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Panasonic HC-V500M

HD camcorder with 16GB of flash memory

1 Review

Item # 133HCV500M

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Our take on the Panasonic HC-V500M

Highly portable yet satisfyingly versatile, the Panasonic HC-V500M is well-equipped for most any situation where you'd need a camcorder. Going to a family picnic? The generous wide-angle, intelligent 50X zoom and Hybrid O.I.S.+ image stabilization will work together to infuse your images with the fun and joy of the day. Maybe you're attending a close friend's wedding? The 'V500M's Intelligent Resolution Technology processing will be key when you show those great low-light clips at the first anniversary bash. And let's talk resolution: this camera shoots full-resolution 1080/60 progressive frames-per-second HD for extraordinary detail and clarity.

The Panasonic HC-V500M HD camcorder

The Panasonic HC-V500M HD camcorder sports some great tools to handle your videography challenges

Talented companion

Highly portable yet satisfyingly versatile, the Panasonic HC-V500M is well-equipped for most any situation where you'd need a camcorder. Going to a family picnic? The generous wide-angle, intelligent 50X zoom and Hybrid O.I.S.+ image stabilization will work together to infuse your images with the fun and joy of the day. Maybe you're attending a close friend's wedding? The 'V500M's Intelligent Resolution Technology processing will be key when you show those great low-light clips at the first anniversary bash. And let's talk resolution: this camera shoots full-resolution 1080/60 progressive frames-per-second HD for extraordinary detail and clarity.

No great shakes

Shooting scenes while on the move? You'll appreciate the five-axis Hybrid O.I.S.+ optical image stabilization. This camcorder has the ability to smooth out bumps, shakes, and shimmies that are part of walking while capturing images. And when it comes time to play back the shot, you'll love the 3", 230K-dot LCD display.

You're traveling through another dimension

If you have the desire to explore extra dimensions of depth in your videos, the 'V500M has 2D-to-3D conversion — it can take your already-shot 2D footage and extrapolate a 3D image in real-time. You can then feed the newly-built 3D signal via HDMI to a compatible 3D television for an entirely new angle on your captured video.

Vacation accessory

The 'V500M has dozens of other features that make it a must-have while on vacation. How about easy uploading to Facebook™ or YouTube™ with the included HD Writer AE software? Or beautiful 3-megapixel still images, supported by a built-in flash? Not only that, you can really put your audience in the moment with the on-board zooming microphone. An easy-to-navigate touchscreen interface helps you with dialing in menu settings in an instant. And 16GB of on-board flash memory means you'll always have the means to shoot for hours.

Product Highlights:

    Storage and Formats:
    • records high-definition video to on-board flash memory or optional SD, SDHC or SDXC memory cards
    • 16GB of on-board flash memory
    • maximum video resolution: up to 1920 x 1080/60p
    • 1/5.8" (3.1mm) high-sensitivity MOS image sensor gives excellent low light performance
    • Panasonic f/1.8 - f/4.2 38X optical zoom lens with enhanced "intelligent" zoom to 50X
    • Crystal Engine Pro processor provides enhanced resolution and superior noise reduction for clear, rich images in dim light
    • internal processor can convert 2D images to a simulated 3D image and feed that image to a compatible connected 3D HDTV via an HDMI connection
    • Hybrid O.I.S.+ (optical image stabilization) uses five-axis correction to suppress blurring throughout the zoom range
    • captures 3-megapixel still images in photo mode with Intelligent Assist scene selection
    • on-board flash for still shooting
    • 1-second quick power-on and 0.6-second quick-start ensure you won't miss that fleeting shot opportunity
    • built-in zoom microphone links microphone pickup pattern to lens zoom status
    • 3" (230K dots) widescreen touch-panel LCD
    • face detection/recognition with Smile Shot helps your stills and movies reflect the emotion of the day
    • focus assist mode outlines correctly focused items in blue for clear, sharp images
    • autofocus tracking locks onto a moving subject
    • on-board LED video light helps illuminate nearby subjects in low light
    • 60 frame-per-second high-speed burst shooting shoots three seconds of material for motion analysis
    • Advanced Highlight Playback mode identifies key scenes from clips you choose and creates a short movie complete with effects that include music, slow motion, still image fading, and flash playback
    Connections, Supplied Accessories and Dimensions:
    • USB 2.0 high-speed terminal for connection to a computer (cable provided)
    • mini HDMI output (cable not included) for watching your videos on an HDTV
    • includes AC adapter/charger and rechargeable lithium ion battery
    • includes A/V connecting cable
    • includes manual and software DVD
    • 2-1/16"W x 2-9/16"H x 4-3/4"D
    • weight: 8 oz. without battery
    • warranty: 1 year parts, 90 days labor
    • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

