CMOS sensor, 320×240, 640×480, 848×480, 1,280×720, 1,440×1,080, 5.0x zoom, 320g
This is a remarkably low price for an HD camcorder, making it cheaper than two of the standard-definition cameras here.
The design is in line with the low price, but it’s comfortable to hold. However, we found the buttons and menus a little confusing, even for basic functions. There’s no lens cover and just a glass window covering the lens, but a soft case is supplied to protect the whole camera. Toshiba also includes an HDMI cable in the box. Battery life is reasonable, but charging took around five hours. The charger plugs into the USB socket, which is awkwardly located if you want to use the camera on mains power.
Video is recorded in H.264 format at 1,440×1,080 pixels per frame, but non-square pixels give it the same widescreen aspect ratio as the other HD cameras. This lower resolution wasn’t a huge loss, though, and in bright light we were impressed by the amount of detail the H20 captured. It fell short of the best HD cameras but showed significant improvements over the SD models and even outperformed Panasonic’s HDC-SD20 and Sony’s HDR-TG3E at times. Colours weren’t great, though, with overblown contrast sometimes obliterating highlights and shadows. Indoors, video was grainy, and in very low light the camera failed to record anything at all.
Our biggest concern is that moving subjects and camera angles resulted in a skewed image. This is a side effect of the way CMOS sensors capture each frame one line at a time (unlike CCDs, which capture the whole image simultaneously). As a result, the bottom of the frame is captured a fraction of a second later than the top, distorting the shape of moving subjects. It’s a problem that was slightly visible on all the HD cameras except Samsung’s VP-HMX20C, but here it was particularly bad.
The H20 should be approached with caution, but if you intend to shoot slow-moving subjects in bright conditions, it’s a good alternative to the standard-definition cameras.
|LCD screen size||3.0in|
|Video recording format||AVC|
|Video recording media||SDHC|
|Sound||AAC 48KHz stereo|
|Video resolutions||320×240, 640×480, 848×480, 1,280×720, 1,440×1,080|
|Maximum image resolution||2,592×1,944|
|Analogue inputs/outputs||AV out, HDMI out|
|Battery type||3.7V 1,000mAh Li-ion|
|Battery life||1h 17m|
|Battery charging position||camcorder|
|Warranty||one year RTB|