E-Gear Review: Panasonic VDR-D300
There’s just no need for people to stand around backyard barbecues this summer bragging that they bought the best damn camcorder on the market. It’s like saying they just ate the best piece of fruit on the planet. There are far too many mangos out there for one person to claim they got the pick of the crop. Same with CE products. We’re in a season ripe with diversity and seeded with features. These days, it’s more about what sort of mood you might be in. Passion fruit or rhubarb? And what do you want to make of it, pie or cobbler? My advice is to think through exactly how you will honestly use a camcorder and how patient you are with the editing process. Sure, you can imagine Cannes on the opening night of your gritty rock-u-drama about what it was really like to grow up as a metalhead in Schenectady, but if you’re really more about a quick catch and home-screening of your kid’s first backdive, nothing beats the convenience of Panasonic’s VDR-D300. For ease, it’s a peach.
The VDR-D300 will record directly onto mini-DVDs. (Some formats of these mini-discs, like the DVD-R and DVD-RW, will pop right into your home DVD player and work great. The DVD-RAM discs need to go through your computer, but they do allow for in-camera editing). Here are the upsides of that deal: DVDs won’t crash like solid state media (flash-based memory or hard drives), so you’ve got a permanent record of your memories that you don’t have to back up. Also, mini-DVDs are a cinch to store, easier to carry around than tapes, and not as expensive. The downside is, DVD camera video is compressed to an MPEG format, so the quality isn’t top-notch, especially if you are planning to be editing and transferring files a generation or two more.