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Recording Formats and 3D Options

By James Morris



Our Score:


There are further options available via a touch-controlled quick menu on the edge of the LCD. This provides a further set of touch controls for triggering record and operating the zoom. The remaining facilities can be found by scrolling through the menu pages. These include Pre-Rec buffering and backlight compensation, touch zoom and AF tracking (face tracking is on by default in Intelligent Auto mode). There's even another layer of quick menu providing rapid access to the various video formats and still image resolutions available, LCD brightness and toggling onscreen gridlines.

Panasonic HC-X900

To go with its comprehensive manual options, the X900 also provides a standard accessory shoe for adding peripherals. This isn't located on the camcorder body itself, as the built-in 5.1 surround sound microphone array takes up too much space. Instead, as with Panasonic's last few generations, there's a bracket on the side hidden behind a flap, into which you can slide an adapter. This is much more sturdy than the third-party adapters required for current Sony and Canon's camcorders. With minijacks provided for an external microphone and headphones, plus manual audio level control available, the X900 can be used with standard third-party audio accessories.

Panasonic HC-X900

However, the recording format has had an incremental upgrade to AVCHD 2.0. So video can be recorded at up to 1080/50p and 28Mbits/sec, without the need for switching to MP4 format. The other benefit of the new AVCHD version is its native support for 3D, in particular MVC. The X900 still offers side-by-side shooting if you want to use it. But this halves image resolution by squashing two frames into one, whereas MVC uses the full frame, so the latter will be preferable in most circumstances.

Panasonic HC-X900

The X900 isn't a 3D camcorder as standard, though. Again, as with previous models you need to add an optional lens converter to achieve this. But here the X900 has been updated over its predecessors as well. The lens converter compatible with this model is now the VW-CLT2, which is slightly smaller and lighter. You also don't need to spend ages screwing it on, as this system has been replaced by a simple sliding clamp that has a bit of a knack to it, but takes a matter of seconds to operate. Nevertheless, the X900's 3D functionality is still not a patch on that provided by camcorders specifically designed for the job, such as JVC's Everio GS-TD1.


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.


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!


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.

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