Home » Camera » Camcorders » High-Definition Camcorders » SAMSUNG SC-HMX20C 8GB HIGH DEFINITION CAMCORDER WITH 10X OPTICAL ZOOM

  • Full HD Camcorder with 1080P Progressive Mode
  • 8GB Built In Memory
  • 6.4M CMOS, 10X zoom
  • Docking Cradle
  • SD-MMC Slot

Product Description
Samsung Hi Definition Memory Camcorder

Samsung SC-HMX20C 8GB High Definition Camcorder with 10x Optical Zoom



5 Reviews

  1. Sean says:

    Pros
    -the .mp4 files are OSX friendly and viewable instantly in QuickTime !
    – we had no problem getting these files into Final Cut Xpress 4 or iMovie ’08
    – I was editing these files within minutes of popping the card out of the cam
    – Photos can be plucked out of the video streams at 8mp (4mp interpolated?)
    – the menu interface is clean ,intuitive, and performs well
    – the photos look great, even the ones you capture while viewing video playback
    – the TouchPoint focus can create cool effects
    – colors and automatic levels seem pretty accurate
    – quickly change recording to INTERNAL or SDHC or MMC
    – manual controls are simple sliders (WB, Exposure, Shutter)
    – 90 minute battery life from a small form battery
    – shoots in 4 resolutions : 1080p/30p , 1080i/60i, 480p/60p an 300fps SlowMotion
    – you can be in and out of these resolutions in seconds via QuickMenus
    – shooting this puppy is a breeze, we haven’t even looked at the manual yet
    – nice Slideshow with music functions
    – TouchFocus allows you to focus on different objects in the foreground or background
    – it’s a very small package and feels quite solid for it’s size
    – QuickInfo button displays battery life / memory / resolution even powered off
    -clips can be split, deleted and combined IN CAMERA
    -the phot slideshow can be accompanied by music

    Cons
    – you MUST have the cradle (included) for charging / HDMI out
    – manual controls are very simple …… will be too limiting for hardcore tweakers
    …….. that being said, the automatic levels are about as good as you’ll want
    – no hot shoe
    – no built in light … only pop-up flash
    – photos cannot be cropped or rotated in camera – no red-eye removal tool either
    – the focus drifted on me a few times
    – btw, the focus is a little SLOW
    – the TouchFocus was hit or miss in practice
    -the battery and SD/MMC slot are behind a trap door, probably not going to be an extended run battery

    there’s alot to like about this camera
    the easy to use touchscreen does almost everything I need it to do under normal circumstances
    playback in QUICKTIME is smooth and free of some processing artifacts I noticed when using VLC (nightly) to view .mts files from Panasonics and Canon’s … and that comes in handy if you shot alot of clips and want to get to previewing them quickly and not waiting an hour for it to load into your editor

    I think I’ve narrowed it down to this camera and the Canon hf100. I went to the store and shot some clips with my memory card. I found the .mts file buried in a STREAM subfolder several layers deep.
    The Samsung has a folder called 100video, click on that and there’s your files
    The Canon’s menu is more advanced and offers more options, but it’s also more complex
    but if you can live without advanced manual controls and a mini-hotshoe and want to work with a more friendly file, this Samsung SC_HMX20C is the camcorder to have

    this camcorder works well with a 2.2ghz Macbook with 4gb RAM running OSX Leopard
    Rating: 4 / 5

  2. Noname says:

    OUT OF THE BOX

    What a treat it was to get this camcorder! It comes with a charging stand, which I prefer to just plugging directly into a wall. It took about 1 ½ hours to charge and I have about 90 minutes of recording time on my battery. That is so nice.

    I have a choice of memory cards, either SDHC or MMCplus — or I could go with the internal memory, which gives me 75 minutes in superfine mode. That is a huge plus. There have been many a time when I’ve brought my camera or camcorder with me only to find I’ve forgotten to put a memory card in or the memory card is full. No need to worry here. I have a built-in backup.

    The filmed images at night under incandescent light is somewhat grainy, but I haven’t found a camcorder which wasn’t grainy at night. The graininess is less than my other camcorders, so it’s better than I expected.

    The sound is clean and crisp, no static or distortion. I have no complaints.

    When I zoom, the image is shaky. Whatever stabilization feature the camera has, it’s not enough. I would need a tripod to help with that. Even at wide angle, it takes effort to keep the image stable. My son keeps asking why I’m shaking the camcorder so much. I’m not trying to shake the camcorder.

