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Panasonic PV-GS35

Mini DV digital camcorder

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  • Panasonic PV-GS35

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Item #: 133PVGS35
 

Review Summary

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Our take on the Panasonic PV-GS35

by Dave Bar
Panasonic

It's easy to shoot vivid, accurate video and snap photos with this compact digital camcorder from Panasonic. The PV-GS35 features a convenient joystick controller for simple, one-handed operation of all the camcorder's basic functions. Its 30X optical zoom lens is one of the most powerful we've seen on a camcorder.

A zoom that powerful can take you right to the action for extreme close-ups with excellent clarity. Catch the expression on your child's face as she crosses the soccer field to score a goal, or zoom in on a cardinal perched in a distant tree. Plus, the 'GS35's image stabilization helps minimize the effect of camera shake for steady looking video, especially on longer zoom shots.

And there are even more perks for making great-looking movies. A low-light shooting mode adjusts camera settings to allow colorful video in dark environments. And you can switch on the built-in video light to further brighten the shot. Panasonic's innovative Soft Skin mode recognizes flesh tones and softens the focus in just those areas, gently smoothing over minor blemishes. Another nice touch is the handy remote control.

This camcorder lets you snap digital photos and save them to an optional SD™ memory card. The high-speed USB interface allows you to quickly send your pictures to a compatible computer. Then you can attach them to e-mail, post them online, or even print them for sharing with friends and family. You can count on the PV-GS35 for capturing whatever memorable moments come your way.

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Highlights:

  • 680,000-pixel CCD
  • variable-speed 30X optical zoom lens (digital zoom to 1,000X)
  • digital photo mode
  • records video on tiny Mini DV tapes
  • 2-1/2" color LCD viewscreen
  • color viewfinder
  • PCM stereo digital audio (12-bit or 16-bit)
  • Digital Electronic Image Stabilization
  • MagicPix® for low-light recording
  • built-in LED video light
  • Soft Skin mode
  • built-in zoom microphone
  • microphone input
  • auto and manual focus
  • shutter speed range: 1/60 – 1/8,000 seconds in tape mode, 1/60 – 1/500 seconds in photo mode
  • digital A/V jack (IEEE 1394)
  • audio/video output for connection to a TV
  • S-video output
  • high-speed USB interface
  • video streaming via USB for use as web cam (requires separate USB cable and software)
  • 3-1/4"H x 2-15/16"W x 5-1/16"D
  • weight: 0.90 lbs. without battery
  • warranty: 1 year parts (6 months CCD), 90 days labor
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
Supplied Accessories:
  • AC adapter/charger
  • lithium ion rechargeable battery (CGA-DU12)
  • A/V cable
  • shoulder strap
  • lens cap
  • wireless remote

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Features and Specs
General
LCD Screen Size (inches)
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2.5
Viewfinder
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Color
Effective Pixel Count for Video
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340,000
Manual Focusing
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Yes
Optical Zoom
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30 x
Digital Zoom
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33.33 x
Night Imaging
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MagicPix
Image Stabilization
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D-EIS
Built-in Lamp
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Yes
Max Recording Time w/ Included Battery
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190 minutes
Digital Still Camera Features
Effective Pixel Count for Stills
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---
Built-in Flash for Stills
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No
USB Port
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2.0 Hi-Speed
Mic Input
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Yes
Dimensions
Height (inches)
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3-1/4
Depth (inches)
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5-1/16
Warranty
Parts Warranty
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1 Year/6 Months CCD
Labor Warranty
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90 Days
Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • Mini DV digital camcorder
  • Wireless remote control N2QAEC000012
  • CR2025 lithium battery
  • CGA-DU12 Lithium ion rechargeable battery pack (7.2V/1150mAh)
  • PV-DAC14D AC adapter/battery charger
  • 6.5' DC cable (adapter to camcorder)
  • 5' AC cable (adapter to AC outlet)
  • 5' USB cable (USB type A on one end and mini-USB--Ver 2.0 on the other end)
  • 5' A/V cable (male mini-plug on one end and 3 male RCA plugs--stereo audio and composite video--on the other)
  • Lens cap
  • Lens cap strap
  • Shoulder strap
  • Panasonic Digital Palmcorder Software CD-ROM
  • Operating Instructions
  • Note on connecting camcorder to PC using USB
  • Note on connecting camcorder to PC using DV cable (IEEE-1394)
  • Note on suitable SD Memory cards
  • Product registration card
  • Special offer for two free issues of Videomaker magazine

