Pros High definition in 1080/60p, colour fidelity and vibrance, steady shot, memory speed, menus easy to use, light weight & small size convenient, touchscreen good, USB and HDMI really good, sound is amazingly good, great viewscreen quality,
Cons Price a little high yet, SDHC cards pricey, battery life is on the short side, second battery pricey, included software barely usable on a two year old laptop and not versatile, optical eyepiece viewfinder a little primitive, HDMI cable not included.
Summary I got this little masterpiece just before I left for our holiday in Prince Edward Island in July. It captured the outdoor scenery and indoor family shots beautifully with little prior experience. It even recorded some of an indoor country music concert well with no extra lighting! The 1080/60p capability is really good and the main feature that sold this item to me so soon after it was released. The High def videos and stills are excellent. (The stills give my Nikon D300 a little competition at 14megapixels!) I REALLY like being able to click off stills while shooting video or when viewing the videos later! The sharpness, clarity and colours are absolutely superb. The low light capability is also pretty good for a non-Sony product!
I do not hear any fan noise at all even in quiet rooms contrary to some reports elsewhere. The TM700 is light and small which is convenient to carry anywhere. While the battery gives a couple of hours of usage, carrying a second battery around is not a problem. The digital zoom can be extended to 700x which is amazing in itself. While the image is shaky and blurry, it is viewable. The optical zooms give crystal clear and fast autofocus.
The menus are generally easy to use but it took some hunting to find how to connect it to the HDMI tv.
I bought an SDHC card as a backup but did not realy need it in two weeks of recording in high def. These cards tend to be pricey in the stores and you can cut the price in half buying online. Same for the HDMI cable and extra battery.
I was concerned about the quality of image of the 1/4.1 CMOS sensor size. But I was made a believer by seeing the results Panasonic has achieved by putting three of these into the camcorder each one handling one of the prime colours. So I see how a larger sensor is not necessarily the end all and be all we think it is.
As mentioned above by another reviewer, the included software leaves a lot to be desired. It was virtually unusable on my two year old laptop but works smoothily in the core2quad desktop at home since I've been back home. This will change when the software evolves, however.
The sound quality is very, very good using 5.1 technology which seems to be overkill in a non professional level camorder. But it handled that very loud country music concert really well with no extraneous noise.
I put a clear UV lens filter on the front of the camcorder to protect the Leica lens because the little protective shutter is flimsy and too easily opened by a stray finger. I was glad I did as the filter got smudged and a little dinged at one point during the vacation.
The prize videos? They were of my recently widowed 86 year old mother-in-law watching her three young great grandsons play with our two collies on the deck with the sea and red sandstones cliffs of PEI in the background.
I would highly recommend this camcorder to anyone who can afford it.
Pros 60P HD mode, 35mm wide angle, optical eyepiece viewfinder and LCD screen, time-lapse recording (turns hours into minutes), 3-CMOS sensors (excellent video quality and color), small size, focus ring (multi-function ring), fantastic stabilization.
Cons Touch screen, cluttered view finder with information, mediocre still quality.
Summary I really love this camera! The video quality in 1080P 60 mode is amazing! I don't know why some say that it is difficult to find an editing program to work with the video, I use Avid Pinnacle Studio 14 and it works fine.
One of the best features is the wide angle zoom lens. It has a 35mm (equivalent) angle of view when set to its widest setting. The lens will zoom out to 12X, or you can set it to zoom to 18X with no loss of quality.
Time lapse videography was something that I had to do in post production. I would take a clip that was an hour and speed it up in the editing program so that it only took 10 minutes to view the clip. The TM700K will do the time-lapse videography in the camera. Just choose the time period, set it on a tripod, push the record button, and sit back and relax for a while. This is great for sunsets, flowers opening in the morning, downtown traffic at night, and many other occasions.
The color and video quality is fantastic. The 3 MOS sensors do a great job at recording rich color. The sharpness and clarity of the video is so good that, in a pinch, you can take a frame grab to use as a still photo.
The multi-function ring around the lens is a nice touch. It can be set for focus, white balance, shutter speed, or iris (f stop). I usually leave mine set on focus. With the focus aid showing the focused edges in blue color, it makes focusing a snap.
The image stabilization is very good. I am surprised at how much of an improvement in stabilization has been made many HD camcorders this year. It is much improved over the past. The TM700 has two modes of stabilization: standard and active OIS. The active mode is great for walking or using the long end of the zoom. I haven't seen much better stabilization on any other camcorder.
I don't like touch screens. I like my buttons and knobs. But this touch screen isn't too bad. It is easy to use and is laid out well. The problem is that there is too much information on the small LDC screen that cannot be turned off.
The TM700 has two view finders. On a bright sunny day, you might want to use the eyepiece view finder instead of the LCD screen. Now you have a choice. Many manufactures are leaving the eyepiece viewfinder off camcorders these days. This is a very nice plus, considering the camera sells for less than $1,000.
This camcorder will fit in a coat pocket or in your pants pocket. It is very slim and great for travel videography.
I have this camera and a Canon HFS200 and love them both. Each has a something that is a little better than the other. I rate this camcorder higher because it has more features and fewer frustrations.
Pros My wife is not a techy. While I was in Iraq she received the camera and was able to immediately, and very successfully, shoot 1080/60p video of my little ones. It made me feel like I was there the first time I was able to see the video.
Cons Software has not caught up with this product yet but do not let that keep you from purchasing it. Get your family videos recrded in this format before before regret not doing it. The software will catch up.
Summary My friends and family have all seen the images from this camera and I have yet to see anything but the lok of complete amazment on a face when I tell them it was from our little camera. By the way....I am nearly 6'7" and my wife is 6'2". The complaints about the size of the camera being too small for some hands is nonsense. I can't wait until there is a good software (hopefully freeware) program out there to play with these videos.
Pros Super light weight, camera starts instantly once you open lcd, amazingly real colours/quality. Ability to use filters!(Its new to me, never had this option before).
Cons Maybe a bigger battery(Base battery lets you shoot for 1hr 45 up to 2 hours), better screen wouldn't hurt.
The only real Con - when you're shooting in complete silence you will hear camera fan in the background.
Summary I used to be a Sony man, this time i thought its time to try something new. Quality blew my mind right away! Battery time is about 50% better from what i used to get before, operating time is super fast!
Comparing to Sony this camera has all i will ever need and stuff that i will really use and none of the stupid and useless things as GPS...
Pros Portability (Size, weight) EVF, Manual controls, Wind-noise cancellation, low-light performance, ease-of-use, O.I.S
Cons Too small to hold for some hands!, Battery life, HD writer software (only one that I know of that can handle your 1080/60 p videos)
Summary The event I was shooting for was in two parts, first in open place under sun (garden) and in in-door function with moderately lit room. Shot videos in 1080/60 p mode. Just to give an idea, 22 Minute of continuous footage took about 4.5 GB. Had the digital cinema and soft skin featured enabled which made videos look as real as it can get. Also wide lens helps you cover good area. Although, be prepared to spend really good amount of time trying to put together/edit videos with the supplied software. Don't try to edit on your laptop, you will only pull your hairs. Do it on a powerful desktop with good memory and processor, possibly and dual core or quad core. This is quick review after first use. Will post detailed review after bit more playing with it. But all in all it is a superb camcorder with tons of manual controls for pro-user and in-built modes for rookie. Thanks for reading.