Samsung SC HMX10A Solid State High Definition Camcorder Review
Continuing with the high definition TV craze, it is still in full force and probably will be for the next year or two as people are upgrading from their old tube sets onwards to 21st century HD technology. We’ve come a long way and it’s amazing to see all this unfold in front of our eyes because all this technology is so powerful.
After you purchase an HDTV and view it for the first time, it’ll be safe to say that you won’t want to go back to the old days and what better way to compliment that HDTV then to purchase a HD camcorder? Samsung has created a very simple and user friendly camcorder that is High Definition and can record in 720p (meaning 1280x720 progressive scan).
The best thing is that the Samsung SC HMX10A features solid state internal memory which is essentially the same thing as the USB flash key which we all have come to love. So no more DVD’s to burn on, no more tapes to rewind, nothing of that nature to worry about except filming what it is that you want to.
Specifications and features
The list is a long one for the specifications of the Samsung SC HMX10A so here is only a brief outline of the HD camcorder. For a full listing of specifications, please click here.
Looking at the long list of specifications for the HMX10A camcorder, one of the things I’d like to start out by sharing is the lens starts out at 30mm distance which means it’s not a wide angle lens. In simple terms this means you have to stand farther away to get the whole object that you want into frame. This is certainly not helpful for filming in small or tight spaces. I would have liked the lens to have been wider but it is what it is.
First impressions and thoughts
The Samsung SC HMX10A HD camcorder comes in a very compact square box that looks very attractive. Upon opening the box you will find the following from your purchase…
The only thing missing here is in the form of an HDMI cable because the Samsung SC HMX10A High Definition Camcorder supports and has an HDMI interface for your new HDTV television set. Not having one included boggles my mind as that is the biggest selling factor, isn’t it?
Looking at the camera reveals how simple and small it looks. There are very few buttons on the camcorder itself which tells me I’m looking at a simple and newbie friendly unit, and that sometimes is not much of a bad thing. The camcorder looks cute and doesn’t pretend to be a pro unit with tons of buttons, but most of the settings and features can be accessed through the menu which is driven through the 2.7” touch screen LCD panel.
The camcorder has very good ergonomics. It fits into my medium sized hand like a glove and I love how where you place your hands can be rotated up to 150 degrees which accommodates different positions you may come across shooting. This allows your hand to stay in one position, while the camcorder itself is pointed upwards or downwards prevent strain on your hand.
The HMX10A camcorder has an integrated lens cap but it is not motorized but rather manual in the form of a switch you have to move to open it. Sometimes you’ll forget this fact and the camcorder will tell you to open the lens cover. It would have been nice if the cover was motorized but not a big drawback.
The top portion of the HMX10A has a compartment where you place the battery pack and SD card. Battery life on this unit is rated at around 90 minutes and that seems spot on from my experiences and last much longer than the one I reviewed back with the Samsung SC-DC173 DVD camcorder.
The cradle that comes with the camcorder is great too. It not only functions as a charger base for the camcorder, but also has USB and AV connection so you can transfer your movies to your PC or view the contents on the television via included cables except the HDMI interface.
Talking again about the LCD screen, being a touch screen does make the quality suffer a little bit because of the extra layer on the LCD but colors were good but not the greatest. The colors often time looked like it needed that extra bit of clarity and saturation, but again the touch screen aspect really restricts this from being possible. Video motion is very fast and smooth on this LCD and only slows down in low light situations. The screen has great brightness and works very well outdoors in the sun.
The unit as I said before is a really simple unit which focuses on just filming. It features the same EASY Q mode which I liked on the SC-DC173 DVD camcorder. This function is basically an automatic mode that selects the best white balance and allows the camcorder to record in fluid motions rather than quick shaky movements which allows your footage to look really good and not nauseating to view.
The menu will not reveal a good number of manual capabilities nor does this camera need to be for the average person. It has its different preset scene modes, resolution size you want to record in, white balance presets, anti-shake options, simple digital effects (such as sepia, black and white, negative and art), macro mode which works really nice, focus, shutter, quality, and LED backlight.
You see these are only the options you really need to shoot video. The sole focus of this camera is ease of use and I can say Samsung did a really good job on this front. Anyone who touched this camera knew how to use it because it was simple and did a great job.
How does it really perform?
I really feel the quality of recording to be great. Seriously HD looks fantastic and Samsung takes all the guess work of recording video. Video is sharp, colors are represented well (maybe a little more saturation needed?) and the camera almost always selects the proper white balance. Low light performance is decent because noise becomes an issue with almost any camera in this circumstance. Quality is fair under indoor low lighting conditions but is always manageable. This camcorder totally blows the old Samsung SC-DC173 DVD camcorder I reviewed; destroys it.
I’ve made available a small video taken straight from in camera showing a little bird that was practicing flying for the first time. The mother bird made a nest on top our front door for a couple of weeks, the eggs hatched and here you see the mother watching these little ones trying to fly. This one scared me a little bit at the end since I thought it would come right at me, lol.
You should be able to play this file in Windows Media Player after you have downloaded and installed the K-Lite Codec Pack 3.9.5 Full located here (http://www.free-codecs.com/download/K_lite_codec_pack.htm). Or alternatively you can install VLC player since that plays almost anything out there.
Photo mode has a whole dedicated mode of its own that also allows video recording to an SD card. Still image quality ranges from decent to good depending on how much lighting is available.
I really like the Samsung SC HMX10A high definition camcorder. It’s very simple to use, very comfortable in my hands, and has great HD video recording quality. Lastly the price on this unit is very competitive. Prices in Canada’s Future Shop is $669CAD while a Visions Electronics sell the same very camcorder on sale for $448CAD so it becomes even more attractive for the price. Price match anyone?
Pros and Cons
+ HD quality is great