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194 of 198 found the following review helpful:
Wonderful camcorder. May 27, 2010
By J. J. Marino
Watch Video Here: http://www.amazon.com/review/RWQIQMP56NV75 This is my video review of the Samsung H200 Full HD Camcorder.
All video was shot with either my MinoHD or the Samsung H200. The video review notes when the changeover happens.
I was pleasantly surprised at the overall quality of this camcorder. First off I used to work around large guns while in the Navy. I have some hearing loss. I did not hear a single whine as mentioned in other reviews. I asked my wife who has no hearing loss and she heard no whine while it was operating. I can only assume they fixed that issue as mentioned in the other reviews.
It is significantly better than the Flip MinoHD Camcorder 2nd Generation, 2 Hours (Brushed Metal), although its more like oranges and nectarines with that comparison. But, its the only other real HD camcorder I have to compare it to. That being said it is 1080i and not 1080p. I know there are purists out there that insist that an HD camcorder should be 1080p, and yes that is partially true. I do throw this in for consideration that a camcorder with a higher pricetag should be that level and not one geared towards every day use such as this camcorder.
Ease of use +
This camera has very few buttons. I think they took a page from Apple's book with regard to having a simplistic interface. There is complexity to the interface but it is within the touch screen. The touch screen is more like an ATM type of touch screen and not like an iPod Touch screen. Its very easy to use and with generous button pushes the camera responds well. I love being able to pop out the SD card, plug it in my adapter and copy the already encoded H.264 video over to my iMac. It saves me literally hours of compression/re-compression hooha that I really never enjoyed.
It captures the smallest noises from birds chirping far away to leaves rustling. Each sound channel is distinct and well rendered on the final product. I did voice over on the video during the H200 recordings because my kids and dog decided to have a screamfest at the point I was outside recording.
Component Connection AV +
I connected it to my VIZIO HD 1080p LCD HDTV via the AV interface. It was crisp and looked fantastic. Sure it was not 1080p but honestly I couldn't tell. I come from a generation that used to have shoulder mounted VHS camcorders to lug around. This is so good I would almost think its broadcast quality, at least on a 720 channel.
Features not tested:
I did not test the time lapse video yet. I plan on making a video with this to record an outside scene. Once I do that I will post where to watch it here, as I cannot have 2 video reviews up. I did not use HDMI because the output is a smaller HDMI and I did not have one handy.
Get a class 10 SD Card. Dont mess around with lower quality cards when the video needs speed not only to record but also to transfer. The costs of class 10 are not that bad these days. Here is one to have a peek at:SanDisk 8GB Extreme SDHC Class 10 High Performance Memory Card
The mailbox is about 200 yards up the road not 500. Also, the ports on the bottom are outputs and or inputs. This camera does not have HDMI input.
Thanks for watching and reading my review. Please post any comments or suggestions. I will do my best to answer them.
87 of 89 found the following review helpful:
Great Camcorder - easily worth the investment May 10, 2010
By K. New
I purchased this camera and have been using it for several weeks. The hi-pitched ringing that others complain about is imperceptible to me - even in a zero-ambient noise environment. This is an electronic device, so you might hear a soft hum under very quiet circumstances, but just about every camcorder does that... But I can't hear anything worth complaining about. I am using fast class 10 SDHC card, so maybe that makes a difference.
I am a former broadcast news videographer with a few Emmy's tucked away in my closet - so I should have some credibility with this review. I was not looking for a pro camera. I was looking for a good quality, affordable, HD camera to record my growing family. I love my Samsung HDTV and refrigerator, so I decide to give their camcorders a shot. Bottom line: This is a great, inexpensive HD camcorder, which easily fits my requirements. And at a cost of $297 out the door (I got a good price + another $97 for the SDHC card) it is hard to beat. Can it compare with a 3-chip prosumer camera costing thousands? No... and Yes. No, the lower-cost components don't compete equally with higher cost components - and they are not meant to. But yes, in that all things being equal, a good shooter with this Samsung will shoot the socks off of an average shooter using any high-end camera. No camera, no matter how expensive, can compensate for poor shooting skills. A good shooter with this Samsung can do great things.
Some people complain about blurred or ghost images when shooting in very low-light with this camera. Here are a couple of suggestions: make sure the electronic image stabilization is turned off (this can lead to image blurring in low light), don't zoom in (which lets in less light), use a class 10 SDHC card... and the most obvious - throw some light on your subject! Really, if it's too dark to shoot then don't shoot. Or at least accept the lower quality video - low-light means low-quality, which is why the pros travel with a light kit and take the time to light properly. This is video, not film. I also shoot on 720p, which seems to produce the most consistent results in a variety of lighting and motion conditions.
