The Amazing HM-TA1

Okay I admit it. I bought the Panasonic HM-TA1 on an impulse when it was on sale for $89 at the Henry’s Camera Show last weekend. You can get it cheaper online but since I was there and it used to sell at $170 last year I said to myself “why not?” I’m really good at convincing myself to buy camera equipment :) Just go ask my wife.

Now when it comes to the HM-TA1 I hadn’t had the chance to research the pocket mini video camera before I bought it but after a weekend of shooting and a morning of reading the reviews I’m delighted that I did buy.

So why did I buy another camcorder when I’ve got a Canon Vixia HF-200 and a Nikon D-90 and the Olympus E-PL2 plus my IPhone which has video too?

For one thing I don’t carry my cellphone everywhere. I use it mainly on weekends and when I’m out shooting a job or teaching a workshop (the cellphone stays in the car but I’ve got it with me just in case).

I only bring out the big cameras when I’m actually shooting something for a client. I get way too serious when somebody is paying me for my time and talents.

And while I love my Olympus it doesn’t exactly fit into my pocket. The Panasonic sure does.

If you read any of reviews you’re going to learn a couple of things. First the Panasonic takes outstanding 1080p hi-def video. The quality coming out of this tiny camera is amazing. Second some folks complained about the build-quality. Okay but what were you intending on doing with the camera? It’s not bullet-proof but it’s sure convenient (53mm X 18.8mm X 104mm and .25 lb). Some wished for a battery that included a charger (it charges via the USB plug) but that would raise the cost and third-party chargers are available.

BTW a new battery costs $99 from some retailers and $8 online. You pick. I’m ordering two of the $8 batteries which should last a couple of days of shooting before needing a recharge.

I had no problem editing my MP-4 video in IMovie and the video image when using the Panasonic as a Skype camera was much better than the image from my Mac’s built-in camera.

Here’s a pretty good review of the Panasonic and You Tube has a ton of videos.

I think the HM-TA1 is a keeper :)

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