Pros Great Video Quality, Optical Stabilization, Manual Iris and Decent Still Quality, Light Weight, Compact
Cons Miss the External Mic, Headphone jack and a manual focus ring would make things nicer for weddings
Summary As likely the last 3 CCD standard definition camcorder available, this is one to grab.
I've tested it out at a couple weddngs as well as several church events and family events and the performance has been great!
At the moment the miniDV tape format offers the best quality video you can get (although that is about to change)and this is important if you plan on editing your video in post. If you need to zoom in for tighter framing, you will find that any noise and compression artifacts present in your video will be magnified. DVD camcorders and Hard-drive based camcorders already show noticable compression artifacts at standard zoom, so as you zoom in closer, these artifacts can become even more of a problem.
If you've ever tried shooting the moon or any real bright object for that matter, you'll love having the manual iris control, and this is one thing I love about this camera.
I've gotten some nice video of the moon (with 2x multiplier attached) and tamed some bright white wedding dresses in sunlight as well thanks to the manual iris (trust me, brides like to see the detail in their dresses, that's why they spend big money on them; save the white-outs for a blizzard). The menu driven manual focus works well of course, but like most people, I like havng a manual focus ring. Dealing alot wit Canon SLR's, I've gotten used to the control that a manual focus ring gives me.
In summary, It's a great camera for those who don't want to spend $1,000+ or don't need the power of the latest "Hi-Definition" arrivals to the market.
Personally, you'll need a pretty powerful computer just to edit "Hi-definition" video and the market doesn't have a clear winning standard available at this time; Add to that, the fact that very few consumer households have the ability to play back hi-definition video either.
Which-ever camcorder you decide to choose; today's camcorders supplied by any of the four or five top makers should more than satisfy the average consumer.
Pros Very good picture quality, plenty of options.
Cons No microphone input or headphone output.
Summary The PV-GS320 seems to be the same camera as the NV-GS320, which I bought.
If image quality is your primary concern, this is the camera for you. In low light, too, it remains very usable. The picture stabilizer works pretty good. But don't buy this camera to take still photographs.
Audio quality is decent, but the mic picks up sound from all around the camera. The lack of a microphone input is a severe shortcoming.
The rest of the feature set is excellent, and the backlight compensation and night shot are nice additions. Remember to buy a FireWire cable if you intend to use anything but the accompanying software.
On the usability front, this camera is decent, but not excellent. If you're afraid of buttons and menus I'd recommend looking elsewhere, but anyone with a little bit of technical experience will have no problem controlling this camera.
My full in-depth review of this camera can be found here:
Pros easy to use; great video quality; WORKS WITH MY VISTA MACHINE!
Cons None, except the mic and light issue.
Summary I've owned my PV-GS320 for about 3 week. I've tested it on a night time road trip to see how it handled very low light and focus issues. I was very pleased. It picked up the reflection in the eys of some deer that I didn't even see when I was driving. I'v shot outside and inside, and the color is great. Audio could be a little louder, but that may just be how I have it set up right now.
We just finished our Thanksgiving day and capture much of it on this camera. We all set down and watched it on the TV and all the kids and grandkids were impressed.
I'm shopping for a light at this time. I'm glad it doesn't have a light, most of them just drain the battery and fall short of what you need.
I did purchase 2 extra batteries (long lasting ones). They weren't that much and a good case.
I down loaded a short clip of my daughter singing on my Vista computer with HP's own software and it worked great. I have purchased a Vista supported editing software, but that's because I'm looking into doing more with my videos than just storing them on miniDV tapes.
I would highly recommend this camera to anyone looking for quality and not ready to take the HD plung at this time. I'm not sold on the hard drive systems yet, and find this PV-GS320 to be just right for this man who likes to get the best he can afford. I don't think you will be disappointed at all.
Pros Excellent picture quality, image stabilization
Cons Menu options are limited, and battery life.
Summary I purchased this camera after my son was born. I was really wanting to get away from miniDV tapes, but the picture quality, sound recording, etc. blows all of those hard drive based (non high-def.) cameras away. This camera is really easy to use, and I have had no problems with it. Only complaint is that Panasonic is shipping this with the lowest capacity battery. I recommend purchasing larger battery for extended recording/viewing.
Pros 3CCD quality in a Small Camera
Cons Flash is an accessory also must buy a Battery and charger with it.
Summary This Camera is Great for the price, however I bought one in April 2007 it stopped working and the customer service is awful in getting it repaired. You must send it to IL for repair. No other location in the US. When calling to see about your product you are met each time with someone that is RUDE. Panasonic needs to get it together with thier service. I will never buy another Panasonic Product because of that reason.
I have had Canon which once mine was inop it was explained to me that it was an ongoing problem and fixed ASAP. Panasonic has had my Cam for 3 weeks and still no signs of return