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Panasonic SDR-SW20 / SW20E

alaTest has collected and analyzed 187 reviews from magazines and websites. Reviewers really like the design and value for money. The size and usability also get good feedback, but opinions are divided on the image quality. There are some critical reviews about the zoom and resolution.

portability, usability, size, value for money, design

battery, features, resolution, zoom

We analyzed user and expert ratings, product age and more factors. Compared to other Camcorders the Panasonic SDR-SW20 / SW20E is awarded an overall alaScore™ of 83/100 = Very good quality.

See all Panasonic Camcorders

Review analysis

(Based on 187 reviews)

Expert Reviews  

User Reviews  

Showing 44 review(s)

Expert Reviews User Reviews
Showing 1 - 10 of 44 Show Reviews: in English | in other languages (68)

Expert review by:

Panasonic SDR-SW20 (Silver)


For those who need a compact, weatherproof camcorder that can take some abuse and only plan on sharing the results online, the Panasonic SDR-SW20 may be of interest. Otherwise there are plenty of pocket camcorders that produce the same or better video...

Waterproof to 5 feet with decent results.

Poor performance and image quality; insecure handstrap; relatively expensive.

The Panasonic SDR-SW20's only saving grace is its water-, shock-, and dust-proof body (and even those have limitations). Otherwise, there's no reason to buy this pocket camcorder.

Expert review by:

Panasonic SDR-SW20


If you're an extreme sports person and want a camcorder to stand up to some punishment, then the SW20 can hold its own. However, prepare for detail to be minimal in low light, but great when the sun is shining. Plan on using this footage on a DVD, with...

Easy to download with only a USB cordSturdy, can be dropped up to 4 feet with no damageWaterproof to 5 feet for 30 minutesPerfect for the active outdoor personCool to have, looks sharp

While I am a huge fan of standard definition camcorders, there is no bias..

Expert review by:

Panasonic SDR-SW20 Camcorder Review


The Panasonic SDR-SW20 ($399 MSRP) is an extremely compact camcorder designed for underwater use. Eschewing a traditional look and feel, the SDR-SW20 has a rough-textured finish that should make it easier to grip in the undercurrents. Shooting in...


Expert review by:

Waterproof Camcorders


Forget Home Videos, that was the old trend. Now It's Underwater Videos with brand new waterproof camcorders. They work great for those vacationing families always on the go and can also take great pictures and videos on that ocean cruise you're...

Expert review by:

Panasonic SDR-SW20


With a single 1/6-inch CCD (gross pixel count of 640,000), don't expect much. In fact, our testing showed the SDR-SW20's video quality to be quite poor. Low resolution and excessive graininess were the biggest problems. Colors appeared dull even under...

Panasonic has a clearly marked Auto mode on all its camcorders, which allows for simple point-and-shoot operation. Given the target audience of carefree vacationers, most shooters will keep the SDR-SW20 keep it locked up in Auto mode. Fortunately, the...

Expert review by:

Panasonic SDR-SW20


The Panasonic SDR-SW20 ($399 MSRP) is an extremely compact camcorder designed for underwater use. Eschewing a traditional look and feel, the SDR-SW20 has a rough-textured finish that should make it easier to grip in the undercurrents. Shooting in...

Expert review by:

Panasonic SDR SW20 camcorder


The Panasonic SDR SW20 does not pretend to be a full blast underwater camera; at a maximum rated depth of 1.5 metres, this is way out of the range a dedicated SCUBA diver wants or needs. But for the shooter who wants a go-anywhere, small and tough...

Consumer review by:

Its like better than you has to be


Small enough to fit into your pocket, espcially BDU type pants ; Video is much better than other small SD cameras. (Mino) ; Perfect to use with two small children learning to swim (Rugid/H2O proof)

Still pictures are not the highest quality but sort of what you'd expect ; No stablization

Consumer review by:

"1st one lasted 2 wks. It just stopped trying to preview"


1st one only lasted 2 weeks failing on vacation

Great for snorkeling, beach, pool, water rides

Quality of still picture

Consumer review by:

A small body with a mediocre image quality


Got one from B&H about two weeks ago. Very small, stylish body but a bit awkward to hold since it does not have a hand strap and the zoom buttons seem to have been placed for a 3 year old hand. I could get around of this if ... Expand full review

Damage proof, compact

Poor image definition and faded colors

Product Specifications

Panasonic's SDR-SW20 compact SD camcorder is built tough so you can shoot in places never before possible. Take it underwater as deep as 5 feet for great video in the pool or ocean. Waterproofing also means you can shoot in the rain or snow with no worries. The SW20 is also shockproof, resisting damage even if dropped from a height of up to 4 feet with improved fortification inside and out. A dustproof design keeps the camcorder safe even if handled with dirty hands or used in a place with swirling dust. Take it to the beach or sports field without worrying about sand. And since its waterproof, simply wash it with water when it gets dirty. This product is small enough to slip in a pocket or bag. Cool enough to take everywhere you go. This is one stylish camcorder you'll never want to be without. The SW20 SD camcorder starts up to record quickly. In Quick Start mode, recording begins in just 0.6 seconds from the time the LCD is opened. This lets you catch those sudden shooting opportunities. The USB port allows you to connect directly to a DVD burner. And copying a recording from an SD card to a DVD disc is as easy as selecting from the menu. To view your video, simply take the SD card from the camcorder and slip it into any TV or DVD player with an SD card slot; there are no cables to worry about. First, transfer the motion-image data from the SD card to your PC using your PC's USB port. Then with the included MotionSD STUDIO 1.3E software, you can easily put scenes in a different order, delete the ones you don't want, and add a wide variety of video effects. Save your results by burning your video production onto DVD.

Audio Input

Microphone Operation Mode:Stereo


Battery Form Factor:Manufacturer specific

Camcorder Features

Low Lux / Night Mode: Yes
Widescreen Video Capture: Yes

Digital Camera

Supported Flash Memory:MultiMediaCard / SD Memory Card / SDHC Memory Card

Dimensions & Weight


Display (Projector)

Diagonal Size:2.7in
Diagonal Size (metric):6.9cm
Display Form Factor:Rotating
Technology:TFT active matrix
Type:LCD display


Packaged Quantity:1
Product Line:Panasonic

Lens System

Lens Aperture:F/1.8-2.4
Max Focal Length:23mm
Min Focal Length:2.3mm
Optical Zoom:10
Type:Zoom lens


Underwater Use: Yes

Optical Sensor

Camcorder Effective Still Resolution:0.35Megapixel
Camcorder Effective Video Resolution:340Kpix
Camcorder Sensor Resolution:680Kpix
Optical Sensor Size:1/6"
Optical Sensor Size (metric):4.2 mm ( 1/6 ) / 4.2 mm ( 1/6" )
Optical Sensor Type:CCD
Sensor Qty:1CCD

Optical System

Image Stabilizer:Electronic

Storage Floppy Drive

Type: None

Video Input

Analog Video Format:NTSC
Digital Video Format:MPEG-2
Digital Zoom:700
Media Type:Flash card
Shooting Modes:Digital photo mode
Still Image Format:JPEG