Product Reviews

HX-WA03: Active Lifestyle Full HD Camcorder

Comfortable grip design fits firmly in your hand Waterproof, Freeze proof, Dustproof sealed body suits an active lifestyle 16 Megapixel photo capture modes for sharp looking pictures
Overall:
3.875
3.9
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Snapshot (8 reviews)
5 stars
2
4 stars
5
3 stars
0
2 stars
0
1 star
1
7 of 8(88%)reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Questions & Answers:
11 Questions | 12 Answers
Customer Reviews for HX-WA03: Active Lifestyle Full HD Camcorder
Review 1 for HX-WA03: Active Lifestyle Full HD Camcorder
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Ease of Use
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
My product experience:
Extremely Dissatisfied
4
Extremely Satisfied
Helen
Location: Princeton, NJ
I have owned this product for: 1–3 months
I use this product: at least once per month
I have purchased the following product: N/A
I found this support type most helpful: None
Panasonic Early Adopter: No
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Great camera
Date:September 25, 2013
Pros: Inexpensive, Durable, Convenient
Cons: somewhat difficult to take pictures
"I took my HX-WA3 on a recent trip to Aruba and was thrilled with the ability to take it with me on the beach without worrying about sand or water getting into it. The manual that comes with the camera is good, but the Advanced Features manual is definitely worth downloading.
The battery life and time it takes to recharge were very good and I only had to recharge once because I wanted to make sure I don’t run out of power during a snorkeling trip. It was great taking this camera with us on the boat and being able to film my daughter during her first snorkeling adventure. I have wonderful underwater videos of her swimming around and feeding the fish.
I loved the pistol grip, as it was easy to use and easy to switch from video to pictures. The only issue I had with this camera was taking stills. The camera takes a little longer to focus and it takes some getting used to until you figure out if it actually took the picture. The few times I asked other people to take a picture of my daughter and I, they weren't able to do it.
Overall, I have amazing pictures and videos from my trip and it was great to have the peace of mind that the camera wouldn't get damaged by sand or water. I will not go on any more vacations without this little gem!"
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Review 2 for HX-WA03: Active Lifestyle Full HD Camcorder
Overall Rating
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Quality
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Ease of Use
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Features
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
My product experience:
Extremely Dissatisfied
1
Extremely Satisfied
My customer support experience:
Extremely Dissatisfied
1
Extremely Satisfied
Jim
Location: Naples, FL, USA
I have owned this product for: less than a month
I use this product: at least once per week
I have purchased the following product: N/A
I found this support type most helpful: Panasonic customer support line
Panasonic Early Adopter: No
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
Photoshop - incompatible
Date:August 11, 2013
Pros: Compact
Cons: Did not meet expectations, Poor documentation, incompatible with adobe photoshop
"I am very disappointed in the camcorder. I have had an order in the system at my dealer for several months waiting for its release. I do extensive International travel. Lots of photos and some video. I liked the style and ease of use of this camera. Shot some practice videos at the local zoo. Playback is great on the unit and on the provided software. I use Adobe Photoshop Premier 11 for video editing. The videos from this camcorder are NOT compatible with Photoshop (or Photoshop Elements 11). We shot the same video with 2 different brands of camcorders. Tried playback on 2 different computers. One playback was perfect. The playback with Photoshop is a series of hesitations. Checked with both Panasonic and my dealer. Fortunately the dealer will take it back in exchange for another brand. This Panasonic WA-03 is unacceptable for use with Photoshop. There is no mention or warning of this incompatibility in the Panasonic Manual for the unit."
2 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Review 3 for HX-WA03: Active Lifestyle Full HD Camcorder
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Quality
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Ease of Use
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Features
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
My product experience:
Extremely Dissatisfied
4
Extremely Satisfied
Bill
Location: Hartford, Conn.
