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Samsung HMX-H200 HD Camcorder Reviewed

Samsung HMX-H200 HD Camcorder Reviewed

The audio isn't the best but, the Samsung HMX-H200 is a simple, inexpensive camera that works great for capturing memories. Simply put: it covers the basics at a low budget.

Perfect for all your recreational occasions, this handy little Samsung HMX-H200 with its tiny camera body can quickly to work hard for you. Offered in four colors to choose from, you can sport this itty bitty little thing in black, silver, red, or blue! Pop out the LCD viewfinder and you are off and recording with auto and manual controls at your fingertips with its touch screen viewfinder. This camera is built for simplicity and ease of use. Though it boasts "1920x1080 60i Full HD resolution", this camera is not intended as a professional robust camcorder that you would have to shell out a thousand dollars for. With an MSRP of only $400 this camera is perfect for home users and more than does the job. Capture all your family memories, help a friend out with a work presentation or just entertain yourself for hours with a new toy.

Need to Edit?

Everything you need to make a video comes bundled in the box. Fire up the camera, take some video, plug it into your computer and WHAM! The camera comes pre-loaded with editing software so you don't have to purchase or install anything. Once you connect the USB cable to any PC the camera automatically runs the Intelli-studio software on your computer and you are ready to edit. Simple tasks such as trimming a clip, or uploading to YouTube takes only moments. For those that find editing to be a complex process or simply have not yet had a chance to jump into a full editing suite such as Adobe Premiere or Final Cut, the Intelli-studio software meets the need.

The Nitty Gritty

The Samsung HMX-H200 starts up nice and yields a decent image. Having a 20x optical zoom is a definite bonus, and not common for smaller cameras. The image stabilizer works great when zoomed out, conversely at the 20x optical zoom even the steadiest of hands can't maintain a smooth shot with this camera. Zoom out and you will find yourself happy with the footage. Zoom in and you better have a tripod or else you will go crazy over the shakes this camera creates. Samsung offers a Smart OIS (Optical Image Stabilizer) which is supposedly able to stabilize video footage better than ever, yet this seems to be a failed attempt.

Another note-worthy detail is the base unit has no built-in memory, just an SD card slot. SD cards are cheap, and it's a no brainer for anyone familiar with shooting on tape... you have to load some form of recording medium prior to recording. However for those who are quick to lose tiny SD cards, Samsung offers the models H203 (8GB), H204 (16GB), H205 (32GB) all with built-in memory.

The HMX-H200 has a decent battery, lasting 2 hours 10 minutes. One wonderful additional feature this camera possesses is a USB port that not only transfers data, but also charges the battery. Ever lose your battery charger or forgot to bring it on a trip? One standard USB cable is all you need and you can charge your camera and edit the footage anywhere in the world on any computer.

Manual vs Auto

The Samsung HMX-H200 offers full manual and full auto features. The H200 does not however have dials or knobs for manual functions. All manual controls are through the touch screen menu. This presents a bit of a challenge when attempting to fine-tune settings such as focus or aperture. Something Samsung does do nicely with this little camera is the SmartAuto Feature. With this feature enabled, the camera performs exceptionally with full auto functions. The SmartAuto Feature puts the camera in full auto white balance, auto focus, and auto exposure. Again, this camera is great for capturing memories but it is is not built for professional videotaping.

Audio Issues

As might be expected with a camcorder this size and in this price range, the HMX-H200 has no audio input. It simply has a built in mic which you are limited with. Just remember, if you intend to do any audio work other than simply capturing memories, this camera is not for you.

Timelapse

A definite plus this camera offers is a timelapse feature. The menu takes some fusing to figure out how to enable the timelapse. Once you are in timelapse mode the settings are mildly limiting. The HMX-H200 can shoot timelapses at 1, 3 or 5 frames per second over duration of 24, 48, or 72 hours. The timelapse results from this camera are very satisfying.

Tech Specs

Video Recording Format: H.264 - 1920x1080/60i, 1280x720/60p, 720x480/60p
Image Sensor: 1/4.9 CMOS
Video Effective Pixels: 2 mega-pixels
Photo Effective Pixels: 4.7 mega-pixels
LCD Size: 2.7"
Recording Media: SD/SDHC Memory Cards
Manual Focus: Yes
Shutter Speed: 1/60 - 1/10000
Optical Zoom: 20X
Digital Zoom: 200X
Focal Length: 3.2 - 64.0mm
Weight: .6 lbs

Strengths

  • Affordable
  • Compact
  • Good Image Quality

Weaknesses

  • Poor Audio Quality
  • Limited features
  • LCD viewfinder only

Summary

The audio isn't the best but, the Samsung HMX-H200 is a simple, inexpensive camera that works great for capturing memories. Simply put: it covers the basics at a low budget.

Samsung Electronics America
105 Challenger Road
Ridgefield Park, NJ 07660
www.Samsung.com
$400

Luke Scherba is a video producer and small business owner.

Tags:  December 2010
Luke
Scherba
Wed, 12/01/2010 - 12:00am