With its three-sensor system, the X800's image quality is nothing short of outstanding. Detail and colour fidelity are both the best we've seen from a consumer-grade camcorder, on par with Panasonic's own HC-X900. Even when there's a considerable variation in contrast, the X800 resolves a good level of detail both in areas of shadow and areas of great brightness. Performance in low light is exemplary as well. This camcorder can pick up decent brightness in very poor illumination, and produces an image with very little noise, even when the video gain is on its highest setting.
The Panasonic HC-X800 does shoot great-looking video, and with the same lens and sensor setup as the X900 its abilities are unsurprisingly identical when left in auto mode. But you also lose a lot of flexibility with the absence of the lens ring, accessory shoe and minijacks. Whilst the £100 cheaper price does mitigate this to a reasonable extent, you really will need to have no intention of more serious camcorder usage to make the economy worthwhile. The manual settings are still quite readily accessible, but if you might want the missing features at some point, the top HC-X900 would be the better choice, despite the higher cost. Otherwise, the JVC HD Everio GZ-GX1 offers more features and similarly great image quality for less.