"Beautifully built camera. This is the future, but probably not ready for prime time"on by albanyeardoc
Pros Beautiful build quality. Amazing Hi Def picture, amazing zoom mic
Cons Hi Def does nothing for you if you do not have a Hi Def burner
Summary Bought and returned the camera because the file format ACVHD was not supported by any video editing formats.
The good: I then returned the other camera (JVC) when I saw that the new NERO 7 does support the format. I am now able to use the camera, download and edit video and output it to a standard DVD (I do not have a high def burner or player).
If you do not have a high def burner this camera does you no good unless you are archiving the video on a computer in the hopes that in a year or two the high Def recorders will be mainstream to purchase. The regular def video is acceptable but on par with a middle road camcorder. The hi def images when connected to my TV directly are unbelievable (like a Dicsovery Channel HD show). Nero 7 does pretty well for now though.
The zoom mic and sound is amazing. The miz zooms as you zoom in. Has great macro feature.
The bad: does not support larger than 4gig chips. Makes no sense. The chip is formated in a wierd file structure and you cannot simply dump the videos from the card but have to do it using the camera as a hard drive.
The ugly: If you are not a true geek and are not filling to "fight" with this technology do't bother. There is a high hassel factor with this new video format. Short of that this yhing is amazing.Updated
Several comments after using the camera. I have used it to record various "medical" events. The zoom is excellent. The video quality of even the regular def video when outputted to regular DVD via Nero 7 is far superior to any regular camcorder I have ever seen . Amazing resolution even when zoomed in close and superb colors. The 4 gig chip gets you about 45min of video which is about the staying power of the battery anyway. Class 2 chip seems to work well. Have never heard of class 6. Where can I get it and will it make a difference?
I have a love hate relationship with this camera. Super small, no moving parts, and incredible image quality. Cannot wait for the HD burners to come out and come into the price range of the "normal person." 4 gig chips are getting cheap. $68 today. Will be half this in a few months. Will keep this unit. It is a ground breaker and will go into my museum along with my Apple 2C, Mac, original Ipod,and a few others. Each one I bought and had a blast with. PS. Sony sucks. I am still mad at them for the micro MV camcorder I bought that was never supported (ie. "movie shaker"). They should be ashamed of themselves.
This camera is the future, but just a little ahead of its time.
Pros Awesome video quality- Awesome Gadget
Cons Can really only see the vids on a high def TV- laptops need not apply
Summary Well I knew the video format wasn't supported when i got it thinking that I could put these MPEG4 vids on my laptop and view them with NERO 7 that will support the format BUT (there's always a but with this new technology stuff isn't there?) OK Nero DOES support it (for another $80 for those who don't have it already like me) but your laptop (or desktop) will have to have some HEAVY HORSEPOWER to view the video correctly!! Know this before buying.
I have a new Lenovo widescreen fully tricked out with 256 meg of vid RAM dedicated (its too slow to me but that if for another review) and a Sony TX small laptop with Intel integrated graphics. The Sony will only run the vid in slow choppy motion and the Lenovo will run the video but it ain't "high def"
I would run this on my TV to get the true "High Defness" but I have to buy a component or HDMI cable for that but they are not supplied with the unit- so another 50$ or so.
The software supplied is only to copy vids off the SD card- don't need 3rd part software for that!
As far as a "gadget' goes- this is unbeatable- great in your hand- looks cool and the "theory" of the memory card is great- If it could support 8 GIG cards (I think the new SD3 does?) it would be great. But beware the SD3 it is even HIGHER resolution than the SD1 and probably REALLY wouldn't run on anything less than the most powerful desktop computer.
I know that watching video on a high def TV is cool but that is only one source- most people I think (at least me) watch most RECORDED video on a computer- at this time this is NOT the best camera for this- the software though I think will catch up- but the hardware requirements are tough.
I know that better software will be available in the future and that is why I am keeping the camera. If I could see the high res video on my laptop I would give this unit a 10 out of 10.
Pros Super focus and color, lightweight, simple to use
Cons Might prefer 30 gb HDD to SD
Summary I hesitated to buy yet another camcorder since I have 2 mini-DV tape models (one a 3CCD model) that work fine. I very happy I took the plunge.
The HDC-SD1 is superior in every facet. It's small and light, and very steady. It focuses so fast it's always in focus - like normal vision. The picture is crisp with very accurate, bright color and much less 'noise' on my LCD panel than my DV models. I used the HDMI output from the camcorder and the 'normal' compression option (one hour recording on the supplied 4 GB SD card)
The controls are simple and well thought out. NO MORE TAPES!!! NO SEQUENTIAL SEARCHES!!!
Like every other camcorder I've seen, the digital stills unuseable
Pros nice quality, easy-to-use camera
Cons file format unusable, extremely poor editing software
Summary I realize I'm breaking ranks with other reviewers here, but urge people not to buy this camcorder --- yet.
I bought mine in March and while the quality is nice and the camera is easy-to-use, the new file format they use causes so much trouble that the camera is essentially unusable.
The file format is not supported by any editing software other than the software that comes bundled with the camcorder (latest update from Panasonic on this was today, 12/1/07). The bundled software is hard to use and is missing the most basic and fundamental editing options. It's not really usable so all my footage sits on my computer as-is. (Google reviews on the software for more detail. I found most others had the same problem.)
The file format is not accepted by any internet video sites. So while I would have been happy just to share unedited clips, that also isn't possible.
The only remaining option is to covert the new file format to one recognized by other editing software and the Internet. But in doing so, you'll lose the quality that makes the camcorder unique. You'll also pay $80-$250 for software that allows conversion.
The camera has been out for over a year and every 2 months I contact Panasonic for updates. I found the representatives had almost no training on this camcorder. What they do tell you is that no one supports the file format and they don't know when we can expect more software to support it.
This camcorder may be great, but until file formats are supported, it's sadly, totally unusable. After a year in the market, I'm not clear if/when we'll see expanded support of the file format. I bought it thinking support was imminent and it *is* a great camcorder. But don't make the same mistake - wait until there really is support for the file format !
"Fantastic camcorder"on by elanf
Pros Solidly built, picture quality, sound quality, great features...
Cons Camera must be connted to AC power adapter to download video to PC, bundled software (what can you expect?)
Summary The Panasonic HDC-SD1 is great. I was a bit a concerned about performance of a camcorder that only used flash memory for recording, but no more - the SD performance is great and solid state media is clearly the future.
Editing the AVCHD video is still a bit problematic, but there are several solutions readily available - more will be avaible soon.
I returned a Canon HV10 and bought the HDC-SD1 instead - I am VERY happy that I did; the HDC-SD1 outperforms the HV10 in every possible way.