Panasonic HC-X900 Camcorder Review$1,199.00
For the most part, the Panasonic HC-X900 uses AVCHD compression to record HD video. The camcorder utilizes the newly-created AVCHD 2.0 compression format, which has new standards for both 1080/60p and 3D video recording. The only optio on the camcorder that doesn't use AVCHD recording is the iFrame record mode, which uses a basic MPEG-4 compression system. There's also a 3D record mode called "side-by-side" recording that is not AVCHD compliant—just like the 3D record mode on last year's HDC-TM900 camcorder. The new AVCHD 3D mode does (obviously) use AVCHD recording, however, and this option is available on the X900. Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of various high definition compression types.
The Panasonic HC-X900M comes loaded with 32GB of internal flash memory—that's what the "M" stands for at the end of the camcorder's model name. Panasonic also plans to make a version of the HC-X900 without any internal memory (and it won't have an "M" at the end of the model name either). All versions of the HC-X900 come with an SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card slot as well. Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of various media types.
Resolution & Frame Rates
Panasonic loaded the X900M with a lot of recording options and frame rates, all of which can be seen below. The 1080/60p record mode has been present on Panasonic camcorders for a couple of years now, so it isn't really new—other than the fact that this year Panasonic was able to say the mode is "AVCHD compliant" thanks to the new AVCHD 2.0 standards. The new AVCHD 3D recording is something we haven't seen on Panasonic camcorders before, but this mode only comes into play if you purchase the optional 3D conversion lens for the HC-X900.
Slow Motion Modes
There's no high-speed frame rate on the HC-X900 to record slow motion video, but the camcorder does have a time-lapse record option that enables you to condense long periods of recording into a short video clip. There's also a 24p record mode on the camcorder that Panasonic calls Digital Cinema Record. This gives your footage a more cinematic look by simulating a lower frame rate.
Much like its plethora of recording options, the HC-X900 also has a bunch of still image size settings. You can shoot photos using a 4:3, 16:9, or 3:2 aspect ratio, and the size of those still images range from a ridiculous 4896 x 3264, to the more reasonable 3024 x 2016 (there's also a tiny 640 x 480 still image option as well). The high resolution still images options on the camcorder are not to be trusted, as they are the result of interpolation. This means there isn't actually more detail in those images, they're just bigger. The camcorder's three size options that hover around 6 megapixels should more closely resemble the actual capabilities of the X900's image sensor.
The camcorder also features a built-in flash, a continuous shooting mode, a self-timer, and a smile shutter feature in still image mode.