About a year ago I bought a Panasonic AG-DVC30 camcorder. The image is great, but the sound level stinks.
Recently I made a semi "scientific" study of the sound levels. I set up a standard color bars & tone in Premiere, positioned the camera about 10 feet from the speakers and then tried various mic settings. I imported them into Premiere and looked at them with its audio meter. 'Course, this does not relate to any objective scale, but the relative levels are perhaps significant. And I did set the loudness of the tone so that it was roughly equivalent to humans talking.
When I use the built-in mic and the default settings (i.e., AGC), I get a reading of
Which seems very low to my ear. When I attach an external (shotgun) mic and connect the cable to the "mic" input, I get the same thing:
However, if I shoot the same thing using a modest, consumer-grade Canon camcorder in exactly the same location, I get:
Which sounds "normal" to my ear.
Next, I set the AG-DVC30 to manual level setting (which is a pain because you have to go through 2 or 3 menu levels). This way I could bump the record level a notch or two and achieve -18 dB or higher.