1/6in CCD sensor, PAL, 34.0x zoom, 270g
The VP-MX20 is the cheapest camcorder here, but it feels like a serious camera rather than a novelty gadget. The bulbous design looks smart and durable, and the swivelling handgrip makes it easier to shoot from waist height.
There are a few signs of cost-cutting, however. The buttons look a little cheap and the zoom moves at a fixed rate rather than speeding up the harder it’s pressed. There’s no photo capture mode, but photos from the other two standard-definition cameras are mostly poor so this isn’t much of a criticism in practice. We were impressed to see the full complement of manual shutter speed, aperture (labelled exposure) and focus controls. They’re included on the other standard-definition models, too, but they’re unusual in such an inexpensive camera. Battery life is excellent, lasting just short of three hours.
Video is recorded in H.264 format, which gives better quality at low bit rates than the MPEG2 format used by Canon’s and Panasonic’s standard-definition cameras. This allows the MX20 to fit 200 minutes of top-quality video on an 8GB SDHC card. The quality of this video is much better than we expected at this price, with details that were closer to Canon’s pricy FS200 than Panasonic’s disappointing SDR-S26.
There were a few issues, such as occasional colour casts from the automatic white balance, and the electronic stabilisation wasn’t as effective as Canon’s electronic or Panasonic’s optical stabilisation. Contrast was also a little weak, making areas of black appear grey, but this was easy to fix in editing software.
The soundtrack was bass-heavy and processed to make everything sound as loud as possible. This could be flattering for speech, especially when played back at a quiet level on a TV, but it also exaggerated background noises and made music sound boomy.
The VP-MX20 isn’t perfect, but at this price it’s ideal for anyone who wants something simple for uploading to YouTube or watching on a standard-definition TV.
|LCD screen size
|Video recording format
|Video recording media
|AAC 24KHz Stereo
|Maximum image resolution
|7.4V 850mAh Li-ion
|Battery charging position
|one year RTB