I have owned this product for: less than a month
I use this product: more than once per day
I have purchased the following product: N/A
I found this support type most helpful: None
Panasonic Early Adopter: No
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Great value if you like to shoot digital video
Date:July 22, 2013
Pros: Inexpensive, Compact, Exceeded expectations
Cons: hate all the colors except black
"I've tested the HX-WA3 for just a week but did get to put it through its paces. First, the video is superb. The camera is easy to use and it even shoots very acceptable stills. To utilize all of the camera's features you must download the "Advanced Features" manual since the one that comes with the unit is just too basic.
The viewfinder is more than adequate and while the controls look complicated at first, they aren't once you have used them for a while. It takes some practice to shoot holding the camera in one hand. The zoom is very effective but it has no speed control so the transitions from wide angle to telephone are abrupt. I've learned to live with that. Only about 10X of the 18X zoom are truly optical but 10X is plenty if you do a little planning.
It is also easy to tip the camera slightly when shooting with the pistol grip design. I've glued a tiny bubble level to the top of my camera and that really helps.
Battery life and recharge time are more than adequate and I've found it easiest to simply recharge it via the USB cable plugged into my PC or laptop.
When you stop shooting, it is necessary to change your grip slightly and when you do, you will change the camera to subject alignment. Knowing that, you can compensate in editing.
Read that manual and find the "wind cut" feature. It does a great job of cutting down annoying wind blast. I wish many professional cameras had that feature. Ditto with the stabilization feature. Turn it on and forget it. Jitter is really minimized.
If you really enjoy shooting video, you'll definitely want to install the optional SD card. I used a 32 GB card and that allows me to shoot more than I could ever use. Also, if you want to preview your video on a TV, you'll need an HDMI cable with a micro HDMI connector at one end. If you aren't picky, you can use the component video cables that come with the camera. I shoot at 1080/30 frames and component video doesn't do that kind of resolution justice.
While it isn't mentioned anywhere in the specs, this camera does have a sturdy tripod socket in the base of the pistol grip. I used that to mount the camera on the bridge of my boat and then shot a 7.5 minute video sequence of our boat leaving the dock and heading out into the ocean in a light mist and aganst a 10 MPH wind while we were going about 10 MPH right into it. The video is as good as I could have shot with my professional equipment. There is no wind blast and even "hands off" at the widest zoom setting, the video is remarkably clean as is the sound of us talking.
Put this innovative and inexpensive little camera in your pocket and shoot really good video wherever you go."
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
Review 4 for HX-WA03: Active Lifestyle Full HD Camcorder
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Ease of Use
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
My product experience:
Extremely Dissatisfied
5
Extremely Satisfied
My customer support experience:
Extremely Dissatisfied
4
Extremely Satisfied
  • Verified Purchaser
annadi515
Location: Philadelphia, PA
I have owned this product for: 1–3 months
I use this product: more than once per day
I have purchased the following product: Digital still camera
I found this support type most helpful: None
Panasonic Early Adopter: Yes
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
  • Verified Purchaser
Great camera
Date:August 23, 2013
Pros: Inexpensive, Compact, Easy to use, Durable, Exceeded expectations, Convenient, good quality
"This camera is great. It does everything that I expected it to and more and on top of it all it's waterproof. Love the fact that I can easily shoot video and instantly switch to taking pictures and love the fact that I can take pictures while shooting video. This way you get the best of both worlds.
The camera is very easy to operate, the user interface is great and very intuitive and I was able to start using it within minutes of unpacking it. It is very compact, like the pistol grip design and how comfortably it fits in my hand.
The waterproof design is great. Spent two week on the beach with my 1 year old son where we used the camera extensively. It was taken under water, covered with sand and it still works great.
On top of it all, the quality of the pictures and videos is amazing. There are many different shooting modes and the pictures and videos came out great in all modes.
Overall, I am very pleased with this camera. I have been using it pretty much daily taking pictures and videos and don't have anything negative to report."
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Review 5 for HX-WA03: Active Lifestyle Full HD Camcorder
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Quality
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Ease of Use
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Features
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
My product experience:
Extremely Dissatisfied
4
Extremely Satisfied
  • Verified Purchaser
Nurse Mom
Location: Trumbull, CT, USA
I have owned this product for: 1–3 months
I use this product: at least once per week
Panasonic Early Adopter: Yes
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
  • Verified Purchaser
Great item!
