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Setting Things Up

There really isn’t much to get going on the SC-HMX20C to make it go. Once you’ve got the strap tightened and the battery charged up (takes about 100 minutes), you’re good to go. Samsung guestimates about 85 minutes for all HD recording and 90 minutes for SD. You might as well record in HD all the time. As mentioned earlier, the 8GB’s of storage onboard does give you roughly 71 minutes of recording in HD so it’s almost a perfect match. The unit does support up to a 32GB external SD/MMC/SDHC memory card so if you grab a couple more batteries, you could be recording for a long time. We found Samsung’s estimates to be fairly close and slightly conservative.

When it comes to MAC compatibility, there are some real question marks around that, especially since the manual says that the SC-HMX20C isn’t compatible with OSX. Well, I can confirm without a doubt, if you’re a fan of Steve Job’s OS of choice, you’ll have no problems using this camcorder in your iMovie 08 or iMovie HD endeavours. No software installation is required as the camera is mounted like any USB drive. Both iMovie versions process the HD, SD, and Slo-Mo files flawlessly.

For Windows OS users, you’ll have to install the included Cyberlink HD software to work with the files properly. The Cyberlink software bundle isn’t actually bad at all and features a lot of different features that will help you stretch your creative muscles. However, I do find it funny that the unsupported OS seems to work the best with this camcorder out of the box. Go figure.

Pictures are comparatively easy as you can simply grab them off the camcorder and use your favourite photo editing software.

Cool Features and Creepy Ones Too

The touch screen interface on the Samsung SC-HMX20C is responsive and easy to use. There isn’t very much that you need to figure out to at least get pointing and shooting. Here are a few things that caught my eye.

Back are the manual features like focus, white balance, exposure and shutter speed. Focus is pretty much pointless on a digital camcorder these days, but Samsung did try something a little fancy with this feature that I was quite surprised with.

Samsung SC-HMX20C Review

Samsung has implemented something called Touch Focus which basically works in conjunction with the touch screen to allow you to choose by the tap of your finger what you want the camera to focus on. The function is quite good and seems to refocus on the subject that you choose quite quickly. This is useful in crowds where you might only want to focus on one person, and not necessarily the person closest to you.

Samsung SC-HMX20C Review

On the creepy side, the firmware on our unit allowed you to shut off the recording light so you can record without anyone knowing you’re recording. Ahh…those crazy Koreans! On the other hand, all the best shots are the ones you don’t get when people know they are being recorded. I’m not sure if this feature will make it into the final version, but who knows. I’m pretty sure there is a law somewhere that this breaks.

The remote control still continues to be one of my favourite things about the Samsung HD camcorders. It’s responsive and easy to take with you. Combined with the recording light shut off and I’m sure you can use your imagination.

Picture Please?

Let’s start with the nasty business first shall we…

Samsung SC-HMX20C Review

The camera function was one of my biggest pet peeves of the older SC-HMX10A. I actually went as far as calling it a useless feature. Yes, the whole thing and Samsung still isn’t off the hook with this new SC-HMX20C. Although it is clear that they’ve given this photo feature some more teeth by including a real flash and allowing snapshots while recording (up to 1920×1080 resolution), it’s still not a seamless feature that allows you to get the shot when you need to. You can only take full quality shots when you make the change from video to photo mode and it is this disconnect that can cost you the shot in that moment. Although I appreciate them trying to improve it, I would still rather see Samsung concentrate on the camcorder functions and get that perfect first instead of dividing their attention. People don’t want to buy a compromise.

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