Formats AVCHD
Recording Formats Full HD
Screen Size 7.6 cm (3″)
Green Compliant Yes
Image Sensor Size 1/4.1″
Green Compliance Certificate/Authority REACH, WEEE
Built-in Devices Speaker, Microphone, Video Light
Battery Rechargeable Yes
Battery Included Yes
Display Screen Type LCD
Maximum Image Resolution 3264 x 2448
Maximum Frame Rate 30 fps
Image Sensor Type Live MOS
Audio Channels Stereo
Maximum Video Lines 1080
Total Camcorder Resolution 5.3 Megapixel
Focal Length (35mm Equivalent) 59 mm to 59 mm
Progressive Scan Yes
Width 64 mm
Depth 17.7 mm
Height 112 mm
Video System PAL
Focal Length 4.10 mm
Colour Orange / Blue
Audio Formats AAC
Image Formats JPEG
Aspect Ratio 16:09
Aperture Range f/2.8
Display Resolution 230400 Pixel
Weight (Approximate) 153 g
Standard Warranty 1 Year Limited

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