[Read our full Panasonic HDC-SD80 Review
Holding up the bottom end are the Panasonic SD80
, HS80, and TM80. These aren’t even Panasonic’s entry-level models -- that distinction belongs to the SD40 and TM40 -- but for price comparison purposes, we’re including them in this roundup. So even though these are technically mid-range camcorders in the Panny lineup, they’re in the bush leagues compared to the Canon and Sony models here. Panasonic knows how to cobble together a great touch-based interface and fun shooting modes, and the 34x zoom range is quite long. But these 80-series camcorders just don’t shoot good videos. Even in bright lighting, scenes look washed out, and low-lit areas are pretty much impossible to shoot with these cameras. The card-only SD80 is the cheapest of the bunch -- far cheaper than Sony’s basic CX130, too, but not worth wasting the cash. The TM80 has 8GB of built-in flash memory and the HS80 has a 120GB hard disk, but otherwise, all of the same performance problems as the bare bones model. Skip these camcorders.