Pros Great image quality outdoors in daylight, decent quality indoors, good white balance adjustment, autofocus and face recognition work pretty good, decent battery, full HD
Cons Horrendous quality in dim conditions, LED isn't that bright so it doesn't help much, microphone picks up lots of background noise, auto white balance doesn't work well, always adjusting it manually
Summary I got this camera for 500 bucks back in 2010, and I guess for the price it isn't bad.I just want to add that 500 bucks may seem like a lot of money, but it won't buy a lot of camcorder.
Takes great video outside, and decent video inside if it's bright enough.
Gets about 1hr, 45mins of battery life.
Records at 60 frames per second, so you can slow the video down to 50% for slow-ish-mo and the video will still be smooth.
Autofocus works pretty well in good lighting conditions, face recognition works well, as does subject tracking.
And of course, it's full HD so in good lighting conditions video looks really sharp...
But, that changes once you try filming with this camera in lower lighting.
In a room with good lighting, there's some noticeable grain, but quality is still acceptable.
In dim and dark conditions, there's SOOOOO much grain on the screen it's freakin' ridiculous! The built-in LED is too dim to make a significant difference.
Sometimes it seems like the camera tries to focus on the grain in dim conditions! I don't know if that is actually possible, but it seems like it's happening.
The built-in microphone always manages to pick up a considerable amount of background noise, even if there isn't a noticeable amount of noise in the background when filming (for example, filming in a very quiet room, once you import the video to a computer, you'll still notice quite a bit of noise.)
Auto white balance doesn't work very well, often giving the shot a green or blue hue, so I always find myself adjusting the white balance manually.
So, if you're going to be filming mostly outdoors, not a bad camera.
But for indoor filming, avoid this camera like the plague!
Updated on Nov 26, 2013
Pros Good OIS, intelligent zoom and auto controls. Reasonably good low light performance. Well written manual.
Cons Blurry image is evident when anything moves in the scene. Problem seems to be related to OIS but when that is turned off, auto exposure and color are turned off too. I have been unable to determine if this was a malfunction or not but the biggest con may
Summary The CNET video review states this is a full HD 1080p camera. I don't very much blame them because Panasonic says it's full HD but in reality it is a 1080i camera. The difference between 1080i and 1080p is the difference interlaced scan and progressive scan which is essentially the difference between cable TV HD and Blue Ray HD. But, for the price, I wouldn't quibble. My problem is that I noticed right from the beginning that when there was any camera movement such as panning slowly or if something moved in the scene the picture quality fell off dramatically. If you pause the playing you typically see a double image on a big screen which suggests an internal problem related to OIS. I believe the double image does not occur when OIS is turned off.
One day while experimenting with ways to avoid the problem it just turned off all by itself and that was all she wrote. I did purchase an extended warranty from Square Trade so I reported the problem. They suggested that since it was still under parrts warranty (labor is only 3 months) that it would be better for me if I sent it to Panasonic for repair. It seems that the total payoff value of their warranty is limited to the original purchase price and since an independent repair facility would have to purchase the parts from Panasonic the repair would likely use up most of the warranty. So I sent it to Panasonic and now two months later it is still waiting for parts.