    Daytime video quality is good. It does take a little time to focus sometimes, but it was fast enough to not bother me. Except for the shakiness, I do like the quality when viewed on my television.

    The menu is intuitive. I have no problem navigating the touchscreen and I realize this isn’t always the case with camcorders. It’s well thought out and I appreciate the ease of use.

    CAMERA FUNCTION

    I can take photos as I film. What a marvelous feature. There have been countless times when I wanted to do both and had to choose. Or maybe I was filming and realized that was a Kodak moment that I missed. I can now do both, and boy have I utilized that feature. This has to be the absolute strongest selling point of this camcorder.

    The flash pops up out of the camcorder and gives plenty of light, but it doesn’t happen if I am taking photos in filming mode. For that, I need to be in camera mode. The red eyes appear less noticeable than in other cameras and there is a strobe feature to reduce red eye.

    The photo resolution is better than any other camcorder I own. I have yet to get my photos back from developing and will update my review when I get them.

    HANDLING

    The size and shape would make the grip a bit awkward, but the swivel grip helps with that. I just wish the record button wasn’t so far down low to the right. It’s just difficult for me to reach that position with my right thumb. It would have been better to locate that button somewhere near the top of the camcorder,

    SOFTWARE

    The software included is Cyberlink DVD Suite. I don’t know what’s wrong, whether it’s my computer or a softward glitch, but I just can’t get it to work. Actually, it’s most likely my ancient computer. I have a Compact Presario SR1930NX with 960 MB of RAM. I work a long time to get the video I want and then it won’t burn the CD and it’s very frustrating. I tried MediaShow and that worked, but it has fewer bells and whistles.

    THE FINER POINTS — details which would make life nice

    The camcorder is missing a neck/shoulder strap. I’m not sure if that is a plus or minus. I found myself wanting one yesterday, when I was lugging it around to film a birthday party. Then again, the strap on my other camcorder was an annoyance. Putting it in and out of the bag, it just kept finding a way to get stuck on Velcro. It was nice not to have a strap to get in the way. I find myself going either way on this feature.

    The lens opens and shuts automatically as needed.. I like that because I never have to remember to close it.

    A small annoyance is the shell is just too shiny on the side with the screen. It just gets covered in my fingerprints. Wish they have made it more like the rest of the body.

    Something I never expected to have but is a nice plus is the slideshow feature. I am used to scrolling through my photos. This is the first time I could play a slideshow to music with fading effects on the camera at the touch of a button That’s so cool. The music only plays when the photos are on the internal memory. Still a nice feature.

    Pros:
    +Nice video quality
    +Good sound
    +Lens opens and closes automatically
    +Take photos while filming
    +Internal memory with about 75 minutes of recording time in superfine mode
    +Long battery life
    +Slideshow feature
    +Pop-up flash
    +Choice of optional memory cards SDHC or MMCplus
    +Good photo quality
    +Intuitive menu

    Cons:
    -Image can be grainy at night
    -Image stabilization could use improvement
    -Record button located in an awkward position
    -Shell is a fingerprint magnet
    -Software didn’t work for me

    Overall, this is a fantastic camcorder. I highly recommend it.

    UPDATE: I got the photos back from Snapfish. They are good and I wouldn’t know they came from a camcorder. Even the ones I took while in filming mode were good. The ones I took in camera mode were better, but only ever so slightly so when taken in daylight. Very nice photo quality, especially for a camcorder.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  3. Darrell W. Moore says:

    I have been watching Mpeg-4 cameras to see if they could become usuable. So far, the stock AVCHD cameras have provided images that were so compressed all they were good for were shoot and display; editing the video was an utter pain. The artifacting made the contrast too hard, and the standard AVCHD file was decidedly unstandard with the streams unmuxed and the framerates inconsistent. Lotsa luck trying to get QuickTime compliant apps like Final Cut to deal with the video.

    The Samsung SC-HMX20 delivers something new: an H264 mpeg-4 file that is not so highly compressed (the 1080p files have a 14.85 mbit/sec bandwidth) and the mpeg wrapper file is fully QuickTime compliant so editing is not a problem. The images aren’t perfect (there’s still artifacting and banding where colors and contrasts converge), but its head and shoulders above any other AVCHD camera. The 1080p image is quite handsome, but sometimes doesn’t handle fast motion so well. The camera claims to shoot in 1080i, but it doesn’t work on the Mac so I haven’t been able to check that. It would be terrific if the camera could shoot both 1080p (for resolution) AND 720p (for fast motion). I guess that’s asking for too much at this price.
    Rating: 4 / 5

  4. D. P. Schroeder says:

    I’ve struggled with deciding on a rating for this camera (3 or 4 stars) because there are so many features on this camera to like, and I really want to like it more than I do. Actually, for my purposes, it’s a 4-star camera, but for most, I believe it will only achieve 3-stars, and that’s based on a few simple observations —

    1) Low light (indoor) performance can be very grainy, especially since the light source/flash only works with stills: with this camera, the brighter the shooting environment the better (up to a point).