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

General Features
Mini DV Camcorder Features
Digital Camera Features

Software/Computer Information
Warranty Information

General Features

Three-in-One Multi-Cam Camcorder: The PV-GS35 is three cameras in one:

  • Digital Camcorder: Recording video onto Mini DV tape
  • Digital Still Camera: Recording still images onto SD Memory Card
  • Web Camera: Using the camcorder and the Internet to communicate by picture and sound, similar to a videophone

LCD Monitor: This unit features a 2-1/2" color LCD monitor for framing moving and still images while recording and for viewing recorded movies or still pictures. It can swing out 90 degrees, and while opened, the monitor can rotate 270 degrees (180 degrees forward and 90 degrees backward). When rotated a full 180 degrees, the image is inverted so it can be properly viewed from the front of the camcorder. The color viewfinder also turns on when the LCD is facing forward. For best viewing, the color and brightness of the monitor can be adjusted.

Recording Media: The PV-GS35 can record video on Mini DV tape and still images on an SD Memory Card. The manual specifies 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, and 512 MB and 1 GB SD cards.

Image Stabilizer: The Digital Electronic Image Stabilizer helps you obtain clear pictures by compensating for any hand movement that occurs as you shoot video. With Digital EIS you won't have to worry about shaky soccer games or family outings.

Focus: The PV-GS35 lets you focus automatically or focus on your subject manually using the joystick control.

Zoom Function: The optical zoom of the lens magnifies the subject up to 30 times. The digital zoom function is useful when you want to record close-up shots of subjects located beyond the optical zoom range. With the Digital Zoom Function, you can select a total magnification of 50x or 1000x. The digital zoom is not active in the Card Recording (still photo) mode.

Soft Skin: When this function detects skin tones, it softens the focus in that area. This helps make wrinkles and lines appear less noticeable and preserves resolution in other areas of the picture. If there is anything in the background that's the same color, it will also be softened.

High Speed Shutter: The high speed shutter feature gives the ability to record high speed motion for improved still or slow motion playback. You can rotate the jog key to manually select any of the following shutter speeds for video: 1/60, 1/100, 1/120, 1/180, 1/250, 1/350, 1/500, 1/750, 1/1000, 1/1500, 1/2000, 1/3000, 1/4000, or 1/8000. For recording to the Memory card, the same shutter speeds apply up to 1/500. If you choose not to manually select the shutter speed, the camcorder can automatically a shutter speed for you.

Exposure: Normally the camcorder adjusts the exposure automatically, however, when the situation requires, you can compensate by manually adjusting the iris.

Auto/Manual White Balance Adjustment: When the white balance is correct, all other colors will be accurately reproduced. White Balance Settings include: Auto, Indoor Mode (shooting under incandescent lighting), Outdoor Mode, and Manual mode.

Backlight Compensation: This feature prevents a recording subject that is in front of a light source from looking too dark.

Gain Up Mode: To brighten the natural colors in a scene the Gain Up mode uses the built-in LED video light to enhance the available light.

Power Save: When the power save mode is on, after 5 minutes without any camcorder operation, the power turns off. If either the USB or DV jack is connected to a computer the power save function is disabled.

Digital Inputs/Outputs: The PV-GS35 has a USB jack (mini-USB Ver. 2.0) and a 4-pin DV jack for digital data transfer to and from your computer. A USB cable is supplied.

A/V and S-Video Output: This unit has a mini-jack audio/video output for use with the supplied A/V cable. The A/V cable has a mini-plug on one end and stereo audio and composite video plugs on the other end. For higher quality analog video output, you can also use the S-Video jack output when connecting the camcorder to a VCR or TV with an S-Video input (S-Video cable not supplied).

