This review was originally posted November 23, 2008.
Samsung SC-MX20 Flash Memory Camcorder w/34x Optical Zoom (Black)
The Samsung SC-MX20 isn’t a camera for the filmmaker. It’s for moms who want to just point and shoot.
The very first thing I notice out of the box is it’s compact and light weight. Weighing in with the battery, it’s less than 12 ounces. It weighs less than my Sony Handycam or my Sharp Viewcam or even the Samsung SC-HMX20C. That is a real plus, because I just can’t stand to lug my camcorders around because of the bulk and weight and thus I miss out on filming some memorable moments.
I charged it up and it was up and running very quickly. My son kept wanting me to film him and I told him to wait, wait, but when I came out not long after plugging it in, my camcorder flashed green. It was ready to go!
I started filming right away. In dim light, the picture was pretty grainy, but it’s like that with my Handycam. Outdoors in sunlight, the video was acceptable. It was still slightly grainy, but not noticeably so. The focus wasn’t very quick, but not so much that it bothered me. The sound was nice. The zoom was significant, but then a tripod would be needed, because the image becomes very shaky. Objects in the distance, when not zoomed on, are unclear. I had a neighbor wave at me, but I couldn’t see her face on film.
I wanted to take the SDHC card out and read it on my computer, but unfortunately, my computer is too ancient and the card reader only reads SD cards, not SDHC, so I have to buy a new reader.
I plugged the camera into my tv via cable, and everything shows up nicely.
I used a USB cable to transfer the video to my computer and the transfer took a few minutes, though I had only recorded a few minutes worth of film.
The camcorder came with Media Show software. The software was nice but not completely intuitive. It makes a nice video out of the clips, but I think I would need to upgrade it or else it is very limited. Of course, that’s how it always is with included software.
The printed manual is very basic, just enough to get you going. There is a manual on CD, which I haven’t read, but I don’t like manuals on disc, so I’d only consult that if I was really lost.
There is one minor annoyance for me and that is the lens. It doesn’t open and close automatically. I have to remember to flip a switch to close it. I’m not used to that and have left it open by accident a few times. I’m afraid the lens will get scratched before I get in the habit of closing it. Not a problem for some people, but it is for me. If it didn’t have a lens that closed, I’d like a lens cap that comes off and is an annoyance so that I’m reminded to close the lens.
The swivel grip is nice, because it’s so compact that it needs the swivel to make the grip less awkward.
The battery life is good. I’ve been playing with this uploading movies, filming and such since I charged it up yesterday and it has about 2 hours of battery life left. That’s very good.
The memory card I used (bought separately) has 8 MB of memory and there are about 3 hours of recording time on the superfine setting.
Overall, this is a nice started camcorder, something for someone who just wants to point and shoot.
+ small, lightweight
+ easy point and shoot, not frills operation
+ good zoom capability
+ good battery life
+ long recording time
- slightly grainy (but acceptable to me) image
- no built-in memory
- zoomed image is shaky
- lens doesn’t open and close automatically
- no frills, no bells and whistles, no camera function
This product was provided for review by the Amazon Vine program.