    Great camcorder, a little technical, but well worth learing all the information.

    Jim B, Enterprise, AL

    What's in the Box:

    • Flash memory camcorder (black/silver)
    • VW-VBK180 Lithium-ion rechargeable battery (3.6V / 1790 mAh / 6.5 Wh)
    • VSK0780 AC adapter with attached 61" DC output cord (DC output: 5V / 1.6A)
    • 64" AC cord
    • 5' AV Multi-cable (with proprietary connection on one end and 6 male RCA plugs--component video / composite video / stereo audio)
    • 2' USB cable (with Type A USB on one end and Mini-B Ver.2.0 on the other end)
    • HD Writer AE 4.0 CD-ROM
    • Owner's Manual
    • Product Registration card
    • Safety Precautions for AC adapter sheet

    Panasonic HC-V500M Reviews

    Average Customer Review(s):

    (1 Review)

    Great Camcorder

    Jim B from Enterprise, AL on 6/7/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Great camcorder, a little technical, but well worth learing all the information.

    Pros: Picture quality is supper.

    Cons: A little technical, but well worth learing all the information.


    Hands-on research

    Features and Specs

    LCD Screen Size (inches) 3.0
    Viewfinder None
    Total Pixel Count 1,500,000
    Effective Pixel Count for Video 1,300,000
    4K Video ---
    High-Definition Yes
    Aspect Ratio 16:9
    Manual Focusing Yes
    Filter Diameter N/A
    Optical Zoom 38 x
    Digital Zoom 66 x
    Night Imaging Yes
    Image Stabilization Optical + Digital
    Built-in Video Light Yes
    Built-in Memory 16 GB Flash Memory
    Max Recording Time w/ Included Battery 125 min
    Digital Still Camera Features
    Effective Pixel Count for Stills 1,300,000
    Built-in Photo Flash Yes
    Still Image Aspect Ratios 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
    Inputs and Outputs
    USB Port 2.0 High Speed
    HDMI Output Mini
    Mic Input No
    Weight With Battery (ounces) 9.52
    Width (inches) 2-3/8
    Height (inches) 2-9/16
    Depth (inches) 4-3/4
    Parts Warranty 1 Year
    Labor Warranty 90 Days
    Image Sensor Warranty 1 Year

    Product Research

    General Features
    Video Camera Features
    Still Image Recording
    Battery Information
    Inputs and Outputs Notes
    Software And Computer Information

    General Features

    Recording Media: The Panasonic HC-V500M allows you to record Full HD video and still images on the 16 GB built-in memory, or on optional SD/SDHC/SDXC cards up to 64 GB. SD cards with a Speed Class Rating of 4 or higher are recommended.

    3.0" LCD Touch Screen: The 3.0" (16:9) LCD screen provides excellent viewing clarity. Its Intuitive Touch Operation lets you zoom in and out, and automatically focus when shooting still images by simply touching the subject on the LCD screen. The 230,000-dot LCD screen rotates up to 270 degrees for multiple viewing angles providing sharp and detailed images for monitoring or playback. Mirror mode allows you to view a mirror-image of the subject you are shooting in the LCD screen when the screen is rotated 180 degrees, but the image will be normal when recorded.

    Note: The V500M does not include a separate viewfinder.

