Panasonic HC-V500 Camcorder

The HC-V500 is a budget camcorder that its maker Panasonic refer to as an intermediate level device, since, function-wise, it sits in the middle of Panasonic’s range of single sensor camcorders, just above last year’s HDC-SD80 and below that of the upcoming HC-V700. A particular characteristic to note about the HC-V500 is that, for something that is cut off at the budget level, it features settings that are not normally found within its price category. The camcorder features a Hybrid OIS+ optical image stabilization system that is more effective in producing blur-free clips than the electronic systems used by other budget camcorders. Manual settings too are comprehensive on the device and the image quality is decent under most conditions.

Physically, the Panasonic HC-V500 feels strangely light even for a camcorder. This makes it pretty awkward to use the device when trying to get a steady shot. Still its components do feel sturdy, in particular its touch screen hinge and zoom control feel secured. The disadvantage though is that some buttons on the HC-V500 require a solid push before getting them to work. The Panasonic HV-500 features a 3-inch LCD touchscreen, which is said to be around half an inch smaller than the high-end Panasonic HC-X900. However, when it comes to viewing the recording, it does seem sufficient. However, the screen can get particularly unresponsive at times, and the size of the panel makes it hard to access some of the smaller menu icons.


The base specification of the Panasonic HC-V500 is almost unremarkable. It uses a 1/5.8 in CMOS sensor containing just 1.5 megapixels worth of resolution, not enough to match the resolution of the Full HD format it shoots. However, this is what the company refers to as a High Sensitivity sensor. This means that it is a backside illuminated CMOS and thus provides some advantages when shooting under low light conditions. In addition, a discrete button on the camera enables the device to take footages of up to 1080p resolution, which is Full HD plus 50 progressive frames per second, and a bitrate of 28Mbits/sec. Compared to the older models, 50p mode on the HC-V500 doesn’t switch to MP4 but instead still records at AVCHD format. The footages are then stored in a memory card.

As mentioned, the Panasonic HC-V500 places itself above many other budget camcorders in terms of image stabilization. Where most camcorders within a $250 range would rely on electronic systems, the HC-V500 uses Panasonic’s latest Hybrid OIS system, which is able to compensate for roll as well as movement in the X and Y axis. The same system is applied in the company’s higher-end camcorders.

The lens of the Panasonic HC-V500 in addition provides a zoom factor of up to 38x, which translates to around 42x of optical zoom. Using the camcorder’s iZoom system, the zoom is then boosted to up to 50x. Extension of the zoom range typically crops the image electronically but for the case of the HC-V500, the lack of extra pixels make iZoom rather useless since the image that one gets is not as decent as the real 42x optical zoom of the device.

For a budget camcorder, the Panasonic HC-V500 did undergo some trade-offs, and these are evident in terms of the accessories that it can be compatible with. The camcorder unsurprisingly lacks extra features like an accessory shoe or mini jacks for headphones or even an external microphone. There are also only discrete buttons for a few major options including a switch from Intelligent Auto to manual, a button to enable the image stabilization system, and the one for the 1080/50p recording setting. However, it does have some user-configurable settings like a full range of scene modes.

Panasonic HC-V500 Camcorder Price in Singapore Dollar (SGD): Approximately S$ 560.00

You may also like: Panasonic HC-V700 Camcorder

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