Panasonic hdc-hs60

If we return to our original conundrum, we can now add a few answers.

Yes, it is possible to envisage spending this much on a camcorder, as the HS60 admirably demonstrates what the extra outlay delivers.

A zoom as smooth and extended as the HS60's 25x isn't available on pocket-shooters, nor is the flexibility of its manual modes.

And, the quality and capacity of the wide-angle lens not only allows you to cram more in the frame from shorter distances but also helps produce high-definition images worthy of the name.

We liked:

The wide-angle lens, 25x optical zoom and Power optical image stabiliser deliver the platform for the HS60's superb imaging but the real wow factor comes from the images – and that's as it should be.

The 120GB HDD is a fantastic storage solution with the SD-card option providing the backup to ensure you won't be left looking to record but unable to.

Easy to use and comfortable to shoot with, the HS60 never makes you feel like you're struggling to know how best to utilise it. There's even an alternative record button on the frame of the LCD, which is often easier and quicker to access than the main button.

We disliked:

Aside from the weedy video light and the odd extra-press needed on the touchscreen LCD, grumbles are kept to a minimum.

A boost in still image resolution would, perhaps, add a touch of pizzazz to the spec shoot but it's debatable.

Final verdict:

An enjoyable, practical and creative camcorder, and one that proves it is possible to make a mid-range product with wide-ranging appeal and sparkle.

Yes, it is expensive compared to YouTube-style cams but the reality is that it's so much more powerful and versatile than those models that it merits the extra investment – if high-quality images lie at the heart of your movie ambitions.