"Outstanding camcorder for an old guy photographer."4.5 starson by NeillDGraham
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.