Hands-On Review: Waterproof Handheld Camcorders

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If you and your family or friends are headed to the beach, pool or lake this summer, then you owe it to yourself to check out this video roundup of waterproof camcorders. It covers four models: the Samsung HMX-W300, the Toshiba Camileo BW10, the Sony Bloggie Sport and the DXG’s 5B1V. The first three are all handheld, point-and-shoot camcorders, while the DXG-5B1V is designed more like a traditional camcorder. Each camera has its own unique features that separate it from the other models, but they’re all durable enough to survive your family summer vacation.

The Samsung HMX-W300 shoots Full HD 1920 x 1080p video at 30 frames per second (fps), as well as 5.5-megapixel still images. Plus, it features My Clip functionality and it comes with built-in Intelli-Studio software. The Toshiba Camileo BW10 is another waterproof point-and-shoot camcorder. It will stay dry down to a depth of 6.5' (2 m) while still shooting Full HD 1920 x 1080p video at 30 fps. It can capture 5-megapixel still images as well. The last of the point and shoot style models is the Sony Bloggie Sport. It’s capable of shooting Full HD 1920 x 1080p video at 30 fps and 5-megapixel still images. It features a touch display and an image-stabilization feature. Besides being waterproof, the Bloggie Sport is also dust proof and shockproof.

The DXG-5B1V is the last camcorder in the roundup; it’s also the most traditional model. However, it still shoots 1920 x 1080p video at 30 fps, as well as up to 12-megapixel interpolated still images. So, before you go hiking, swimming, surfing or paddling this summer, be sure to watch the video and figure out which waterproof camcorder is right for you. That way you’ll be able to bring all of your great memories home with you to share on your HDTV or upload to your favorite sharing sites on the Web.