Date:August 15, 2013
Pros: Compact, Easy to use, Convenient
"I have really been enjoying using this camcorder.
As a mom with a million things in my bag, this was perfect to capture my kids all the time, being 2-in-1. You cannot beat the fact that it's a camcorder and a digital camera in one.
The camera is sleek, fits comfortably in my (small) hand, and the bright orange color makes it so easy to spot. There aren't that many buttons which makes it uncomplicated and mistake-proof. I had to play around a couple times to find the 'delete' function, but it's simple.
There are some very cool color options - black& white, sepia, and the option of keeping it all black&white but having one color highlighted.
Once I recorded video and took photos, I uploaded on my MAC. I couldn't believe how great everything looked. The colors came out so clear, vibrant, as well as people looking soft.
I highly recommend this camera. I can't wait to take it to the beach!"
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Review 6 for HX-WA03: Active Lifestyle Full HD Camcorder
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Quality
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Ease of Use
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Features
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
My product experience:
Extremely Dissatisfied
4
Extremely Satisfied
My customer support experience:
Extremely Dissatisfied
4
Extremely Satisfied
Rain
Location: Brooklyn, NY
I have owned this product for: less than a month
I use this product: at least once per week
I have purchased the following product: N/A
I found this support type most helpful: Panasonic web site
Panasonic Early Adopter: No
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Perfect Little Camcorder To Take On The Go
Date:August 8, 2013
Pros: Inexpensive, Compact, Convenient
Cons: a little difficult to take photos in windy weather
"The first thing that impressed me about the camcorder was the size. It's very compact. It fit easily in my small purse and even in my pocket. It also fit in my hand very easily. It wasn't bulky or awkward.
There are plenty of different camcorder and camera settings for the more advanced user but, there are also simple menu settings for a novice like myself. Initially I was intimidated by all the buttons and options and then I saw the 'simple' setting which allowed me to just point and shoot or record. As I get more accustomed to the settings I'll play with them for different effects.
The camcorder takes clear video with pretty clean sound. I felt more comfortable recording with it than with a point and shoot camera or with my phone. The design makes the it fit naturally in your hand and you're able to keep it steady.
It took some time to adjust to taking photos since the viewer is on the side of the lense as opposed to directly behind it on a traditional camera. Also, I was trying to take some pictures of the NYC skyline from a rooftop but, the breeze made the adjustable screen shake, making it hard to capture a clean clear picture. I wouldn't recommend taking photos with it in a windy setting.
I did take it on a boat and felt comfortable with the water splashing on it occasionally since it is waterproof. That's a big plus to be able to take it on a boat or the beach or even in the snow knowing you can capture great footage without worrying about water damage.
In all it's a great little camcorder. The price is perfect and I'm happy with it. i would recommend it as I said, for someone who just wants to pack something compact to capture the day. You don't have to carry around a huge camera bag or worry about draining your phone battery just to capture video or photos.
I wish we could upload sample videos and pictures."
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Review 7 for HX-WA03: Active Lifestyle Full HD Camcorder
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Quality
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Ease of Use
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Features
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
My product experience:
Extremely Dissatisfied
5
Extremely Satisfied
huyho7
Location: Great Falls, VA
I have owned this product for: less than a month
I use this product: once per day
I have purchased the following product: N/A
I found this support type most helpful: None
Panasonic Early Adopter: No
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Fantastic value
Date:August 7, 2013
Pros: Inexpensive, Compact, Easy to use, Durable, Exceeded expectations, Convenient
Cons: panoramic mode takes some getting used to.
"Design/aesthetics
The Panasonic HX-WA03 comes with a component a/v cable, charger, and manual in addition to the camcorder. I was immediately impressed with the appearance, quality materials. Mine was primarily black in color with burnt orange metallic accents. The size of the camcorder is about what I expected from looking at pictures online. It is lightweight but has enough heft to instill a sense of confidence in build quality.
