Once you've had a chance to play around with the Panasonic HDC-TM10 it doesn't take you long to want one. Thanks to all the automatic aids, shooting HD video is close to effortless, whether you're tackling wide-angled landscape shots, macro photography or fast-moving action. The auto focus can cope with anything you throw at, recalibrating speedily when you shift from distance shots to close-ups.
There's also a clever pre-record mode that keeps 3 seconds of video in a buffer. This ensures that you never miss some important action because you were too slow to press the record button. We've all been there...
STORAGE: swap SD cards in an instant with the top-loading card slot
And when you're done, you can view your handiwork on your telly (using either HDMI, component or composite cables) and the HDC-TM10 supports VIERA Link if you have a compatible Panasonic set. Otherwise, you can hook up a DVD drive and dump video directly to disc or print photos directly from the camcorder to a PictBridge-friendly printer
The footage is crisp and clear, especially if you use the highest quality recording setting.
The 1920x1080 pixel resolution on the HDC-TM10 can deliver some truly stunning pictures with good colour balance and crisp definition.
In fact, the only things that affect what you video are your skill with the 16x zoom, your steady (or not so steady) hand and what you're actually filming.
You'll get better results with fast-moving objects if you don't compromise on the video mode you use.
Plug the HDC-TM10 into a PC using the mini-USB cable and you can obviously copy your photos and video off directly. Video footage is encoded in the AVCHD format as .MTS files. Panasonic supplies its fiddly HD Writer software for content management, plus basic editing and conversion.
Niggles? It's difficult to find many faults with the HDC-TM10 beyond its sluggish software. We could point out that the microphone doesn't always give you a clear audio track to go with the fantastic HD video. Its location on the top of the camcorder (rather than the front) can be an issue and there's no dedicated mic input. But this is really nit-picking for the sake of it. Overall the sound quality is good, especially if you're filming indoors.