A couple of weeks ago I received a Panasonic A500 wearable video camera. I didn’t know what to make of it at first, with its full head encompassing strap and small point-of-view camera that rests at eye level. The camera is attached via a cable to the main unit, which has a LCD screen, allowing users to view their footage as they film it. Once you place the LCD unit in the handy arm band strap, you’re ready to head off to film your first adventure!
It’s not really that easy. The video camera needs to be set up first, and the handy Panasonic manual can help you with that. There’s a small joystick on the front of the main unit that will aid in the set up and once you figure out how to maneuver that little button, things really start to come together. Before I go any further, let me tell you some of my favorite features of the Panasonic A500:
The camera is waterproof, allowing users to take video underwater down to 3 meters deep for up to 30 minutes of recording.
The camera is dust proof, so no more worrying about sand particles at the beach.
This doesn’t seem possible, but the camera records with image quality four times better than full HD resolution, giving users beautiful movies and images. It’s really amazing to see how far technology has come since my Polaroid instant camera!
The camera has a level shot and image stabilizer that straightens out tilted images and prevents blurring, making nice, crisp images.
The camera is super light weight, coming in at 31 grams (that’s just over an ounce for those that need the conversion). I can throw it in my purse and take it anywhere because it weighs next to nothing!
With wi-fi features, you can easily manage the video footage by connecting to your devices and share to social media immediately if you so desire. (Just download the Pansonic Image App and you’re on your way).
Beneath the screen is a small, joystick-like control that acts as the operation center, allowing the user to view their recordings, use the wi-fi, and use the menu. Once you learn your way around the joystick (the manual does a nice job of explaining set up), you can control everything you need for filming your first video.
The handy arm strap that cradles the LCD allows you to watch what you record in real time and be hands free.
Exploring Disney World
My first opportunity to try out the camera was on the Kalahari Rapids ride at Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World. I loaned my camera to a fellow TMOM’s child because I didn’t want to get soaked on the ride. (Bad memories from a previous trip). Let’s just say her kids were pretty excited to try out the new A500. Here’s some of the crystal clear footage of their ride.
Think that’s cool? That evening we went to see the “Illuminations” fireworks show at Epcot. The show was spectacular when watching it live, but the video footage is equally amazing. Here’s some of what you will see should you decide to visit Epcot:
I also captured a still shot from the video. I love firework shows and I find it nearly impossible to shoot a good image. Love this one from my Panasonic A500!
Trying it underwater
When I returned from Florida, my kids were super excited to try out the Panasonic A500. Their first video attempt was a soccer game, but the footage was sideways. We had a vacation scheduled to Phoenix a week later and the kids were super excited to try out the A500 in grandma and grandpa’s swimming pool. They started arguing of course over who was going to use it first. They were even brainstorming potential filming locations including hiking in the desert, running with the dog in the backyard, and playing football at the park. For them, the possibilities for the Panasonic A500 are endless.
After we unpacked, they headed straight for the pool. Believe me, they were not about to go in without the A500. They tried cannon balls, splashing, you name it, and came up with a cool underwater clip. What I love about this video is not only can you see underwater, but when the camera comes out of the water, the image is crystal clear. You’ll also notice that my son is watching the whole thing on the handheld LCD. The quality is just beautiful.
What you should know
Now that I’ve told you about the wonderful video capabilities, let me tell you what I don’t love about the Panasonic A500.
The fit is difficult to get used to – The point of view camera is attached to an adjustable headband that goes around the back of your head. In order to firmly secure it, you will need to attach the rubber strap so the unit will completely encompass your head. This can be uncomfortable and if you’re going to be in the sun for a long time, wear your sunscreen or you’ll have a horrible tan line. Better yet, throw a hat on your head and make the unit a little less conspicuous.
The battery life can be fickle – I have not had any problems with battery life, but some of my fellow TMOMs complain of the unit needing recharging every couple of hours. Not a problem if you’re prepared, but it could be a really bummer if you have something you really want to record only to find you have a dead battery.
Kids will never give it back – This I have learned from experience. Once I allowed my children to experiment with the A500, they wanted to keep it for themselves. They videotape themselves in the yard, riding bikes, and playing baseball. There is no end to their imagination and as long as the battery is charged, this camera will provide them with hours of entertainment. The problem is, I may never see it again.
The Panasonic A500 is lightweight, easy to use, and takes amazing video. I’m looking forward to seeing everything from my kids point of view of course. At this point, there’s no way I’m getting it back!
Would you try a point of view camera? What would you want to film?
And today’s your lucky day! You can register for a chance to win your own Panasonic A500 and have your own #PanasonicAdventure. Just fill out the Rafflecopter entry form below and join us for our #TMOM Twitter party on Monday, May 18th at 9pm EST!
As part of the TMOM Retreat, I received a Panasonic A500 camera for review. As always, all opinions expressed here are my own.