Panasonic NV-GS35

The Panasonic NV-GS35 is an ordinary MiniDV video camcorder with an extraordinary optical-zoom range.


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The Panasonic NV-GS35 is in most respects a rather ordinary compact camcorder -- until you hit the zoom switch.

With its far-reaching 30X optical zoom, the NV-GS35 offers shooting flexibility that's unprecedented for a camera in its price class. With decent video quality and a good basic set of features, it's an excellent choice for shooting distant subjects.

Design
The Panasonic NV-GS35 is fairly compact. Weighing in at 410g, it's a bit shorter than typical MiniDV cameras, but it's also fairly wide, giving it a portly appearance. Its silver-and-grey shell make for a very generic look, but the thick plastic feels sturdy and solid.

The Panasonic NV-GS35's body has a minimalist set of controls. There are only four buttons -- Quick Start, Menu, Manual Focus and Light -- as well as the mode dial, and the record, photo-capture, power and zoom controls.


Most controls on the camera are clustered at the upper-right rear corner.

You use a tiny joystick in the centre of the mode dial to navigate menus and control playback. This has the advantage of offering true one-handed operation, as virtually all the controls are accessible with your right thumb. However, precise playback control is difficult with the joystick, so you'll want to keep the included infrared remote handy.


The zoom toggle and the photo-capture button fall under your right index finger.

The menu system is a real improvement over those on earlier generations of Panasonic camcorders, both in appearance and ease of navigation. However, the tiny icons used for some of the manual settings will send you scurrying for the manual, as they lack text labels. Otherwise, the menus are clear and easy to use.


With this switch on the side of the camera, you can choose between fully automatic operation, manual focus and a mode that provides access to some manual controls.

One bizarre engineering decision is the placement of the S-Video connector behind the battery along with the external power connector. You have to remove the battery and plug the camera into AC power in order to output via S-Video.

The camera's slightly above-average width is probably due to the design of the MiniDV eject mechanism, which opens to the top of the camera. This lets you swap tapes without removing the camera from a tripod.

Features
The Panasonic NV-GS35's feature set offers everything you'd expect from a camera in its price range. It provides a full set of automatic controls for focus, exposure, and white balance as well as an above-average suite of manual controls. You can manually adjust focus, iris, white balance, shutter speed, and (unusual in this affordable a camcorder) gain.


The Panasonic NV-GS35 records video on MiniDV cassettes. In addition, there's an SD/MMC slot under the LCD for saving low-res still images.

Of course, the most impressive feature is the lens, which offers a full 30X optical-zoom range. Note that the lowest end of the zoom range offers a wider angle than you typically find on cameras in this class, giving you more shooting flexibility for close subjects as well as distant ones.

Other features include a simple fader, backlight compensation, a skin-texture-softening mode, and a colour slow-shutter setting. The camera has a rather weak built-in video light as well. Five automatic scene settings include sports and portrait modes. There's also a wide-screen cinema mode.

The Panasonic NV-GS35 includes USB and FireWire connectors as well as S-Video and composite outputs. It lacks an S-Video input, so you can't use the camera to convert analog videos to digital format. There's a microphone port for connecting an external mic, but you'll have to either hold it in your hand or buy a bracket, since there's no accessory shoe on which to mount it.

Performance
Though the Panasonic NV-GS35's extreme lens reach must have presented some engineering challenges, the camera performs well throughout its zoom range. The large zoom rocker is easy to operate and to control precisely. Image stabilisation is a must at extreme zoom ranges, and the NV-GS35's electronic image stabilisation (EIS) does an excellent job of dampening hand movements. At extreme zoom ranges, though, the EIS creates an odd effect: instead of seeming to wobble a bit, as is typical, the image makes sudden, small shifts.

We generally found autofocus accurate but sometimes saw a noticeable blurring as the camera got its bearings after panning.


Battery life is excellent, providing more than two hours on a single charge.

The smallish 2.5-inch LCD washes out in direct sunlight; you'll want to use the viewfinder in bright conditions. Neither display is particularly detailed, making precise manual focusing somewhat difficult.

The stereo microphone works well, though the left and right pickups are so close they always grab identical sound. The microphone also has a zoom feature: as you zoom the lens, the microphone's sensitivity increases to pick up more distant sounds.

The Panasonic NV-GS35's video quality is good but not exemplary. The footage we shot was sharper and more detailed than we'd expect from a camera with a single 680,000-pixel CCD. We found colour and saturation very accurate. The automatic white balance was quick to adjust to changing lighting conditions and never let us down during our testing.

In bright light, footage was crisp and sharp. In dimmer indoor conditions, the image picked up the visual noise typical in lower-end consumer camcorders. The NV-GS35's included video light wasn't a lot of help here. It has a very short range and is mostly useful for illuminating very close subjects.

Footage shot at extreme zoom showed an odd shifting effect due to the electronic image stabilisation. Objects didn't really move any more than with similar EIS systems on other cameras, but the sudden shifts were somewhat disconcerting compared to the more subtle wobble you typically get when using image stabilisation.

The Panasonic NV-GS35 shoots stills at VGA resolution, so it's mostly useful for quick e-mail snapshots. One slick feature is the ability to capture stills to the SD/MMC card while shooting video. Stills lacked detail, however, and indoor shots appeared grainy.

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vinish nigam
8
Rating
 

vinish nigam posted a review   

better then other quality,picture vice,price vice

saurav
10
Rating
 

saurav posted a review   

Perfect and NICE

sexy
9
Rating
 

sexy posted a review   

The Good:Good image quality.
Zoom.
Good colours and contrast.
Sound.

The Bad:Shaky images at great zoom.
Stills poor.

Highly recommended.

Venkatesh
7
Rating
 

"Maybe its good value for money..but..,"

Venkatesh posted a review   

The Good:1. Zoom
2. Easy to use
3. Sturdy
4. Value for Money

The Bad:1. Sub standard video quality - indoors

I own the nv-gs27 which is pretty much the same optics and base engine without a few ancillaries like Remote, S-video, light, color lcd and software. I paid a lot less for the nv-gs27 considering that i can live without what is not available with the nv-gs27. I bought it mainly to shoot movies of my new born daughter. That puts my shooting grounds firmly indoors and often lamp lit conditions.
Under the circumstances, my picture quality is only acceptable. I'm having a problem only with the noise specs that bring down the overall video quality. Otherwise color reproduction,optics and voice are superb.
I would still recommend to anyone if you dont miss the ancillaries go for the nv-gs27
Tried it outdoors, again not DVD quality. See we have been spoiled by all the DVD movies and television videos we see. hmm setting lofty standards does not help budget buys :) i know its asking for too much :)




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User Reviews / Comments  Panasonic NV-GS35

  • vinish nigam

    vinish nigam

    Rating8

    "better then other quality,picture vice,price vice"

  • saurav

    saurav

    Rating10

    "Perfect and NICE"

  • sexy

    sexy

    Rating9

    "Highly recommended."

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