Panasonic HDC-SD9 - Full HD Camcorder - Panasonic HDC-SD9

By James Morris

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Panasonic HDC-SD9 - Full HD Camcorder

Summary

Our Score:

9

Where the Panasonic version can detect up to five faces, the Sony equivalent can find up to eight. And where Panasonic adjusts only exposure, Sony adjusts colour and tone. Nevertheless, dark faces against bright scenery are the main problem, and the Panasonic Face Detection system copes with that adequately. You could perform the same function manually, but it would take a lot longer to configure. With the SD9, a single button turns on Face Detection.

We can also admit to being fairly pleased with the Intelligent Shooting Guide, now that we've used to it. It would have been a travesty if Panasonic had hidden its legendary extensive manual control behind ‘user-friendly' simplifications. Fortunately, the Intelligent Shooting Guide doesn't do this. It just suggests things you can choose to ignore if you wish. If its helpful tips annoy you, they can be turned off, and they disappear after a while anyway. But the suggestions are mostly useful, such as prompting you to enable Intelligent Contrast in bright conditions or switch to Low Light mode in poor illumination, and warning you when you're panning around too fast.

Editing was another area we wanted to test, as software tends to lag behind new recording formats. Although AVCHD is now widely supported by editing applications (with Adobe's software rather conspicuous by its absence) the HDC-SD9 is not entirely standard. Not only does it offer 1,920 x 1,080 Full HD resolution, where the first AVCHD models used 1,440 x 1,080 (the same as HDV), it also has progressive scanning as an option. Then there's the 5.1 surround sound. So we tried importing footage shot at the top-quality 1,920 x 1,080 progressively scanned HA mode into Ulead VideoStudio 11 Plus (with the added Power Pack, a free download). The software had no trouble importing clips from the camcorder over USB, and not only was the correct resolution and aspect ratio maintained, but the 5.1 soundtrack was recognised as well.

Verdict

Now we've had a chance to give Panasonic's HDC-SD9 a proper going over, we can't help being rather bowled over. It's definitely not a camcorder for the serious hobbyist, even if it can shoot great-quality video in all but the worst lighting conditions. But for the everyday camcorder user, the HDC-SD9 really showcases what Flash memory has going for it. It's unfeasibly tiny and light, yet packs a lot of features and impressive HD video quality. At under £600, it's not outrageously expensive, either, and you can now pick up a 16GB SDHC card for about £50. The HDC-SD9 is certainly the most exciting camcorder we've seen so far this year.

Overall Score

9

Scores In Detail

  • Value 9
  • Image Quality 9
  • Features 8

johnmc0001

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

supersizeme

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





cheers

Santa Claws.

September 18, 2013, 9:30 am

great cam.

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