Video Accessories Misc
- Written by John E. Johnson, Jr.
- Published on 30 June 2008
The menu system is as simple and straighforward as the buttons. The basic LCD screen that you see when shooting videos is shown below. It is in Auto mode (point-and-shoot), auto-focus, paused, with 5 hours and 32 minutes of recording space left on the drive. The optical stabilization is active and it is recording in the highest quality mode (HXP). I shot all the test videos at this highest resolution. The camera is very easy to handle and responded quickly, although I would have liked to see a bit faster start recording when the record button is pressed.
You hit the Function button and turn the dial to select various menu options such as the recording quality, shown below. The HXP mode is the highest quality and it records at 15 Mbps (Megabits per second). That's less than what we used with standard NTSC in camcorders way back when, but the compression for AVCHD is high, so it allows HD at lower bitrates. Nevertheless, I would have liked to see a bitrate option of 25 Mbps. That would still allow 3 hours of recording time, and the picture quality would likely be much improved.
Here is the menu for Camera Setup, which includes Digital Zoom, Auto Focus, and the Frame Rate (you can select 60i or 24p).
When playing your videos back, unlike with tape, you can go right to the individual scenes, and you get a thumbnail image of the beginning of each scene to help you find what you want. It's an easy way to make sure you got the things you wanted to record.
The included remote control will help you get in the video with your family if you like. All you need is a tripod or stable surface on which to place the camera. You can rotate the LCD screen over the top so that you can see yourself while you are shooting the video with yourself in it.