AC Adapter/Battery Charger: The supplied PV-DAC14D AC adapter allows you to operate the camcorder on AC current and doubles as a battery charger.

Battery Performance: The supplied CGA-DU12 Lithium Ion rechargeable battery pack requires about 2 hours and 25 minutes to fully charge. You can expect a maximum continuous recording time of approximately 3 hours 10 minutes from a fully charged battery while using the Electronic View Finder, about 2 hours 35 minutes when using the LCD monitor. More typical use (start/stop/zoom in/zoom out) results in approximately 1 hour 35 minutes recording time using the view finder and approximately 1 hour 20 minutes using the LCD.

Wireless Remote: The included wireless remote will control almost all of the camcorder functions. The IR sensor is on the front of the camcorder below the lens and the remote's range is approximately 15 feet.

Mini DV Camcorder Features

Record Speed/Playback Time: You can record video in two speeds, SP and LP. LP records at 2/3 the speed of SP, so you get longer recording times; however, you can not use audio dubbing with a tape recorded using the LP speed. Picture quality is about the same at the lower speed; it is likely, however, that a tape recorded in LP mode will not play back as well on another Mini DV camcorder. The recording/playback time for the Mini DV cassette types is as follows:

Cassette type

Recording/Playback Time
SP LP
Mini-DV-30 30 minutes 45 minutes
Mini-DV-60 60 minutes 90 minutes
Mini-DV-80 80 minutes 120 minutes

Program AE (Auto Exposure) Modes: You may select automatic exposures under specific recording situations. There are five Program AE choices:

  • Sports Mode: For scenes involving quick movements, such as sports scenes
  • Portrait Mode: The camcorder will focus on the main subject of the image and leaves the background slightly out of focus
  • Low Light Mode: Preserves the mood of dim light settings without altering picture brightness
  • Spotlight Mode: Neutralizes the additional brightness created by a spot light
  • Surf and Snow Modes: Compensate for excessive illumination from sun glare to produce a clear image
Audio Modes: This unit can record and play audio in 12 and 16-bit modes. In 12-bit mode, there are two stereo audio tracks (stereo 1 and stereo 2), which enable audio dubbing and audio mixing. In addition, there is a Mix mode that allows playback of both the original sound and the sound added by audio dubbing simultaneously. Mix mode is possible only in 12-bit recordings. Tapes recorded in 16-bit mode are of higher audio quality, however, audio inserts cannot be made on a tape recorded in the 16-bit or LP modes.

Wide Screen TV: If you will be viewing videos on a wide-screen TV, you can record in the Cinema mode, which switches to a wide aspect ratio.

Fade In/Out Functions: The fade in/out functions bring images and sounds in and out from a black or white screen.

Zoom Microphone: The microphone zooms in along with the picture, enabling you to pinpoint distant sound emanating from your subject.

Wind Noise: When recording in windy conditions, you can reduce the audio distortion caused by the wind hitting the microphone by engaging the Wind Noise Reduction function.

Blank Search: This helps you locate the end of a recording on a tape quickly.

Variable Speed Search: You can search in either direction for a particular scene by choosing one of playback speeds: 1/5x (1/3x in LP mode), 2x, 5x, 10x, or 20x.

MagicPix Images: When recording video in very low light, you can greatly enhance the picture by engaging the MagicPix function. Because it uses a slow shutter speed, motion jitter will be much greater, so use of a tripod is recommended. MagicPix allows you to shoot full color video in very low light.

Web Camera: If the camcorder is connected to your personal computer, you can send video and audio to the other parties via a network or the internet.

Note: Please see web cam computer requirements below.

Digital Camera Features

Still Photo: You can record digital still images to the SD Memory card in 640x480 size using high or normal picture quality. Using a 128MB SD Memory card, the approximate image capacity is as follows:

Image Resolution Recording Mode Capacity
640x480 High 880 images
Normal 1760 images

RapidFire Consecutive PhotoShot: Up to ten 640x480 still images can be taken as quickly as every 0.5 seconds in the RapidFire mode.

