Panasonic has made further enhancements to the image stabilisation. Motion can now be compensated for along five axes. To mark the addition of roll to the mix, stabilisation is now called Hybrid OIS . Panasonic was already offering some of the best image stabilisation in any consumer camcorder, and this new version maintains the lead, particularly when shooting at high levels of zoom. Speaking of the latter, there's a reasonable 12x optical zoom available, which can be enhanced with an Intelligent mode that uses extra sensor pixels to boost the factor to 23x.
With its trio of sensors, the X900 has the potential for great image quality, and Panasonic's track record is excellent here. The X900's picture is extremely clear and colours are very accurate, although Panasonic tends not to saturate colour as much as, for example, Sony. Still, detail and sharpness are better than any consumer-grade camcorder we've tested. In low light, the X900 still manages to provide a very bright and clear picture. The Canon LEGRIA HF G10 provides slightly richer colours, and has similarly non-existent grain. But the X900 maintains slightly more detail. In most conditions, you won't be able to spot much difference between the top Panasonic and Canon models, but the X900 just wins through as the best performer in low light.
The last few generations of high-end camcorder from Panasonic have been hard to beat. The HDC-TM900 and HDC-TM700 offered powerful combinations of great image quality and comprehensive features. The HC-X900 continues that tradition, and just about edges our recommendation over Canon's excellent LEGRIA HF G10. The X900 is around £100 cheaper and offers a standard accessory shoe without the need for third-party adapters, plus a marginally easier control system. For these reasons the HC-X900 maintains Panasonic's position as our top premium camcorder recommendation.