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Panasonic HC-V550 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £469
inc VAT

Good camcorder with built-in Wi-Fi, but it’s too expensive


1/5.8in BSI MOS sensor, 1,920×1,080, 50.0x zoom, 280.0kg

The HC-V550 has a 3in 460,000-dot touchscreen. The screen’s large enough to view your subject easily, and there’s a decent level of detail. The icons clearly express their function and there’s a side panel that lets you scroll through various options and zoom in and out. We found the touchscreen to be infuriatingly unresponsive, though, and some of the onscreen icons were difficult to press without first hitting another icon. This lack of responsiveness is all the more disappointing because we expect better from Panasonic.

Panasonic HC-V550

Conveniently, the HC-V550’s built-in Wi-Fi adaptor lets you share your files with other devices on a Wi-Fi network. The HC-V550 can also create its own Wi-Fi network so that you can connect an Android or iOS device directly. Once connected, you can use your smartphone or tablet to play videos stored on the HC-V550 or control the HC-V550 remotely with the free Panasonic Image app.

The app must be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play, but it’s a slight app, being a 20MB download for iOS devices and 16MB for Android devices. It’s easy to find videos on photos stored on the HC-V550’s SD card and view them on your mobile device, but videos were jerky which made them unpleasant to watch. The Image app’s remote playback feature is handy to check that your footage has recorded, but we wouldn’t use the Image app to show our handiwork to other people. Similarly, there was a delay between something happening in front of the HC-V550’s lens and something happening on our third-generation iPad’s screen, even when our iPad was within a metre and a half of the camcorder. We expect some latency, but the delay is still too long. The Panasonic Image app has improved a lot since its first release, but there’s still much room for further improvement.

Panasonic HC-V550

The HC-V550 will remember multiple Wi-Fi networks so that you can re-connect to them more easily. That’s handy because the HC-V550’s touchscreen makes entering details for a Wi-Fi connection difficult. It sometimes wouldn’t respond to our presses or would think we were trying to press a different button. There isn’t a proper keyboard either, but a set of nine buttons, with each button containing a number of characters that you have to cycle through like an old mobile phone.

The HC-V550 is a good, compact camcorder and its built-in Wi-Fi adaptor makes it easy to view files stored on the camcorder and transfer them to another device. It’s not terribly exciting, though, and its image quality isn’t as good as we’d expect for a camcorder at this price. We don’t think buyers will be disappointed with it, and the HC-V550’s convenient size makes it easy to carry, but we do think the cheaper, Best Buy-winning Canon Legria HF R48 is a better buy. The HC-V550’s image quality doesn’t really improve on that of the Panasonic HC-V520 either, and at the time of writing you can still buy it online for much less.

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Basic Specifications

Rating ***


Optical zoom 50.0x
Digital zoom 3,000x
Sensor 1/5.8in BSI MOS
Sensor pixels 2,510,000
Widescreen mode native
LCD screen size 3.0in
Viewfinder type none
Video lamp No
Video recording format AVCHD, MP4
Video recording media SD/SDHC/SDXC
Sound stereo
Video resolutions 1,920×1,080
Maximum image resolution 4,224×2,376
Memory slot SD
Mermory supplied none
Flash no


Digital inputs/outputs mini HDMI out, mini USB
Analogue inputs/outputs A/V out
Other connections charge jack
Battery type Li-ion
Battery life 2h 25m
Battery charging position camcorder
Size 61x53x116
Weight 280.0kg

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £469

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