Now, some specifics... this camera is small and light. It can feel a little flimsy (especially the flip out screen) and the touch screen is not the most responsive, but I am getting used to it. I wish it had a mic jack, manual audio and better manual focus controls. I wish it had a separate, shielded view-finder in addition to the 2.7 inch touch screen - especially since it is hard to see in bright sunlight. I wish the shutter speed went as low as 1/30th of a second (instead of just 1/60th) which would let in more light under lower light conditions. But I guess all those features would make the camera cost more as well. The built in editing software is a nice touch and is good enough for basic editing, including some nice effects. This should be fine because the golden rule for editing is "less is more." I am having a problem launching clips directly from this program for viewing and trimming - but I can do so while editing. This makes managing clips more difficult and may be a compatibility issue. Regardless, I will need to buy a dedicating editing package which is disappointing since basic editing is all that I need to do and I should be able to use the bundled package, but can't.
On the upside, it has a 20x optical zoom, is easy to hold steady, has great video quality, has long-battery life (since it not spinning a hard drive, which should also make it more durable), powers-up fast, has built in editing features, is an easy point-and-shoot camera for family use, has robust manual controls even if you have to dig around a little, has "touch point" focus to focus anywhere just by touching the screen and a cool time-lapse shooting feature. And since I travel often, one of my favorite features is that you can charge this camera via the USB cable - which is perfect for me. The freedom to ditch the AC charger while traveling is a huge advantage and makes me more mobile. In all, Samsung put some very thoughtful features in this little camera for the shooter on the go. I highly recommend it and am very pleased with my purchase. Update - here's a quick video of my son's track day at school, shot off hand on 720p, but compressed for utube: [...]
88 of 92 found the following review helpful:
Has potential but poor quality control makes it a gamble Sep 11, 2010
By M. Erb
The Samsung HMX-H200 series of digital camcorders (HMX-200, HMX-203, HMX-204, HMX-205) provide a robust set of features in an increasingly crowded field of similarly sized camcorders in the under $500 price range. The only difference between the different Samsung models is the amount of onboard internal memory. They all have an SD card slot but other than the HMX-200, the other models offer internal memory as well. The HMX-203 has 8GB, HMX-H204 has 16GB and the H205 has a whopping 32GB of memory.
There are probably as many shortcomings with the camcorder as there are pluses, so let's get started.
I actually purchased the HMX-H205 but since the various H200 series camcorders are identical except for the built-in memory, I decided to post my review to what will be the more widely purchased H200 model. My observations pertain to all of the H200 series camcorders.
The camcorder comes with a composite video cable, a USB cable, AC power adapter, battery and the camcorder itself. For best viewing on a flat-screen TV you'll need to purchase a mini-HDMI to HDMI cable since it is not included.
If you are buying this camcorder sight unseen, that is you've never handled one in a store, you may be surprised, as I was, at how small and light this device actually is. It's extremely light which is not necessarily a good thing because that lightness makes it a bit difficult to keep steady. I know that sounds counter-intuitive but I find it to be true. So it is a good thing that this camcorder has image stabilization which definitely helps but more so at wide angle and minimal zoom. At higher zoom, the helpful effect is diminished to the point of being quite ineffective.
The H205 has a lens that gives you a good amount of wide-angle (37mm) compared to other camcorders and also provides a very useable optical zoom of 20x. Add in the digital zoom and you've got quite a powerful zoom on this camcorder. When you use a tripod, be sure to turn image stabilization off when zooming in all the way, it is really amazing how you can bring distant objects in to view. Of course when you zoom in that tightly, hand-held jitters are magnified greatly so that's why using a tripod is essential since image stabilization has little effect when zoomed in all the way.
The camcorder provides HD video in two flavors, 1920 x 1080/60i & 1280 x 720/60p. I'll let the technicians debate the differences between 60i and 60p (interlaced vs progressive). Let's just say that for an under $400 camcorder the video quality is stunning, particularly if this is your first camcorder or if you are upgrading from an older SD camcorder. I find that video recorded at 1280/60p are just fine for my use and appreciably extends the recording time of my HMX-H205.
A feature that I really enjoy with this camcorder is that Samsung has combined the video and photo function. You do not need to switch out of video mode to get into Photo mode in order to capture still images. Simply depress the "Photo" button, located on the top of the camera just to the right of the zoom control, and the camcorder will capture a still image (even when you are recording video.) Very slick and eliminates the need to switch in and out of video mode in order to grab a still shot. You can even capture a still shot from video already captured by depressing the "Photo" button during video playback. Some have complained about the photo resolution of this camcorder but my feeling is that this is primarily a camcorder that also happens to take still photos. It is not a dedicated still frame camera. Even so, it does take respectable photos at 2880 x 1620 resolution ( 4.7 Megapixel JPEG photos ). I think that's great for what this is... a camcorder that can also take fairly decent stills.