    2) Autofocus can be very slow. If you are mounting this camera on a tripod, mainly focusing on details in the distance with very slow, deliberate movements and focal changes, you’ll be fine. This is my main intended use for this camera. However, if you want to use it as a “handy-cam,” you may be disappointed. In filming indoor, close-range action of family members, the lens will take anywhere from 1/2 second to 5 seconds with any significant focal change. The 5-second episodes are where the lens corrects in the wrong direction, goes all the way to the end of that focal length, only to turn around and come back.

    3) Size of shooting frame: this is not really a ding on this camera but to most HD cameras. If you’re filming at a distance, you’re fine, but for close-ups with people, you may find you’re clipping torsos or heads. Keep in mind that at a distance of 6 ft, the size of the 2D plane that you’re capturing is roughly 5ft by 1.5ft (~60in x ~34in = 16:9 HD ratio). Thus, for most, the 10x zoom is nice, but a wide-angle addition (say 0.7x) would really be much more helpful.

    4) There is no 720p mode — only 1080i/p and 480. However, there is a really neat slow-mo feature (in SD only, unfortunately) where one can film a 10 second clip and play it back at 1/5 speed.

    5) The sound quality is quite good, but, probably to avoid operator hand-noise and breathing, they’ve mounted the mics on the bottom of the unit. This is fine in many situations, but if you’re filming while walking, the “clomp clomp clomp” of your footsteps is VERY loud.

    These are the main factors I’d consider crucial in determining if this is the camera for you. For me, it’s quite good, with great optics; wonderful picture quality, color, and sharpness (if filmed in good light); tons of features; and a great docking bay that lets me plug it into an HDMI cable directly to my Panasonic Viera TH-42PZ85U 42-Inch 1080p Plasma HDTV.

    Without going into micro-technical detail…. For my purposes — making HD recordings of concerts (BTW, the external mic input works great), filming students in music lessons with the ability to simply plug in their SDHC card when they start and pulling it out for them to take home when they leave, filming myself for self-critique of my playing, etc., ALL from a tripod, this camera is more than adequate. However, if you’re doing a lot of mobile camcording, you might want to consider some of this camera’s limitations that I’ve outlined here. Good luck with your deliberations and product comparisons….
    Rating: 3 / 5

  5. Adam Dachis says:

    I should preface this review by saying that I don’t own an HMX20, but I’ve spent a lot of time with one to decide if I should and I wanted to share my experiences. What it comes down to, in my opinion, is that this camcorder is attempting to do a lot of things that just aren’t possible yet in its form-factor. It has some really neat features, but when all is said and done if they aren’t practically useful and its functionality as a video recorder doesn’t do quite the job of its competitors it just isn’t worth buying. Unless you’re thinking about buying the Panasonic HDC-SD9 for some reason, I would go with several other cameras before this one.

    That said, there are some cool things. The slow motion feature is very good and works very well. The problem is that if you’re buying a 1080p camcorder, chances are you actually care about having your video in high definition. The slow motion video’s resolution is less than that of standard definition video, so you can’t really use it for anything practical. If you’re just uploading to YouTube or something like that then it’s sufficient, but that’s about it. You can also record at standard definition at a frame rate of 60fps. This is a little more acceptable, however you can easily get this frame rate with the less expensive Sanyo HD1000 and you can get it at 720p.

    Speaking of the HD1000, there is one other similarity I’d like to point out. The HD1000 has a very poor image stabilizer and so does the HMX20. They both are really worst of class in that regard. Auto focus on both units is also sluggish and often inaccurate. Both handle low light about the same, which is okay, and take wonderful video in well-lit places (but how many camcorders don’t?).

