Life as an HD Camcorder
The SC-HMX10A seems to work best if you let it do its thing. What I mean by that is that although Samsung has tried to please the intermediate camcorder user, the manual functions like the focus (imagine peck, peck, pecking at a touchscreen to get the focus right...tedious) and white balance are far to cumbersome to put into practical use. I had the most luck just setting it to auto and letting the camcorder decide what to do and it did well, producing some very nice high definition video. The Q. Menu button does try to put these types of functions more at your fingertips, but it's clear that this machine wasn't meant to be driven in manual. In fact, the EasyQ button on the back of the camcorder dumbs down the machine even further, giving full control to the camcorder. All you do is point and shoot.
In the highest quality HD mode, you're looking at a measly 44 minutes of footage on the internal 4GB's of storage. However, switching it to SD mode, you'll get a full 133 minutes of footage. You can decrease the quality of the HD video to get a few more minutes of footage while maintaining the same resolution. I found little difference between the different HD modes so I would opt to use the lowest quality setting to get more minutes of recording time.
Because sometimes you want to record something for YouTube in SD, it's nice to be able to tell the difference between the two formats when you play them back. In the playback menu, the videos are labelled either "SD" or "HD". The playback menu also gives you access to your photos by simply tapping the tab on the screen.
Since the SC-HMX10A only has 4GB of storage onboard, it's nice to be able to keep that free for new videos and pictures. If you have access to an additional SD or SDHC card, you can move the files on the camcorder from the internal memory to the external card when the internal memory gets full.
For the most part, life as a camcorder is good on the SC-HMX10A. The main zoom toggle at the top of the camcorder gives a good level of fine finger tip control, allowing you to slowly or quickly zoom into your subject, while the ergonomics and security strap keep your hand planted to the device. I found the rotating handle handy for those extremely high or extremely low shots, giving you another level of creativity that you can experiment with.
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