Last month we headed overseas to cover the 2012 MINI United Festival, and while we were packing our Pro D-SLR and a random assortment of other AV equipment, we weren’t sure what would be the best option for video due to the nature of racing cars down the German autobahn, testing out vehicles on Circuit Paul Ricard in southern France and a plethora of other activities not favorable to $1000+ recording equipment.

While several staffers pushed for the iPhone’s HD capability and versatility, one unfortunate twist in the road and that slick techno-candybar would be sent flying under the truck behind us going 120 mph. With that in mind, we went against our usual judgment and decided to bring along one of Panasonic’s new active-style camcorders: the HX-DC2, which was unveiled earlier this year at CES.

Camera14-megapixel sensor Extremely light — easy enough to sling around your wrist when carrying or slip it into your pocket Number of shooting modes that produce photos that really do stand out. - Our favorite is the art mode (right), which turns your photo into a sort of painting

VideoClear HD video with relatively decent audio Makes use of a 4-axis electronic image stabilizer Two levels of zoom (5x optical, 15x intelligent) Rotating 3.0” LCD screen - Keep tucked down when sticking the device out of a car at slightly dangerous speeds (to be fair, it did survive that test…barely)

ConsUnless you’re in a fairly well lit environment, the lack of weight can make it hard to steady your hand, producing a slightly blurred image - stick to daytime shooting Zoom is hard to control when shooting on the move

Overall, this is a fantastic camcorder to take on the road (literally), be it for active sports, camping trips or a trip to the amusement park. The MSRP stands at an extremely reasonable $229.99, which we would gladly pay for a camera this versatile. Our only real problem with the device would have to be the battery life for shooting, which seemed to last only an hour or so before having to recharge. Not a massive issue, but you might want to pick up a second battery pack to keep the fun rolling.

Check out some of the HX-DC2’s footage below, and or pick up the waterproof version HERE.

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