Home / Cameras / Camcorder / Panasonic HC-X900

Panasonic HC-X900 review

By

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Editors choice

1 of 6

Panasonic HC-X900
  • Panasonic HC-X900
  • Panasonic HC-X900
  • Panasonic HC-X900
  • Panasonic HC-X900
  • Panasonic HC-X900
  • Panasonic HC-X900

Summary

Our Score:

10

Pros

  • Excellent image quality
  • Lens focus ring
  • Comprehensive manual controls

Cons

  • Optional 3D not as fully featured as dedicated 3D camcorders

Key Features

  • 3 x 1/4.1in CMOS with 3.05Mpixels
  • 1080/50p AVCHD 2.0 format at up to 28Mbits/sec
  • Lens ring controlling focus, shutter, iris and white balance
  • Single SDXC card slot
  • Optional 3D shooting
  • Manufacturer: Panasonic
  • Review Price: £906.25

For the last couple of years, Panasonic's top-end camcorders have garnered a number of our top accolades, including Best Camcorder for the HDC-TM900 in our 2011 annual awards. So we were very keen to get our hands on a new premium Panasonic, particularly as this generation has been marked by a switch in the model naming system. So is the HC-X900 really a big step over its predecessor?

In some ways the answer is actually no. There isn't a monumental shift in core technology or design here. The HC-X900 ostensibly uses a very similar trio of 1/4.1in CMOS sensors with 3.05Mpixels each as the HDC-TM900, although the green sensor incorporates pixel shift technology to enhance its resolution. Video is recorded to SDXC card only, as there is no internal memory included. You will need the HC-X900M if you want that. The single card slot will make total capacity less than models offering twin slots, such as Canon's LEGRIA HF G10, but having up to 64GB available in SDXC form will be enough for most situations.

Another feature which hasn't changed is the level of manual control. Like all of Panasonic's last few premium generations, the X900 offers a lens ring that provides rapid access to the most oft-used manual settings. In auto mode, the ring merely offers an alternative, but slower and more precise, zoom control. However, a quick press of the button nearby switches the camera to manual mode, and cycles functions through manual focus, shutter speed, iris and white balance.

Panasonic HC-X900

This makes all these settings extremely easy and intuitive to access. It's possible to adjust focus very accurately using the ring, and rack focusing is therefore also possible. Shutter speed can be adjusted from 1/50th to 1/8000th (although 1/25th is available with Auto Slow Shuter enabled), iris settings range from F16 to F1.5 with up to 18dB of video gain available on top of a fully open aperture, and the usual array of white balance presets (two indoor, two outdoor) are provided alongside auto and manual modes.

windich

April 3, 2012, 9:48 pm

What about the fan noise? Why is there a fan in the first place? I hear from other models that it's quite anoying. Can you enlight me about that problem?
Thank you.

patrick

September 6, 2013, 1:21 am

I have been using the tm900k since it first came out....no problems. since the new model does not appear to have a built in hard drive (possibly their solution) I would doubt their are any fan noise issues. The audio recording capabilities of my model have been nothing short of amazing!

kadajawi

March 17, 2014, 7:24 pm

I'm really rather surprised by the comments on image quality. I have plenty of footage from this camera, but I'm not impressed. It is sharp, and the encoder does a great job even at low bitrates. The image stabilizer is very impressive, too. But image quality itself? Highlights quickly burn out, and blue sky is frequently cyan, rather than blue (darker/underexposed parts are blue). Videos of the same scenes from my Pentax DSLR look way better, with much better color rendition, and even my cheap Canon superzoom is able to deliver much better, more realistic colors (it too will turn bright skies to cyan, but it's able to go much further than the Panasonic here). Also I noticed plenty of aliasing and moire.

comments powered by Disqus