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Review: Panasonic HX-WA10 waterproof camcorder

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Summer’s on its way and it’s usually the time of year when we get our cameras out and head poolside or to the beach.

But cameras and water don’t mix unless you’ve got a waterproof model that can shoot high quality video, take good pictures and handle a splash or a dip.

The Panasonic HX-WA10 is one of those cameras – it can go down to a depth of 3m and still shoot full high definition video and take 16 megapixel stills doing it.  

The vertical camcorder has a watertight plastic casing so whether you take it underwater or just use it in the shallows it will deliver impressive video and still images.

The device has a flip out 2.6-inch LCD screen to easily frame your pictures and videos.

With the screen in the open position it is easy to hold the camera in one hand and access the main controls to record videos, capture stills and zoom in and out.

There are also controls down the left side to access the menu and to play back what you’ve just shot.

There’s also a five-way navigation control that is a little difficult to use because it is sealed under plastic rather than being clearly defined buttons.

It’s designed that way to keep the water out but just makes it even more fiddly to use when trying to navigate the many menus and settings.

The HX-WA10’s lens has a focal length of 6.8mm – 34mm with 5x optical and 12x digital zoom.

The sensitivity of the CMOS sensor has also been enhanced with BSI (back/side illumination) so you can expect decent image quality no matter the conditions.

What also comes in to play to deliver high quality video and pictures is the iA feature – intelligent auto which can adjust the scene mode and also activates face detection to adjust the exposure.

The Panasonic HX-WA10 is an underwater camera which can shoot full high definition video

Another design aspect we didn’t like was the placement of the SD card under the battery.

Again, this is no doubt a move to keep the internal workings of the camera dry but it’s a chore nonetheless to slide down the panel and remove the battery to insert or retrieve the memory card.

But it’s a small price to pay to have the ability to take this camera anywhere and capture your memories.

The screen is large and bright enough to make sure you’re capturing exactly what you want underwater while the zoom controls are smooth and easy to access with a single hand.

Video quality is above average with crisp colours and good brightness and the microphone is also sensitive enough to pick up people talking (above water!) even a short distance away from the camera.

The 16 megapixel stills are also impressive quality with accurate and warm colour. We were also able to capture 2 megapixel stills while shooting video at the same time.

The Panasonic WA10 doesn’t miss a beat whether it’s being used above or below water. It’s easy to use, available in three fun colours and offers good value at $499.

Panasonic HX-WA10

Price: $499

Three and half stars (out of five)

www.panasonic.com.au

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