  Samsung W300 Toshiba Camileo BW10 Sony Bloggie Sport HD Camera DXG-5B1V
Image Sensor 5MP 1/3.2" BSI CMOS 5MP BSI CMOS 5.15MP 1/4" DSP Exmor CMOS with RGB primary color mosaic filters - 0.18" (4.5mm) 5MP 1/3.2" CMOS
Lens 29.6mm wide-angle lens Fixed Fixed Fixed
Aperture Not Specified F2.8 F2.8 F3.2
Focal Length (35 mm Equiv.) Not Specified Not Specified Photo: 47mm (16:9), 41mm (4:3); Video: 47mm (16:9) 5.1mm
Lens Groups-Elements Not Specified Not Specified 4 groups; 4 elements Not Specified
Focus Range Not Specified Not Specified Minimum distance: 4.0" (10 cm) Normal: 36" - infinity (91.4 cm - infinity); Macro Wide: 8 - 18" (20.3 - 45.7 cm); Macro Middle: 4 - 18" (10.2 - 45.7 cm); Macro Tele: 2 - 18" (5.1 - 45.7 cm)
Zoom 3x (digital) 10x (digital) Still Image Playback Zoom Movie/Camera Zoom: 4x (digital); Still Image Playback Zoom: 8x (max)
Internal Flash Memory N/A N/A 4GB 128MB (98MB available)
Recording Media microSD SD, SDHC, SDXC (up to 64GB) N/A SD, SDHC (up to 16GB)
Metering Modes Not Specified Not Specified Center Weighted Not Specified
ISO Not Specified Not Specified Auto, 80 - 800 Not Specified
White Balance Auto Auto Auto Auto, Sunny, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent
Image Stabilization Yes (digital) Yes (digital) Yes (Steadyshot Image Stabilization) N/A
Waterproof To 16.4' (5 m) To 6.6' (2 m) To 16.4' ( 5 m) Yes (IPX8)
Dust Proof Yes Yes Yes Yes
Shockproof To 6.6' (2 m) N/A Yes N/A
Self-Timer N/A 10 sec. OFF / 10 sec. OFF / 5 sec. / 10 sec.
Shutter Speeds Auto Not Specified Auto 1/30 - 1/4000 sec 1 - 1/2000 sec
EV Compensation Not Specified Not Specified Not Specified ±2.0EV
AF Modes Autofocus Auto Focus Auto Macro - 4.0" ( 10 cm) Not Specified
Focus Area Not Specified Not Specified Center Weighted AF Not Specified
Interfaces HDMI x 1; USB 2.0 x 1 HDMI x 1; Mini-USB 2.0 x 1 Mini HDMI x 1; Flip-out USB 2.0 x 1 HDMI x 1; USB 2.0 x 1
Still Image Format JPEG Not Specified JPEG JPEG (DPOF, EXIF)
Still Image Resolution 5.5MP/4:3 (2720 x 2040); 3MP/4:3 (2048 x 1536); 2MP/16:9 (1920 x 1080); VGA 0.3MP/4:3 (640 x 480) 0.3MP (640 x 480); 0.9MP (1280 x 720); 5MP (2592 x 1944); 2MP (1920 x 1080) 5MP/4:3 (2592 x 1944); 3.1MP/16:9 (2356 x 1324); 0.4MP/16:9 (854 x 480) 3MP, 5MP, 8MP, 12MP (firmware interpolated)
Video System NTSC/PAL NTSC NTSC/PAL NTSC/PAL
Video Format H.264 MP4 (H.264) MP4 / MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) H.264 (AVI)
Video Resolution 1920 x 1080/30p (17 Mbps); 1920 x 1080/25p (17 Mbps); 1280 x 720/30p (8 Mbps); 1280 x 720/25p (8 Mbps) FHD 1920 x 1080/30p; HD 1280 x 720/30p; VGA 640 x 480 (30 fps) 12MP (1920 x 1080/30p); 6MP (1280 x 720/60p); 4MP (1280 x 720/30p); 8MP (480 x 720/30p) Movie Resolution: QVGA (30 fps), WVGA (60 fps), 1280 x 720/60p, 1920 x 1080/30p; EIS Function: WVGA (60 fps), 1280 x 720/60p
Recording / Playback Times Not Specified 64GB SD Card (video): 10 hrs @ 1080p; 1GB SD Card (photos): 5MP (604 photos), 2MP (1,428 photos) Full HD: 40 min; HD @ 60 fps: 80 min; HD @ 30 fps: 120 min; SD: 480 min Not Specified
Audio Format AAC Not Specified MPEG-4 AAC Not Specified
Built-In Microphone Yes Yes Yes (mono) Yes
Built-In Speaker Yes Yes Yes (mono) Yes
LCD Screen 2.3" (5.8 cm) LCD with 230K pixels 2.0" (5.1 cm) LCD 2.7" (6.9 cm) LCD touch screen with full screen playback & 230K pixels 3.0" (7.6 cm) TFT LCD with 960 x 240 pixels
Video Light / Flash N/A Yes (light & flash) LED video light LED Video Light (ON/OFF Mode): 2.0 - 3.0' (0.6 - 0.9 m) range; Camera Strobe Flash (Auto/OFF Mode): 3.0 - 5.0' (0.9 - 1.5 m) range
Features Tripod screw N/A Advanced User Interface (easy-to understand graphic display); Face Detection; Date/Time Stamp; Erase/Protect; Media/Battery Indicator; Power Save Mode with Auto Shut-Off; Dual Record Auto Power Off Mode: OFF, 1 min, 5 min; Color Effects: Natural, Black & White, Sepia
Power Requirements USB batttery charging 1.17 hrs (battery video recording time) NP-SP70 3.6V internal battery; Camera Mode Power Consumption: 1.4W; Recording Mode Power Consumption (720p @ 30 fps): 1.5W NP40 lithium-ion battery
System Requirements Not Specified Windows XP (SP3), Vista, 7; Available USB 2.0 port; Free 1GB system hard disk space; 1GB RAM; DVD-ROM Windows XP (SP3), Vista (SP1), 7 (32-bit only); Mac OS X 10.3 - 10.7; PC Software: Play Memories Home v 10 (via download); Mac Software: Share-It-Later for Bloggie (via download); Windows Image Mastering API(IMAPI) v 2.0 or later is required to use the function for creating discs; Mac (via download) Windows XP, Vista, 7; Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHz CPU or higher (3 GHz recommended); At least 1GB of RAM or higher (1GB recommended); 64MB or greater video card; Standard USB 1.1/2.0 port; At least 200MB of available disk space
Dimensions 2.3 x 4.4 x 0.7" (5.8 x 11.2 x 1.8 cm) 2.17 x 4.21 x 0.9" (5.5 x 10.7 x 2.3 cm) 2.35 x 4.59 x 0.83" (5.96 x 11.65 x 2.1 cm) 5.0 x 2.75 x 2.24" (12.7 x 7.0 x 5.7 cm)
Weight 4.8 oz (136 g) 3.47 oz (99 g) without battery 5.22 oz (148 g) 10.47 oz (296.8 g) without battery