Self-timer: When you set the self-timer, a still picture is automatically taken after 10 seconds and stored on the memory card.

Simultaneous Recording: When recording video on the Mini DV tape (in tape recording mode), still photos can be captured on the SD card.

Recording Images From Tape: You can record still images from a tape to a Memory card.

Printing Images: You can select images to be printed, the number of prints and other print-related information on a Memory card. This camcorder supports the Digital Print Order Format (DPOF), which allows you to add printing data to a card and take the card to a photo shop that also uses the DPOF format to have your prints made.

Software/Computer Information

USB Driver: Software for USB Driver allows you to transfer images directly from the Memory Card into the computer.

USB Driver requirements for Windows:

  • OS: Windows 98 Second Edition pre-installed (camcorder works with the USB Driver already installed in Windows Me, 2000, and XP)

  • CPU: Intel Pentium II/ Celeron 300MHz or higher

  • RAM: 32 MB or more (64 MB or more is recommended)

  • Interface: Minimum USB 1.1 Terminal

USB Driver requirements for Macintosh:

  • OS: Mac OS X v 10.1-X v 10.3

  • CPU: iMac, iBook or Power Book G4, Power Mac G4, or Power Mac G5

  • RAM: 64 MB or more

Web Camera: Using Video Stream Driver, the camcorder can be used as a web cam to send audio and video to other computers via a network or the internet. If it isn't already on your PC, DirectX will be loaded when you install Video Stream Driver. Along with the USB Driver requirements, to use the camcorder as a web cam, the following additional minimum requirements must be met:

  • OS: Windows XP Home or Professional (service pack 1 or later), Windows 2000 Professional (service pack 4 or later), Windows Me, Windows 98 Second Edition

  • CPU: Intel Pentium II 450MHz or faster/Celeron 400MHz or faster

  • RAM: 128 MB or more (256 MB or more is recommended)

  • Free Hard disk space: 250 MB or more

  • Communication Speed: 56 kbps or faster is recommended

  • Interface: Minimum USB 1.1 Terminal

  • Necessary Software: Windows Messenger 5.0 or later (XP), MSN Messenger (98se/Me/2000), DirectX 9.0b or later (XP)

  • Other Requirements (to send/receive audio): Sound card, Microphone, and Speaker or headphones

MotionDV Studio: MotionDV Studio allows you to capture video recorded on tape or images viewed through the lens. If the camcorder is connected to the computer using a DV (firewire) cable, video footage edited on the computer can be recorded back to the camcorder. MotionDV Studio has the following minimum computer requirements:

  • OS: Windows XP Home or Professional (service pack 1 or later), Windows 2000 Professional (service pack 4 or later), Windows Me (using DV connection only)

  • CPU: Intel Pentium III 700MHz or faster/AMD Athlon 1 GHz or faster

  • Graphic Display: High Color 16 bit (32-bit or more recommended); Desktop resolution of 1024x768 pixels or more to support the overlay

  • Sound: PCM sound source (Compatible Direct Sound)

  • RAM: 256 MB or more

  • Free Hard Disk Space: 640 MB (more is recommended, 1 GB needed for approximately 4 minutes of video)

  • Interface: DV (IEEE 1394) or High-Speed USB 2.0

  • Necessary Software: DirectX 9.0b or later, Windows Media Player 6.4 or later

Warranty Information

Warranty: The warranty on the PV-GS35 is 90 days labor and 1 year parts, except for the CCD image sensor, which is 6 months.

 
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Panasonic PV-GS35 Reviews

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5 out of 5

Great little camcorder!

Written By Richard, Tonawanda, NY on Monday, January 09, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I am very impressed with this camcorder. It packs an enormous amount of features into a very small chassis. The digital zoom is amazing! 1000X! I upgraded from an old analog 8mm and the difference in the quality is extraordinary. The features are controlled by a very handy joystick under your thumb. Everything is quite logically located and easy to find. The still picture feature is also nice. The quality of the stills is low but that's to be expected. The instruction book is a little confusing but better than many I've seen. Overall, I highly recommend this camera.
15 out of 15 people found this helpful
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