Pros / The Panasonic HC-W580 has a 50x optical zoom and a reverse camera that can add an interesting perspective to recorded events.
Cons / It lacks any in-camera editing capabilities.
Verdict / The Panasonic HC-W580’s fantastic zoom lens makes it really stand out.
A lot of things about this camera make it more fun to use than the others we tested. For one thing, it has a reverse camera located on the side of the LCD monitor. This means you can film something while simultaneously capturing either the videographer’s reaction or another angle of the event. The Panasonic HC-W580 can also film in up to 1080p full high definition. While this doesn’t compare well to the 4K ultra high definition image of the other Panasonic camcorder we tested, the HC-WXF991 still delivers very good image quality.
This camcorder received a C+ for overall picture quality from our reviewers and a C- for color balance. This is because when we ran the footage we took through video editing software, the red, green and blue color lines were rarely level. Even though we recorded video on a sunny day, the footage looked gray and washed out.
This camcorder has integrated Wi-Fi, so you can transfer your videos wirelessly. It also comes with an AC adaptor, USB and HDMI cords, and various other accessories. The battery is detachable so you could purchase another, charge it and keep it on hand for recording long events like a soccer game. If you’re making a long recording, you’ll want to have another SD card on hand. This camcorder takes a full-size card, which we prefer over microSD cards that are super tiny and easy to misplace.
Battery life varies depending on the resolution you’re recording in: Filming in full 1080p is going to eat up your battery quicker than a lower resolution recording, but in our opinion it’s worth it for the crisper image. No matter what resolution you choose, you can expect to get roughly an hour of recording time, give or take 15 minutes.
There are some subjective aspects to this camera. At 10.9 ounces, it is rather heavy. Heavier cameras can be harder to hold for long periods of time, but they also tend to feel sturdier and shake less easily when you’re shooting free-hand. The screen has touch controls, which some people like for its ease of use while others might not because it smudges. We also found our testers accidentally hit buttons on touchscreen cameras like this and the Canon Vixia HF R800 fairly often.
With a 50x optical zoom, this camcorder is great at capturing things from a distance. This is one of the most extreme zoom lenses of any camcorder we tested. It also has intelligent zoom capabilities of 90x, but that is going to degrade your image quality. The lens cover also automatically opens when you turn this camcorder on. It has other internal features like image stabilization and the ability to take crisp 10-megapixel photos.