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Old August 2nd, 2003, 01:10 PM   #16
Major Player
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Yokohama, Japan
Posts: 366
first impressions

I finally got my GS100 so here some impressions after first real use.

I really like the effort Pana made to make this cam more compact and in the same time better than the model it replaces. Itís still feels bigger than what Iíve used till now (first generation Sony TRV) mainly because of its Ďfatterí body.
The other limitation of the small size is less attachment options.

Handling and operation is very easy and placement of controls is perfect. I find difficult to do handheld in full zoom Ė with my best effort and OIS on I have still shake. Also if you are not careful enough pressing the record start/stop button imposes shake. Zoom control is above my expectations Ė you can quickly find the way to do medium-speed zooms (very slow and fastest possible are easy with any cam).
Battery life on the other hand is below my expectations. I knew it will be low Ė but just using the cam for less than hour, half time with the viewfinder took everything from the supplied one. It stayed in quick start mode for half day Ė this might drain batteries as well.

Iím a bit disappointed you canít control the shutter in the range 1/8 to 1/60. It would be perfect if we had the choice of 1/30 and 1/15. In color night view mode though if there is more light the shutter speed obtained 1/15 automatically. Pity again you canít do that manually.

Day light images are very sharp and vivid. Average light room is decent but not totally satisfactory. Noise is less than on MX5000 I suppose. The problem is that in auto the gain is raised up usually to 9 or 12 Ė at this level there is visible noise but not very heavy and flakes are quite small. If you do it manually keeping the gain closer to 0 the image is a bit too darkĖ again if we had 1/30! In all cases the color was very good even with auto white balance. 0 Lux night view is good for sleeping babies but you need to be very steady as the shutter is down to 1/4 and even small shake makes jerky motions.

Mike has good presence in stereo mode. Not so good in zoom mode Ė when zooming in the volume level is increased but the sides are not cut entirely and the effect was not very good. It raises the ambient noise and the source you are aiming at is still not well audible.

Oh and about the stills Ė Iím impressed. I havenít seen them yet in PC or on paper but for video cam or second digital still camera itís great (giving you full 10x zoom!). The flash also does great job.

To summarize:
What I like is: Great video quality, good stills, good sound, great design, control and ergonomics.

Dislike: Battery eater, batteries expensive compared to older model or other brands for the power, low-resolution poor viewfinder, mic input shared with the wired remote, OIS not so effective in the full telephoto zoom range
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