    Recording Formats: This camera captures video in the following formats:

    • MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 version 2.0: This recording format, commonly known as AVCHD Progressive, can record high definition quality images up to 1920 x 1080p. It is suitable for viewing on a large format TV or for saving to a disc.
    • iFrame: The iFrame format is suitable for playing back or edition on a Mac (iMovie'11). Using iMovie'11, iFrame motion pictures can be imported faster than AVCHD, and the imported file size is smaller than that of AVCHD.

    Image Sensor: The V500M uses a 1/5.8" High Sensitivity MOS sensor. The V500M has a total pixel count of 1,500,000, with 1,300,000-1,120,000 effective pixels for recording 16:9 high definition video and still images, 970,000 for 4:3 still images, and 1,090,000 for 3:2 still images.

    Lens: This camera features a Panasonic F1.8 (W) - F4.2 (T) lens with a 38x optical zoom, Auto Iris, and a focal length of 2.35mm to 89.3mm. The 35mm equivalent focal length is 32.4mm to 1345mm for 16:9 motion pictures and still images, 40.7mm to 1547mm for 4:3 still images, and 37.3mm to 1419mm for 3:2. The minimum focus distance is 1.2" for wide angle, 5.3' for telephoto, and 0.4" for Intelligent Auto Macro.

    Intelligent Zoom: The camcorder has an Intelligent Zoom (i.Zoom) function that goes up to 50x while maintaining high definition picture quality. Intelligent Resolution technology lets you shoot at high zoom rates while preserving image sharpness.

    Digital Zoom: In addition to the 38x optical zoom, the camcorder has a selectable 100x or 2500x (total) digital zoom. Because the picture is processed digitally, the picture quality deteriorates the more you zoom in. The power zoom lever can be moved slightly for a slow zoom, or moved further for a faster zoom.

    Intelligent Auto Mode: The Intelligent Auto (iA) mode automatically sets the shooting mode that is appropriate for the condition when you simply point the unit to what you want to record. Intelligent Auto Modes include: Portrait, Scenery, Spotlight, Low Light, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Macro, and Normal.

    Hybrid O.I.S.: Panasonic's Hybrid O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilization) uses five-axis correction to thoroughly suppress blurring throughout the entire zoom range. It also achieves superb effects when shooting while walking. With Hybrid O.I.S. you can capture crisp, clear images, without blurring, in almost every shooting situation. The O.I.S. Lock function increases the image stabilization sensitivity for maximum sharpness at extreme zoom angles.

    Face Recognition: Face Recognition is a function for finding faces that resemble faces which have already been registered, and automatically prioritizing focus and exposure for those faces. A maximum of 6 people can be registered.

    Illumination Requirements: The camera records video and photos in normal mode at a standard illumination of 1400 lx. You can record at 4 lx in the Low Light mode (Scene Modes) and approximately 1 lx in the Color Night Record mode.

    White Balance Adjustment: You can set the color balance to the brightness of the recording environment using the following methods:

    • Auto: The white balance is adjusted automatically
    • Sunny Mode: for recording outdoors under a clear sky
    • Cloudy Mode: for recording outdoors under a cloudy sky
    • Indoor Mode 1: for recording indoors under incandescent lights and halogen lamps
    • Indoor Mode 2: for recording indoors under color fluorescent lamps or sodium lamps
    • Manual: You can manually set the white balance using a white card or paper.

    Manual Exposure: When automatic exposure settings fail to give you the images you desire, you can manually set the shutter speed and the iris/gain values. The Shutter Speed can be set between 1/60 and 1/8000 (1/30-1/8000 in Auto Slow Shutter mode) for movies and 1/2 to 1/2000 for still images. The Iris/Gain value can be set between F16 and F2.0 (0 dB to 18 dB).

    Focus Modes: The V500M focuses automatically for most situations. When auto focus doesn't work, you can switch to Manual Focus and use the MF+ and MF- buttons on the LCD screen to manually focus on the subject.

