A couple of weeks ago I was invited to GO Ape! An assault course set in the treetops which allows you to swing, climb and slide your way through a maze of high level obstacles. The trip was designed to test a number of tough cameras and camcorders from Panasonic, I was given the TA20 to review over the course of the day.
At the start of the day we were given the cameras to explore on the ground, we dropped them in tanks of water and tested the different features. The TA20 uses robust rubber covers to stop water, dust and general pocket lint ruining the camera – these covers are tight! The battery cover was tricky to open, although that’s pretty important when you are relying on the camera to be watertight and dirt proof – we certainly put the cameras through plenty of that throughout the day.
The Panasonic HM-TA20 is waterproof, shockproof and is capable of recording Full HD videos, as well as taking 8-megapixel photos. It can record videos in 1080p, 720p and 480p, at 30 frames per second. It even has an LED video light right next to the lens. It records H.264 MP4 files to an SD card, with AAC audio in stereo, except for its audio recording function that uses LPCM for the highest quality.
We were up the trees for roughly 4 hours, by the time I slid down the final zip wire the TA20’s battery was on its last bar – not bad when you consider it hadn’t been off for a single second. It has suffered some minor surface scratches due to the constant knocking against trees and it being dragged along underneath me when I came to a high speed stop after the five zip wires. Despite this the camera still functioned perfectly without any detriment to quality. The wrist strap performed well and the the camera is light enough to carry at all times, even with full safety harnesses and ropes flailing all over the place.
The below video is a culmination of everybody’s video from the day, there was probably a lot more but this is a PG 13 campaign. All of the video was shot on Panasonic home camcorders, saved to SD and then cut together to produce the video.
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The day was great fun, the cameras performed well and I would have no trouble recommending the Panasonic TA20 to anyone using a camera in adverse or simply unusual conditions.
The HM-TA20’s design is great and the metallic orange color is impressive. It is comfortable to hold, and though it is a little thicker compared to other devices, it can still be carried all the time without it weighing you down.
TA20’s ruggedness is a strong feature and it’s really safe and reliable underwater and up trees! For those who don’t take good care of their devices, this camcorder is perfect for you.
The device’s 3-inch touch screen that is not that responsive and it only has digital zoom, so there’s loss in image quality, so we don’t encourage using it.