Easily one of the most anticipated camcorders in the last few years, Panasonicís PV-GS500 arrived this year to replace the hugely successful PV-GS400 (Review, Specs, $1099). The GS400 offered great video quality with a bundle of pro-level features that made it a hit with the serious hobbyists and prosumers. This year, Panasonic has adopted a new approach, leaving fans none too pleased. In order to court a larger market, Panasonic has slashed prices on their top MiniDV models, and dropped most of the pro-level features in the process. So here it is Ė the GS500. It may be replacing the GS400, but itís sure not much of a successor
Weíre pretty sure our 2004 review of the PV-GS400 read something like this: ďMy name as Ozymandias, king of kings: / Look on my works ye mighty and despair!Ē (At least it seems that way in retrospect.) Panasonicís top-end consumer DV camcorder knew no boundaries, and was beloved by all. Would that anyone could have foreseen the PV-GS320, a shell of its former glory, toiling in a dead format. What, too baroque? Perhaps, but even Panasonicís loyal fan base has expressed serious disappointment in this camcorder, due mainly to the loss of the mic jack, headphone jack, and manual focus ring. Clearly, no company is focusing on DV camcorders anymore, but we hoped that the former king would have gone out with a bang, like Canonís Elura 100. The PV-GS320 retains all the great manual controls and handling of its pedigree, but Panasonic also made a lot of simple mistakes. Read on for the full account.
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