Panasonic PV-L558 VHS-C Analog Camcorder Camcorders

Panasonic PV-L558 VHS-C Analog Camcorder Camcorders 


The PV-L558 is difficult to differentiate from older VHS-C camcorders made by Panasonic. The same tall, linear look and feel that has dominated the Palmcorder line since its inception is present in this model--and the addition of the 3.2-inch LCD monitor tends to exaggerate the typical Palmcorder boxiness and bulkiness. In other words, it's small enough to be categorized as a compact camcorder, but just barely.


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[Jul 29, 2009]


Well built and durable.

Can take extended batteries for extra recording time.

Has the expected basic controls (shutter, backlight, titling, etc.)

To save battery power or in dim light the fold out "scope" finder can also be used. A lot of camcorders either don't have this today or it's built in the top of the camcorder and nonadjustable.

If you still have a VCR you can buy an adapter and play your tapes in it.

Better than nothing.


Whiles it was possible to get two hours from a T-40 tape in SLP mode, the practical limit was more like 20 minutes. I've heard from several sources that the VHS-C format was capable of much better quality than the camcorders of the time could produce, mainly because the format was marketed for low cost.

To copy the tapes on a computer will require a capture card with composite inputs. Hard to believe that was once considered a high end accessory, and your videos will be 320X240 in resolutions.

For the day it was typical sized, now it's considered bulky.

Age and time catches up to everything.

I had one of these about three years ago. It was one of a whole series of VHS-C cameras that used the same basic "engine" (chassis and tape drive) but varied in the accessories such as lights, displays/viewers, and general bells and whistles. One version even had an internal 8MB flash memory to store single pictures, which was downloaded by a proprietary serial cable.

My interest in this camcorder was after a bad experience with an 8mm camcorder that shortly developed the eternal-eject-the-tape problem. These early VHS-C camcorders are almost bulletproof. The 558 also stands out for having a flip open LCD display back when these were a rarity. Today it's low res and has a slow refresh, but in 1998 it was great.

As with anything analog time has passed it by, and what made this camcorder so appealing, namely the ability to record to tapes that could play on a standard VCR with an adapter, is now meaningless. Even cheap flash camcorders can now put it to shame.

Customer Service

Didn't use.

Similar Products Used:

At least two other analog camcorders, one Mini-DV, and a new flash based camcorder.

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