    The HMX20 does have a nice feature for focusing, however. It would be more usable if the camcorder could keep the image still, but nonetheless I liked it a lot. You can use the touch screen to just touch the object you want to focus on and it will. It takes 3-4 seconds to finally get around to doing it, but it’s extremely accurate. I’d love to see this implemented in more cameras and camcorders, but with a much faster operation. Canon’s VIXIA line has super-quick auto focus units (Instant AF, as they call it) and an excellent optical image stabilizers (OIS). Paired with this feature, Canon would have a very nice line (not that they don’t already–I think the VIXIA line is pretty much top of class in most features, and definitely top of class overall). Nonetheless, I think this is something we’ll see from Sony first. While their stabilization and autofocus isn’t quite as good as Canon’s, in my opinion, it’s still rather good and at least smoothes out any shaky motion so nobody feels like vomiting after watching your kid waterski for the first time.

    While the HMX20 does record in 1080p, I wouldn’t say the quality of the video is really any better than Canon’s VIXIA line. While I’ve messed around with an HF10, an HV20, an HV30 and an HG10, I’m comparing this specifically to the HF100 that I own and love. The video quality is great for a consumer camcorder, even though it’s faux-30p/24p. I think it’s going to be a couple of years before we start to see proper 1080p. That said, the HMX20 is definitely a world better than Panasonic’s HDC-SD9. That’s probably because that camera uses three standard definition CCD sensors and pretends they’re 1080p, but we’re not talking about the HDC-SD9.

    The body of the HMX20 is a bit bigger than I’d expected. Most cameras in its class are a bit smaller, and if you want something that can handle 1080i or 1080p at pocket size, you’re really only looking at Sony’s HDR-TG1 (although the Sanyo HD1000 is still pretty small and could fit into your pocket uncomfortably). That said, it fits nicely into your hand. It’s easy to move. I don’t really see how the swivel grip is particularly helpful but I do appreciate that you can adjust the camera to fit you comfortably. It’s also pretty good looking on the outside.

    On the inside–which in this case I mean the menu system–it’s also pretty attractive. Not only that, it’s easy to use. Samsung’s organization of features, for the most part, is very straightforward and clear. It’s not hard to find 80-90% of what’s there and you can change settings really quickly. With that in mind, I can’t even begin to understand why they designed the mode switcher the way they did. If you want to switch from video to photo or photo to playback (or playback to video again) you have to press a button. It takes a few seconds and you have to go in linear order, rather than just jumping to the one you want. If the switch were instant it wouldn’t be a big deal, but if you’re on playback and suddenly need to get a photo you’re going to miss it. Six seconds is a long time when something just happens. While I understood that maybe they were a bit rushed with the HMX10, it doesn’t really make sense that they didn’t change this with the HMX20. They had time and, if they read, must have known that nobody liked the way modes switch. So far I have to favorites for switching. Sanyo doesn’t really require it so that’s a plus–you can just take photos any time without issue. Sony’s HDR-TG1 lets you switch by flicking a button. While I don’t prefer this, it’s so fast and the button is so comfortable that it’s actually kind of fun. If I have to switch modes to take a photo, I’d want to do it the way the HDR-TG1 does it. Unfortunately that camcorder takes relatively poor photos, though I did take a couple today and print them out and it wasn’t that bad.

    Photos on the HMX20 are not bad. Once again another company has pushed megapixels over quality and given the HMX20 an 8MP sensor. As a result, pictures are a bit noisier than they ought to be. Nonetheless, it does a decent job for a camcorder. So far I have yet to see a camcorder that can take a picture good enough to warrant using it for that purpose, but if you have a (D)SLR already and don’t want a hybrid device for your everyday pictures (so you don’t have to also buy a point-and-shoot camera) then this should get the job done all right.

    The HMX20 is an AVCHD camera so it comes with all the drawbacks and benefits of being one. This isn’t a review of AVCHD so I won’t get into that, but if you’re unfamiliar with the pros and cons of the format I’d suggest doing a little research before you decide it’s for you–especially if you have a PowerPC Mac (in which case it’s almost definitely not for you).

    There isn’t a whole lot more to say about it. It’s not a bad camcorder and it has some very cool features, but the quality of the video isn’t good enough to warrant buying it regardless of how neat they might be. And they’re more neat in theory than in practice. The touch focus is a very cool idea but not implemented well enough to use in most situations. The slow motion is wonderful and fun but at too low of a resolution to use alongside the HD video you probably bought the thing for. If you’re just planning on using it for its 1080p recording capabilities and its easy-to-use interface and controls, you’ll probably be fairly happy with what you get. That said, if you intend to zoom in on anything you better be able to keep yourself stable, at least.

    Overall, my recommendation would be to get something else. I say that not because this camcorder is bad–it isn’t–but because there are several other options that are better. I expect Samsung to step it up in a year or two. Hopefully for them, the other companies won’t get too far ahead in the same time.
    Rating: 3 / 5

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