Ease of use: 4/5. Great to handle and use. Some users will like the touch-screen controls, although it's not such a good thing when recording.

Features: 4/5. Excellent all-round features. Could do with 25P to match rivals like the Canon HV20, however.

Picture performance: 3/5. Images are excellent in optimum lighting, but tend to drop off in lower lighting.

Sound performance: 4/5. No noticeable problems with stereo sound indoors and outdoors. Slight bumping when light wind hits the mic .

Value for money: 4/5. Good all-round value for money for the first time buyer or upgrader. Lack of 25P will deter some buyers, however.

Conclusion

The HC7 is an excellent camcorder for anyone looking for comprehensive connectivity and ease of use, not to mention very good full-spec HD shooting. However, the lack of 25P will deter those users wishing to maximise the potential of large-screen LCD displays.