    Zoom Mic: The Zoom Mic function links the microphones to the lens action. When you zoom in on a subject, the microphones focus in on the sound in the same direction. By suppressing the noise on both sides of the camera, its performance improves by 3 dB, compared to Panasonic's HDC-HS80/TM80/SD80 models.

    LED Video Light: The camcorder has a built-in LED Video Light, which automatically switches on when the ambient lighting is insufficient. Since it is an LED, the light has low power consumption, a long service life, and operates at a safe low temperature.

    Video Camera Features

    HD Video Recording: The V500M records Full HD motion images at 1920 x 1080 resolution onto the built-in 16 GB memory or an inserted SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card. The camera records audio in Dolby Digital 2-channel audio using the built-in microphone. If the video is going to be uploaded to a Mac, it is recommended that it be recorded in the iFrame format with 2-channel AAC audio (960 x 540 resolution).

    Recording Modes: The HC-V500M gives you the choice of six recording modes, five AVCHD modes plus iFrame:

    Recording Mode Resolution Bit Rate Recording Capacity
    16 GB Built-in Memory
    1080/60p 1920 x 1080/60p 28 Mbps 1 hr 20 min
    HA 1920 x 1080/60i 17 Mbps 2 hours
    HG 1920 x 1080/60i 13 Mbps 2 hrs 40 min
    HX 1920 x 1080/60i 9 Mbps 4 hrs 10 min
    HE 1920 x 1080/60i 5 Mbps 6 hrs 40 min
    iFrame 960 x 540/30p 28 Mbps 1 hr 20 min

    Quick Start: The camera will go into standby mode if you close the LCD monitor or push in the viewfinder while the unit is powered on. When the LCD monitor is reopened or the viewfinder is extended, the unit resumes recording mode/pause in approximately 0.6 seconds, allowing you to start recording almost immediately.

    Pre-Rec: The Pre-Rec mode allows recording of pictures and sound to start approximately 3 seconds before the start/stop button is pressed. This helps prevent you from missing a shot.

    Fader: When you start recording, the image and audio will gradually appear, and when you pause or stop recording, the image/audio gradually disappear. You can select a black or white fader, or turn off the fade mode altogether.

    Playback Modes: During playback, you can choose the following operations: Play/pause, rewind, fast forward, stop, skip forward, skip backward, slow-motion, and frame-by-frame. Audio will only be heard during normal playback.

    2D-to-3D Conversion: 2D images can be easily transformed into 3D images with the 2D to 3D Conversion function. The conversion function uses the image processing capability of the Crystal Engine Pro processor. The camcorder will need to be connected to a 3D-compatible HDTV via HDMI cable in order to view 3D images.

    Still Image Recording

    Still Image Sizes: The V500M can record still images in 4:3, 3:2, and 16:9 aspect ratios. Available picture sizes include 1856 x 1392, 640 x 480, 2064 x 1376, 2304 x 1296, and 1920 x 1080. In addition, you can create a still image from a recorded movie at a resolution of 2304 x 1296 or 1920 x 1080. The built-in 16 GB memory can hold approximately 9,500 pictures at the highest resolution (2304 x 1296).

    Hi-Speed Burst: When the Hi-Speed Burst function is activated, you can continuously record up to 180 still images at a rate of 60 frames per second. The picture size is 1920 x 1080.

    Battery Information

    Battery: This unit comes with the VW-VBK180 Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery (3.6V/1790 mAh/6.5 Wh). An optional high-capacity battery for this camcorder is the VW-VBK360 (3.6V/3580mAh). The battery can be charged in the camcorder using the supplied VSK0780 AC adapter, or via USB when connected to your computer. The playback and charging times is as follows:

