Panasonic HC-X900 Camcorder Review$1,199.00
Panasonic sure knows how to make a solid flagship camcorder with appeal to consumers and semi-pros alike, and, by all means, the new HC-X900M is exactly that—an excellent high-end camcorder. Unfortunately, the product still left us dissatisfied thanks to Panasonic's lack of updates and improvements over last year's HDC-TM900. We said the same thing last year when Panasonic failed to innovate, and this glaring trend of riding on the coattails of predecessors has us worried about Panasonic's future in the market.
But we also can't really blame them. Canon didn't even release an update to its HF G10 camcorder, which was our pick for camcorder of the year in 2011. In this tough economy, if you have a model that's working great, then there's not much of a compelling reason to fix it. So, Panasonic simply took its flagship model from last year, tacked on a few cosmetic changes and a better LCD (with a lame glasses-free 3D view), and released it anew as the HC-X900M. Our performance tests confirmed this story, as the HC-X900M didn't show any significant improvement in terms of image quality. If you're looking to upgrade from the Panasonic TM900 or TM700, you shouldn't bother.
This isn't to say the HC-X900M is a bad camcorder. It has loads of manual controls, excellent image quality with its 1080/60p record mode, and it has the ability to record 3D video (but you have to purchase an optional lens converter to do so). We're just tired of seeing Panasonic fail to add anything new or special to its flagship models for the past two years. In 2010, Panasonic was exceptionally innovative: it released one of the first 1080/60p camcorders, the HDC-TM700, and it showed off an unprecedented 3D camcorder, the HDC-SDT750. Since then, it's been nothing but minor updates and bland improvements for Panasonic, and it's this stagnant production that leaves us wanting more out of the HC-X900M.