There are two zoom controls, one on the top of the camera body, the other on the left edge of the LCD panel. The control on the top of the camera offers a variable speed zoom but the "throw" is very short and it is therefore difficult to smoothly transition into a zoom regardless if you want a slow or fast zoom speed. If you are very gentle you can do a slow zoom but it requires practice. The zoom on the LCD panel offers only one zoom speed, but it is a slower zoom that may be preferable in many instances. I found myself using it more often than not.
Focusing the camcorder is accomplished in one of three ways. Auto Focus is probably your best bet most of the time. It works pretty well in many situations. In certain situations though it may have a hard time finding the proper focus point in which case you have two other options... you can use what Samsung calls "manual" focus or "touch-point" focus. In manual focus, additional icons representing close and far appear. By touching either one with you finger you can "manually" adjust the focus. But you have to rely on what you can see in the LCD which as I mentioned earlier, can be quite difficult in bright light. For me, I am always overshooting the focus point and have to go back and forth before I can achieve sharp focus. This may improve with practice, but I'm doubtful. The final option is the "touch-point" focus which is kind of interesting. In this mode you touch your finger on the LCD in the area that you want to be the focus point. The camera does it's best to achieve focus using the area you touched. It works pretty well and is useful when you want to get more creative with having shallower depth of field.
The camera also gives you some control over aperture, shutter speed, white balance and EV (exposure value) using the touch screen as the input.
The built-in editing software, Intelli-studio, (PC only, MACS not supported) works better than I was expecting. First of all the camcorder itself offers some rudimentary editing functions. This proves to be extremely helpful to edit the very beginning or end of a clip to remove that little bit of camera shake that you often get when you have to shift your hand to begin or end recording. You can also use the in-camera editing to split a clip. I found this intuitive and helpful. Additionally you can combine 2 clips into one... how cool is that?
You can also use the Intelli-studio software provided in the camera which can be run on your PC. This gives you additional photo/video management and editing capabilities, including the ability to create photo slideshows with some of the coolest transitions I've seen in editing software. They put some thought into these effects and I really liked them. The software also makes it very easy to upload your videos to YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, etc. You can also copy and transfer videos and photos using Intelli-studio.
The camcorder has an OK built-in microphone. Similar to most camcorders in this price range, there is no capability to use an external mic. Nor is there a headphone jack, but there is a built-in speaker that provides some sound... not great but enough to check that you've got audio and enough to enable you to hear the sound in video in quieter environments.
Battery life with the included battery gives me just about 2 hours of recording time. I've also got the larger battery Samsung IA-BP420E - Camcorder battery Li-Ion 4200 mAh which gives me much more recording time.
Another feature I find valuable are the "guidelines" that can be displayed on the LCD during recording or photo taking. There are several to choose from, either a crosshairs with safety zone on margins, a quadrant or a thirds grid. Depending on what you're shooting the grids can be very helpful in framing your shots.
I'm saving the best feature (at least for me) for last and that is the Time Lapse mode. This is a really really cool mode that enables you to take time lapse video. In effect you compress hours into minutes by using this mode. You select the interval that frames are captured, in seconds (every 1, 3 or 5 seconds ) and over what period of time (24, 48 or 72 hours). For instance if you wanted to take a time lapse video of clouds, you could set the camcorder to take one frame every 1 second. You usually will want to use the AC adapter for time lapse recording and a tripod. If you record for 3hours, your resulting time lapse video will be 3 minutes long using the settings I described. It's very cool what you can do with this mode.
The LCD is very glossy. Consequently there is a lot of glare on the screen in certain situations which makes it difficult to see. For instance in brightly lit situations such as outside on a bright sunny day or inside when there are bright lights behind you which are reflecting on the LCD display. The glossy LCD screen also gets covered in fingerprints really easily. The LCD is a touchscreen and it is by way of the touchscreen that the various menu options are accessed. Therefore you will get fingerprints on the screen all the time and in conjunction with the glare, you will be constantly cleaning the screen.
Concerning the touch-screen, it is not the most responsive screen but it's better than others I have used. A firm but not too firm touch is needed to select menu options on the screen.
