Samsung SC-HMX20C Full HD Camcorder - SC-HMX20C Still Camera and SD Testing

Article Index
Samsung SC-HMX20C Full HD Camcorder
Included Accessories and Specs
SC-HMX20C Menus and Setup
SC-HMX20C Still Camera and SD Testing
SC-HMX20C HD Testing and Conclusion

Testing the Digital Still Camera:

Most people who purchase this camcorder will do so because of the 1920x1080p video resolution thanks to it's h.264 video codec, but with a 6.4MP CMOS sensor it should perform quite well as a digital camera.  The sensor is not super high quality and this unit won't replace your current SLR, but the camera is worth looking at and using on a holiday.  Because it packs in a decent camera, the Samsung SC-HMX20C can save you the hassle of packing a video camera as well as a still camera with you.

I took a few pictures in different situations with the camera running on its automatic mode.  Better results may be obtained through tweaking, but time constraints demanded that we take some simple photographs without setting up anything too elaborate.

You can download the full resolution images here.  Due to their size, they are all included in a single *.zip file for your convenience.  The file is 6.69MB in size.

 Indoor - Bright
Click Image to Download all High-Res Images
 Indoor - Medium
Click Image to Download all High-Res Images

Outdoor - Dusk
Click Image to Download all High-Res Images

While the camera isn't spectacular, it certainly does the job well enough to print out 8x10 glossy photos of your favorite person, place or thing.  I took it to YC Alberta 2008 and used it around home for a couple of weeks and have some great photos.  I chose to include the photos above in this review as they show some of the strengths and weaknesses of the camera.  With good light the flash isn't needed indoors and pictures come out quite nicely.  At a farther distance the flash is required and does a pretty good job of capturing KJ-52 with a teddy bear and a fan.  Outdoors at dusk the colors appear a little pale and the detail is lacking.  You'll notice that all of these images have quite a bit of noise and that is more common for CMOS sensors than good high-quality CCD sensors.  However, for under $900 you can't expect perfection.


Testing the Video Camera - Standard Definition:

To test the video camera we started off with the Standard Definition (SD) testing.  This video is recorded at 720x480 - native DVD resolution.  The following image is of my son peeling a banana in the kitchen.  The overhead fluorescent light was on for ambient lighting.

Indoor SD
Indoor SD

Even the SD video quality is much better than my JVC Camcorder that I bought 5 months ago.  The color is pretty balanced although the red is a little saturated.

One of the features of this camcorder is the fact that it can record video in slow motion.  This slow motion can be selected as 1/2, 1/4 or 1/8 speed.  To showcase the slowest slow-motion available, we took it gopher hunting with my father.  Gophers destroy thousands of dollars worth of crop by eating young plants and the SC-HMX20C shows how some people get rid of them.  If you love rodents like rats, mice and gophers, you may not want to watch the video. . .  Please also keep in mind that no gophers felt pain.

The video show above was sped up to real-time for the first pass while the slow motion video is a straight pull from the video camera.  As you can see the camera was zoomed in as the rodent was about 80 meters away.  Unfortunately, Digital Image Stabilization was not enabled - thus resulting in the shaky view at 10x zoom.  Also it is important to note that Slow Motion video can only be recorded for 10 seconds on the 1/8th setting.  You cannot record slow motion for extended periods of time. 

On the next page we'll carry on with the High Definition testing before we wrap up with our final thoughts.