Panasonic HDC-SD100 vs. Canon HF100

Canon HF100
I couldn’t believe that this lovely cam should be so dramatically bad at video quality. Again I’ve started my investigation on the Internet. This time having the focus on the video capabilities of this cam. And true – I’ve found some articles, which stated a bad low light behavior and bad video quality. I was totally torn.
I’ve decided to buy the cam, which had in most reviews I’ve read, the best video quality: The Canon HF100.
Again, some said: “This cam looks much more solid and pro” (in comparison to the Panasonic), but for me it was hate at first sight. This thing was big, clumpy, heavy – and this cheap plastic silver charm killed all my illusions.

This camcorder is slow (I mean slow!), has no view-finder, the display is low-res, no manual focus-ring. The joystick is mounted at the display (looks odd to me). The sliding carriage (light mount) is low profile (only for Canon products). And – no freaking funky IA (Intelligent Auto) with face recognition! Gosh!
It has its own “intelligent auto“, but to be honest, I didn’t notice anything very much intelligent about it. And forgot to mention it, the Panasonic camcorder has a lense ring, where you can mount things like filters, or other lenses. Maybe it’s also possible with the Canon, but I don’t want to break it screwing around too much.
I bought for both the most powerful available accumulator, but the one for the Canon is only as half as powerful as the one for the Panasonic. The charging technique is in a whole different. The Canon can be charged while the battery is plugged in. Panasonic provides a standalone charging device, where you also can run the camcorder completely without battery, by only being connected to the charging device (battery isn’t charging while plugged into cam).
The picture quality is breathtaking. I’ve read somewhere, that Canon is sucking almost all out of FullHD (1080p) has to offer regarding sharpness. The pictures you can shoot are fully 3MPixel and they look great. video outtake So all in all I decided to keep the Canon. My love-hate relationship will last as long a better Canon, or other comparable model at an affordable price will be released. A must is the feature with the face recognition!

Here are two samples of the Panasonic and of the Canon. But these two clips aren’t suitable to compare the picture quality of both cams. The footage differs too much. The samples are good for testing the playback capabilities of your system. There’s a lot panning in the Canon sample and a bit in the Panasonic footage.


  • Video sample from Panasonic HDC-SD100 [58MB]
  • Video sample from Canon HF100 [50MB]

Other articles at this Blog covers topics about integration and playing back AVCHD footage from these camcorders with Linux and free software, like mplayer, ffmpeg and My Media System as a slim and easy Media Center.

4 thoughts on “Panasonic HDC-SD100 vs. Canon HF100

  1. This review is exactly what I was looking for.

    So I have to choose between a beautiful easy-to-use poor quality cam and an ugly clumsy great-performance cam. Pretty tough job! Since my mom will like to use it too. She may not like the difficulties Canon gives.


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