Summary: I have this camera and have shot two down-and-dirty amateur documentaries with it. I have found the image to be excellent when compared to lesser "consumer" grade camcorders. My only real complaint with the camera is with the manual focus. It is extremely difficult to judge the manual focus using either the viewfinder or the viewing screen.
Summary: I JUST RECEIVED THIS CAMERA TODAY. AND I MUST SAY THIS 3CCD CAMERA GIVES A GREAT PICTURE. I HAVE BEEN IN THE VIDEO PRODUCTION BUSINESS FOR OVER 25 YEARS,DOING WEDDINGS, CABLE PRODUCTIONS. WORKED WITH A LOT OF BROADCAST CAMERAS.WHICH ARE $10,000 cameras. I OWN A KY27 JVC BROADCAST CAMERA WHICH PUTS OUT 750 LINES 65DB SIGNAL TO NOISE RATIO.THIS CAMERA IS CLOSE.INDOOR SHOOTING IS NOT BAD A LITTLE ON THE GRAINY SIDE BUT WITH A GOOD VIDEO LIGHT THERE IS NO PROBLEM.
Summary: I won't comment on the camcorder itself. It is great, and it fulfills all the needs I had. The only problem came when I upgraded my computer (I was forced to, not a voluntary move) to Vista. Not a single item in the bundled software is compatible with Vista, starting with the USB driver. As of April 24th, Panasonic doesn't even provide an ETA on the delivery of upgraded drivers. Just remember it before you purchase it.
Summary: I have researched both the PV-GS500 and PV-GS300. They have the same exact picture quality. These are the best quality camcorders you can buy if you are an average consumer. If you are an amateur or aspiring filmmaker you need to go with higher end cameras. Not even Sony HD can touch the image and picture quality of these Panasonics because it is only 1CCD. 3CCD is what is in pro models and this gives you a color rich professional looking picture.
Summary: The star rating I assigned reflects that I have owned the GS 500 for a very short time, otherwise it would likely be higher. This is the second camcorder I have purchased in two years or less. It is a vast improvement over the competitors camcorder. Having used the unit several times I find it is very versatile. Much like a high quality automatic 35 mm camera, the SG500 can be very simple to operate; or it can be very sophisticated.
Summary: This is my first Video camera ever! and i really enjoy using it, It is easy to navigate through the menu and takes great stills as well. My only issue with it is the software is not so user friendly, i realize that there is a learning curve with these things and with more time i'm sure i'll be able to master it, but it can be daunting at first. Aside from that, so far so good.
Great economical 3CCD video camera. Works with OS X.
S. Wands "swands", Amazon
30 November 2006
Summary: I have no complaints about this camera. Very happy with my purchase. It does the job and captures great video. And I have had no problem transferring video via Firwire running OS X on my MacBook using Apple's Final Cut Express HD software.
Summary: Just to clarify a few other differences between the GS500 and GS300 besides those mentioned in the review below. The GS500 does indeed offer an additional MP for still shots (4.0 MP) and a 12X zoom, but that's not all... It also has a bigger and longer lens, with 1/4.7" CCD (1070K x 3 pixels) sensors instead of the 1/6" CCD (800K x 3 pixels) on the GS300. The filter diameter is 43mm instead of 37mm.
Summary: I wanted a 3 CCD camera that was small enough to haul around without any issues, with auto features and yet with manual features that allowed me my own personal adjustments for specific scenarios or customized shots. I also wanted firewire connectivity. The GS500 seemed to fit the bill.
Summary: Had it since 19 June, 2006, and picture quality is excellent with the 3ccd, good features overall, allows manual focus and other settings. Its digital picture function, however, is not as good as a single function digital camera, just as a digital camera is not as good as a camcorder to record videos. Joystick is difficult to handle in one hand, got to use the other hand to change functions. If only optical zoom is a bit better than 12x.