The Panasonic HC-V700 has some really stand out features to remind you that smartphones and small Sony Bloggie-style cameras can't do everything a bigger unit can.
With its wide-angle lens, massive zoom and image stabilisation, it's easy to see the technological advantages of the HC-V700.
Unfortunately, it proved to be only competent at actual image quality, and at £450, that inevitably knocks it down from being an essential purchase.
The zoom and image stabilisation are both massively impressive, but even more so in combination with each other. Under normal circumstances, it'll mean it's difficult to miss getting a great shot from distance.
The iA system also works really well, and you'll rarely have to put in any effort to get the white balance or focus correct.
And most of all, motion is handled just brilliantly. Video is totally smooth, and the high bitrates mean there's little artefacting, even in fast pans. And it's always nice to be able to have some slow motion without impacting image quality.
The sad fact is that the image quality isn't quite up to where we'd expect it to be for the price. Colours aren't as vibrant as we'd like, detail can be hit and miss, and there's often digital noise in solid colours.
That it suffered from overexposing whites didn't help, and we should note that the built-in microphone isn't up to much either (though the removable shoe means you can fix this).
The price probably wouldn't be a sticking point if the image quality was killer, but it isn't, so it's not an easy sell at almost £500 RRP.
The Panasonic HC-V700 isn't a bad camera by any means, but we were a little disappointed by its image quality in the long run – we just wanted a bit more from it.
But that doesn't detract from what it offers that cheaper units don't. Excellent quality in capturing motion, brilliant image stabilisation and a positively decadent zoom level mean this unit absolutely deserves consideration, but only if the price sits well with you.