I ran into an intermittent problem with my HMX-H205 necessitating that I have it replaced. The problem I experienced is that the camera would display an error on the LCD to "Check Lens Cover" when the camcorder was turned on. Of course this is expected if the lens cover (which is manually operated) is still in the closed position when you turn on your camera. The problem is that when I opened the lens cover, the LCD screen remained blank except for the overlaid textual information. No image of whatever the camcorder was pointed at was being displayed on the LCD. IT was as if the lens cover were still closed even though it was open. This happened intermittently and when it happened, it did not matter if I flicked the lens cover open and closed repeatedly or not. Sometimes I would turn the camera on and off several times too and the error and blank screen persisted.
When I called Samsung tech support, they were unable to offer any fix or suggestion other than to say that the camera was defective and that I should send it in for repair. I returned the camera to Amazon for replacement and that brings me to the next problem... the replacement camcorder had numerous fibers INSIDE the lens assembly. These were big enough fibers that I could not believe what I saw. And since they were inside the lens assembly, there was no way to blow them out or remove them. So I'm sending that camcorder back to Amazon as well. I have posted a photo of the fibers in the customer images gallery at the top of the product page for the H200.
Bottom line is that this is a low-priced camcorder with an interesting feature set that just didn't work out too well for me. Samsung quality control, from what I experienced, is not very good. My experience with their technical support was also very poor. I used both their Online Live Chat as well as telephone technical support. In both instances the technician was ill-equipped to offer any suitable suggestions or solutions.
The camcorder feels a bit flimsy to me and I did compare it to several others in stores, notably the Canon FS300 Canon FS300 Flash Memory Camcorder (Silver) - 2010 MODEL (which felt slightly more substantial and better built) and a couple Sony models. Other camcorders to consider are the Sanyo VPC-FH1A Sanyo VPC-FH1A Full HD Video and 8 MP Digital Photos (Black) which offers slow-motion mode and some other notable features.
The ports for USB, mini-HDMI and video are not accessible unless the LCD screen has been flipped open. This is a big disadvantage. If you wish to charge your battery via USB (which is a great feature) you need to leave the LCD screen open so that you can access the USB port. This is awkward and invites disaster due to the possibility of damage to the screen. It would also be desirable to be able to hook up the AV or HDMI cable to enable viewing on a TV without having to have the LCD flipped open.
Based on my experience with two defective Samsung H205 camcorders, I cannot give this more than a 2 star rating and that's being generous. The features don't really matter if the quality and reliability isn't there. If I hadn't had such a horrendous experience with the problems I had I'd consider giving this camcorder 4 stars for what it offers in this price range. But Samsung has to earn that mark and form my experience they have not earned it. My third camcorder is on the way and if it proves to be trouble-free, I'll update my review as well as my stars, but for now this is only a 2-star product.
UPDATE: 11/30/2010 - I was intrigued by the prospect of using a wide angle lens on this camcorder by means of a step-up ring. Since the camcorder appeared to have threads in the lens body, I assumed that I could just get a step-up ring and use a wide angle lens that I had been using on an older miniDV Sony camcorder that I had. Unfortunately I learned (by calling Samsung when I could not get the step-up ring to mesh with the threads properly) that the threads are a non-standard size and in fact are -not- designed to allow a user to add a lens or even a filter onto the camcorder. This is just not right. Using an appropriate filter can help you get dramatic footage of clouds, for instance, and allow you to do other creative things. This is yet another reason why this camcorder is not as good as it could be.
UPDATE: 12/1/2010 - I'm a big fan of the Eye-Fi WiFi cards and use them in my digital cameras. I bought a new 8GB Pro X2 Eye-Fi card intending to use it with the HMX-H205. I was greatly disappointed to discover that the Samsung camcorder is not compatible with the Eye-Fi cards and they will not work in the camcorder. Yet another disappointment with the Samsung H205.
12 of 12 found the following review helpful:
Outstanding value and video quality Aug 17, 2010
~ Small, compact, and light. Almost too small. Large hands would find it awkward to hold if it weren't so lightweight. Button layout (record/zoom/photo) is very well placed and easy to use.
~ Data port covers. All ports have hinged plastic doors instead of a rubber boot/cap. In my experience rubber parts tend to wear out or get lost so I prefer the plastic door.
~ Built in manual lens cover. A simple switch opens the lens cover and you never have to worry about losing it. I prefer manual over automatic as it allows me to leave the lens cover closed while I am viewing videos, transferring files, or charging the battery via USB.
~ Time Lapse. I have only played around with this but it looks intriguing. It's not an option that swayed my decision to buy this camcorder, but it's pretty cool nonetheless.
~ Reversible LCD screen. Like most screens this one folds out and has the ability to rotate so the person being filmed can view the screen. This one can also be folded back into the camcorder in that position so the screen is still visible with the screen closed against the camcorder. This allows you to record without having the camera in such a vulnerable open position. It's a nice touch that shows they're paying attention to small details.
