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Panasonic HDC-SD9 - Full HD Camcorder review



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Panasonic HDC-SD9 - Full HD Camcorder


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A couple of weeks ago, we were lucky enough to get an early hands-on with Panasonic's new HDC-SD9. Now we've been sent one for a more extensive test. So here are our conclusions, and final assessment.

First, we should reiterate that this is a very small camcorder. It only weighs 275g (337g with standard battery), and is less than 10cm long. You wouldn't quite want to carry it in a trouser pocket, unless you wear a particularly baggy variety or have rather large legs. But the incredible diminutive size of the SD9 will make you far more inclined to stuff it in a bag whenever you go out.

Unlike many tiny camcorders, the SD9 doesn't come with a miniature battery enclosed in the chassis, with no longer-life options. Instead, a decent 1,320mAh unit is supplied as standard, which will be enough for over an hour of recording; up to nearly two hours depending on usage. This fits neatly onto the back of the camcorder, but you can replace it with a long-life version instead, with options up to a whopping 5,800mAh, which will give you between five and eight hours before giving up the ghost.

We have already explained the SD9's main features in our preview. However, we wanted to confirm our very positive first impressions, take a look at the footage on an HDTV, and see exactly how the new electronic wizardry behaves under different shooting conditions. After extensive usage, particularly in low light, we remain quite impressed with the SD9's video quality. The footage does get quite grainy as the light drops below the equivalent of a living room lit by a 100W bulb, although the colour is still reasonable. So here the small size of the three 1/6in CCDs can't be overcome. But for most consumer uses - such as outdoor holiday shooting or indoor events with at least some lighting - the SD9 will fit the bill.

We didn't get much chance to put the Panasonic's Face Detection system to the test in our preview, either, so this was something else we experimented with extensively. One thing it can't do is improve the situation in low light. If there isn't enough illumination in general, Face Detection won't make much difference. It's primarily aimed at conditions where your subjects are against bright backgrounds - quite common if you shoot your family standing in front of a landscape. Apart from this limitation, we found the system worked well, accurately picking out faces and placing a yellow box around them. Face Detection can also be found on Sony's latest models, such as the HDR-SR12.

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April 8, 2009, 12:51 am

Hi I won the Panasonic HDC-SD9 on ebay in the box still sealed for the incredible price of 𧸖 and it is ever thing your revue say's about it,except the standard battery you get with it film's for almost 2 hours.To watch what you've filmed on an HD tv is fantastic,the colour is perfect


April 9, 2009, 7:44 am

Found an ex display model in curry's for 𧷣. It was sold with no box for 𧵎 discount. I can't believe the amazingly detailed and smooth footage I can film with this. I am a casual user and this system has the intelligence tohelp me choose the correct lighting any exposure. It even tells me when I move the camera too quickly. Superb little camera at twice the price i paid

Wayne Harris

April 16, 2009, 3:12 am

Hi everyone

what is the largest size SD Card you can put into this Camcorder?

and how long will it give me recording time wise?

Geoff Richards

April 16, 2009, 1:13 pm

Hi Wayne,

Off the top of my head, I'm not sure if the camcorder itself imposes an upper limit. It's SDHC (as in SD card High Capacity) so I think the biggest one these days is 32GB (I'm sure someone will correct me if that's not right).

In terms of recording time, I often find reading the manual via PDF useful for checking this sort of thing. Pop over to Panasonic's website: http://www.panasonic.co.uk/htm... and search for "HDCSD9" and you'll get the link.

I'm sure 32GB will provide plenty of hours but one word of warning - it's not just about the number of hours you can shoot in one go. You need to consider battery life (32GB-worth might be longer than what the standard battery can record on one charge; there's probably a long-life battery option).

You also need to consider hard drive capacity. Sure, it's cheap these days, but just be mindful that each time you fill your 32GB SD card with footage, that will require 32GB of space on your hard drive. Do that ten times and you're looking at 320GB gone.

This is something Digital Camera owners usually overlook. They buy a 12MP camera, a 4GB SD card, merrily snap away on their holidays but then face the fun of backing up 20-30GB of photos after a while.

Hope that helps.

Wayne Harris

April 16, 2009, 7:05 pm

Hi Geoff

thanks for that mate, i play keyboards in a Rock Band www.bongiovi.co.uk

so i want to record lots of our gigs, do you think this HD Camcorder is up to the job?

obviously need good sound and to be able to catch good lighting effects when we perform onstage


Santa Claws.

September 18, 2013, 9:30 am

great cam.

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