When you first pull the SC-HMX20C out of the box, I couldn’t help but notice how much heavier the unit was compared to the SC-HMX10A. All the extra weight was clearly loaded into the much larger lens. The f/1.8 – 6.3 lens sported a rather long 63mm focal length which isn’t great for anything but outdoor shots or shots in open spaces. The 33mm lens built into the SC-HMX10A was a much better focal length choice.
In testing there were many circumstances where I simply could not back up enough to get subjects in the shot. It just annoyed me to no end and I really wonder if the engineer really did spec that lens or if the bean counters picked it because they were on sale. A totally impractical lens for anything but outdoor use. Think about it. If I’m standing in front of you, I see your head. When I put the Samsung up to my face, can no longer see your head and you’re out of the frame. On the bright side, this new Samsung sports an automatic lens cover that retracts when you turn the unit on vs the manual cover of its predecessor.
Instead of using the same top loading mechanism for memory and batteries, Samsung went to a hatch on the rear of the unit that made it possible to load up without removing your hand from the grip. This made it much easier to change SD cards or batteries without having to undo yourself. The SC-HMX10A required you to unstrap yourself so definitely a step in the right direction.
Speaking of the strap, I did find the strap rather uncomfortable on the SC-HMX10A. Samsung has softened up the material with an upgrade to a suede-like unit that greatly improves on comfort. The great rotating grip returns allowing you to customize the fit to allow you to reach all the buttons with ease.
Samsung added the nice touch of a sliding door to cover up the AV output and USB port on the side of the camera. They even gold plated them. However, one thing that they took away was the inclusion of the HDMI port. On the SC-HMX10A, you would find an HDMI port there, which would be handy to have on an 1080p HD camcorder. I mean, last time I checked, composite cables didn’t output an HD signal and HDMI makes more sense than component for 1080p output.
To add insult to injury, I found out that the only way to use the HDMI output is through the cradle only. Even worse, you actually have to plug the power cable to activate it. I’m sure there’s some sort of technical reason, but how come it could be accomplished with the SC-HMX10A and not the SC-HMX20C? Having to drag that cradle around really puts a damper on the portability factor.
Although they covered up some stuff, they left the most vulnerable part uncovered. The port on the bottom of the camera which is responsible for allowing you to connect to the docking station that harbors the HDMI output is totally left to fend for itself. It far more likely to get damaged getting placed on top of a liquid spill or in something gross than the ports being covered by the LCD most of the time. Like the long 63mm lens, I wonder if the engineers really choice to exclude it from the final product because it sure doesn’t make any sense to me to cover one and not the other.
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