~ Optical image stabilization. The OIS performs extremely well at regular zoom. Performance drops as you zoom of course, but is still well above anything else in the budget category.
~ Video quality. This records in 3 modes: standard definition, 720p high definition, and 1080i high definition. Since data storage is cheap I set the camera to 1080i and SuperFine and left it there. After filming I plugged it into my 50" projection TV. I was pleasantly surprised to find the interior low light performance (the bane of almost all camcorders) was good. However the interior well lit and outside daylight videos were amazing.
~ There is no harddrive. You cannot record without a SD or SDHC card. If you're like me you have several laying around so it's no problem. The lack of harddrive means the unit is lighter, uses less battery power, has fewer things to go wrong, and more importantly is cheaper.
~ There is no harddrive. You cannot record without a SD or SDHC card. Furthermore, not just any card will do. Class 10 is the manufacture's suggested speed. If you don't have one laying around prepare to drop another $50 or so.
~ Not a lot of manual image control. If you are planning on setting it on "auto" and recording your family reunion or kid's games you won't ever need better control. However more experience users who are creating art will be disappointed with the lack of control. Honestly though, those who require more control than this camcorder offers really shouldn't be looking at budget camcorders.
~ Still images are not great. This camcorder allows you take still pictures while recording video but the resulting still images are nothing to write home about. It's a nice feature, but anyone who has a digital camera or high end phone can get at least the same results or better. Also the software easily lets you extract still images from your videos, so there's really no point in this function. I'd rather they remove this feature altogether and shave some more $ off the already bargain price.
~ The zoom control lever could use some improvement. While it is variable and allows for fast or slow zooming, it is not easy to control smoothly. The second zoom control (rocker switch on the LCD door) is a fixed speed and is so slow that I can't envision ever using it.
~ The LCD screen is bright, but like all exposed screens in direct sunlight, it can become impossible to see. While I'm glad to see they left a viewfinder out to save money, they need to go ahead and include a small detachable hood for the screen. It's a minor issue, but one that the entire industry seems reluctant to admit and correct.
~ The AV, HDMI, and USB ports are located so that you cannot close the LCD screen while any of those cables are plugged in. It's no a big deal for the AV & HDMI since you're watching it when those are plugged in so the screen would need to be open anyway. However if you are just using the USB port to recharge the camcorder you are forced to leave the screen in the vulnerable open position for hours.
~ The battery can only be charged while it is on the camcorder. There is no way to recharge a battery while recording with another one. This wouldn't matter if there were a battery pack adapter that allowed you to use AA or AAA batteries, but Samsung does not offer one. If you want to record more than 2 consecutive hours you have 2 options; plug this into a wall or have an extra battery already charged. Going on a weekend getaway with no electricity? You had better buy and pre-charge a battery for every 2 hours of recording time you want. At about $50 per spare battery it can get expensive quick. This is a severe oversight and the only reason this does not get a 5 star review from me.
It appears with this camcorder Samsung tried to carve out the "budget HD" niche. By shaving features here and there they managed to produce a camcorder that has incredible bang for the buck. The basics that they settled on are anything but basic at the price point they are offering. This camcorder gives you the ability to record in 1080i HD, optical image stabilization, 20x optical zoom, and a 2 hour battery for a best in class price.
Not only does this package perform exceptionally well as a camcorder for the entry level HD market, I can't help but think it helps put the nail in the coffin of standard definition camcorders. HD technology made SD obsolete, but cheap prices kept SD camcorders relevant. The comparable low cost and untouchable performance of this Samsung HD camcorder finally shoves SD camcorders over the edge into the graveyard of electronics past.
9 of 9 found the following review helpful:
camcorder that fits the purpose Jul 14, 2010
I did a lot of research before getting this camcorder, comparing with Sony, Canon, Panasonic, Sanyo and JVC products in the market. There is no other camcorder that provides the same video capabilities in the price range, other camcorders with same level of video quality and optical image stabilization would cost at least $200-$300 more.
Excellent video quality, good color reproduction, ease of use, small size, Optical stabilization works very well
You do not have a great level of control over settings.
Some issues with focusing on a subject against a busy background
A separate note on low light: looking at all the consumer level camcorders in the market, there is hardly a camera that will perform exceptionally well in low light, you either need to increase the light or avoid taking videos.
I used this for some indoor videos in average light and some concert videos which came out fairly well, so overall I am satisfied.
My need for this camcorder was to record family events and I am quite satisfied with what its delivered. for more advanced needs this may not be the camcorder.
Best results I got was with 720p and 60 fps
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