Ergonomics
The shape is well suited for handheld recording, built similar to a radar gun. The viewfinder is generously sized with perfectly acceptable resolution and brightness for use in broad daylight. When in use, the screen flips out and swivels about 270 degrees, convenient for recording from difficult angles.
The controls are simple and straightforward, I think it would be easy for pretty much anyone to pick up and begin using within a few minutes. The buttons are nicely positioned and intuitive for use with your thumb- the zoom button being centered and flanked by separate buttons to take stills and to record. The menu button and toggle to navigate through the menus are also well positioned. Flip the screen out and several other buttons are available to view your pictures, turn the unit on, enable intelligent auto, and enable the variety of art modes.
The menus are easy to navigate with use of the toggle. Nothing too complicated to intimidate novice users. Notable inclusions were the ability to change resolution, picture size, image stabilization, video stabilization, in addition to basic settings including exposure, iso setting and metering.
Features
The camcorder records in 1080p and allows for a variety of different video and picture resolutions and sizes. Image and video recording stabilization as a feature is a plus and comes in handy.
I was impressed with all the different art modes, including sepia, HDR, and other creative effects. You have the ability to do both 180 and 360 panoramic pictures although I would have appreciated the ability to access this option without having to go into the menu, toggle down, and turning it on. Using the panorama could be a bit easier, the camcorder is a bit temperamental- not moving at just the right speed and alignment resulted in some failed attempts before getting it right. I suppose with practice, you may get used to what it wants. Honestly, I’m happy to even have this feature.
One feature I especially liked was the ability to take a picture in the midst of recording a video, I think this would come in handy often. The included flash is also a plus.
The key feature for this camera for me was the ability to take the camera under water to a depth of 5 meters. It is also reportedly freeze-proof and sand-proof, although I didn’t get a chance to try out this particular feature. I carefully read the provided precautions regarding use in/near water and sand and proceeded to dunk the camcorder in my 50 gallon freshwater fish tank to capture my fancy-tail guppies in all their glory. The camera demonstrated no evidence of malfunction and the ability to tilt the screen was essential. The under water video quality was better than I expected, I am looking forward to trying this out at the beach and while snorkeling.
Performance/video quality
I am able to flip open the screen and begin recording within 1-2 seconds, very good for impromptu recording.
The video quality was overall impressive. Colors were pleasingly saturated and natural. Video was also pretty sharp, as much as can be expected for a camera expected to be waterproof, capable of taking stills, panorama, etc. Autofocus was overall good, although a tad slow when in zoom. The image stabilization did a pretty good job although I didn’t do much head to head comparison with it on vs off. Low light recording resulted in noticeable noise as expected but still yielded very usable footage.
Conclusion:
Overall, I am very pleased with this camera. The image quality was impressive with pleasing saturated colors and good sharpness.
The ergonomics are where this camera really shines. I feel that most people, even those less savvy with cameras, could pick it up and start using it pretty quickly. The user interface is uncluttered and intuitive.
The HX-WA03 packs an impressive array of features, with panoramic shots, image stabilization, ability to take stills while video recording, and various useful art modes.
To top it all off, the camera can be taken under water and is supposed to be sand/dustproof, opening up all sorts of fun opportunities for recording. I highly recommend it for anyone with an active lifestyle and for those who want to pick up a camcorder and start recording quality videos without a fuss."
6 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Review 8 for HX-WA03: Active Lifestyle Full HD Camcorder
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Quality
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Ease of Use
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Features
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
My product experience:
Extremely Dissatisfied
4
Extremely Satisfied
My customer support experience:
Extremely Dissatisfied
5
Extremely Satisfied
mydi mouse
Location: waipahu hi
I have owned this product for: 1–3 months
I use this product: at least once per week
I have purchased the following product: Car audio
I found this support type most helpful: Panasonic web site
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
awesome cam
Date:February 22, 2013
Pros: Inexpensive, Compact, Easy to use, Durable, Exceeded expectations, awesome design
Cons: none
"you can go anywhere with this bad boy from land to sea,rain or shine totally great.."
15 of 18 people found this review helpful.