    Battery Model Charging Time Recording Mode Maximum Continuous Recording Time Actual Recording Time
    Supplied VW-VBK180 2 hrs 45 min
    (5 hrs 45 min via USB)
    1080/60p 1 hr 45 min 55 min
    HA 1 hr 55 min 55 min
    HG, HX, HE 1 hr 55 min 1 hour
    iFrame 2 hrs 5 min 1 hr 5 min
    Optional VW-VBK360 4 hrs 20 min
    (10 hrs 40 min via USB)
    1080/60p 3 hrs 30 min 1 hr 45 min
    HA 3 hrs 45 min 1 hr 55 min
    HG 3 hrs 50 min 1 hr 55 min
    HX, HE 3 hrs 50 min 2 hours
    iFrame 4 hrs 10 min 2 hrs 10 min

    Inputs and Outputs Notes

    A/V Multi Output: This camcorder features a proprietary AV multi connector output for use with the supplied A/V multi cable (component video/composite video/stereo audio) for displaying the camera's contents on your television. You can use either the component video plugs (red, green, blue RCAs) or composite video plug (yellow) along with the stereo audio plugs (red, white RCAs) to connect the camcorder to your TV. High definition images up to 1080i are output using the component video plugs, and 480i standard images are output using the component or composite plugs.

    HDMI: You can output high definition video up to 1080p and 2-channel audio through the camcorder's HDMI output. A mini-HDMI to HDMI cable is required to connect the camcorder to your HDTV. Connecting to a 3D-ready TV via HDMI cable is also required in order to view images converted from 2D to 3D. When connecting to a Panasonic VIERA Link (HDAVI control) compatible TV via HDMI, you can control the camcorder's playback using the TV's remote control. The camcorder is compatible with VIERA Link Ver.5 or earlier.

    USB Port: The camera has a mini-USB version 2.0 jack for connecting to a PC via the supplied USB cable. Connecting the camcorder to a PC via USB allows the computer to access the information on the built-in memory or an inserted SD/SDHC/SDXC card. You will be able to download still images and video files to your computer. You can edit and save your video files onto your computer, then make DVDs of them using the software that is supplied with the camera. The camera can also be used as an external storage device, convenient for archiving, storing and transporting your videos and still images.

    Software And Computer Information

    Included Software: The camera includes HD Writer AE 4.0, which is compatible with Windows operating system only. With HD Writer AE 4.0, you can:

    • copy data to a PC
    • copy in BD/AVCHD format (except iFrame scenes) or DVD-Video format
    • edit movies
    • share movies online
    • play back movies on a PC
    • format discs

    Computer Requirements: HD Writer AE 4.0 works with the following Operating Systems:

    • Windows 7 (32-bit/64-bit): Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate (Service Pack 1)
    • Windows Vista (32-bit): Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate, Business (SP2)
    • Windows XP (32-bit): Home Edition, Professional (SP3)

    iMovie: The V500M lets you record videos in iFrame format for downloading and editing on a Mac. With iFrame, the video in the camera is in the same format as used by Apple's iMovie'11 application (iMovie'11 is not included with camcorder--contact Apple, Inc. for details). Videos shot in AVCHD will need to be converted before importing. (1080/60p must be first converted to 1080/60i). Once you have transferred and edited the movie, you can upload the movie to the Internet, as well as share it on YouTube and Facebook in its original high quality.

    Note: The HC-V500M is compatible with Mac OS X 10.7.2.

    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 verify what’s in the box, 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.

    Staff Reviews

    Product reviews from the Crutchfield Labs

    Smoothes out those shaky hands

    Written by Ralph Graves, Staff Writer - Creative, on 5/7/2012 12:27:00 PM

    I like to think I shoot with a steady hand, but the unintended "Blair Witch"-style results of my camera work show otherwise. As a result, I rely on a tripod as much as possible when I shoot.

    But that's not often an option for shooting family videos. A lot of stuff that I want to capture is spontaneous and sometimes I just have a moment or two to power up the camera and take the shot.

    So the Hybrid O.I.S.+ image stabilization is a welcome feature, indeed. Just trying this camcorder out in the Labs, my test videos looked a lot smoother. Even when I bounced up and down while shooting, the results looked less chaotic than they normally do.

    The HC-V500M: take the camcorder, leave the tripod.

    What are the Labs?