The Panasonic HDC-TM900 is the top of the line in Panasonic’s 3D camcorder lineup for 2011, offering image quality that rivals professional video cameras. If you’ve been holding off upgrading your older model video recorder, then you’ll benefit from reading through this review to see if it meets your requirements.
The HDC-TM900 is the flash card version of the 3MOS models: the HDC-TM900 (flash), HS900 (HDD) and SD800 (SD card) variations of the same camcorder. The Panasonic HDC-TM900 and the other models are compatible with the new 3D conversion lens, VW-CLT1.
The conversion lens (VW-CLT1) is mounted by attaching it to the front lens of the camera. It works with all of the new 3MOS models, but it is also backward compatible with last year’s TM700 camcorder.
The most noticeable difference between this year’s TM900 and last year’s TM700 is the larger touch screen. The TM700 had a 3 inch touch screen. The new TM900 sports a nice 3.5 inch screen with double the resolution at 460.8k pixels.
What to Expect of the Panasonic 3D Camcorder
• Picture Quality
If you are old enough to remember the days when creating a video recording of your daughter’s birthday party meant hefting a shoulder-mounted monstrosity that recorded directly to VHS tape, then you probably are delighted at the size of today’s camcorders. This new Panasonic 3D camcorder has a long, barrel-like frame that fits easily in the palm of your hand using the side strap. The control buttons are easily reached if you have a small hand.
The biggest change to the HDC-TM900 camcorder is the larger 3.5-inch LCD touch screen with controls. This really makes shooting and reviewing your recordings a lot easier compared to earlier models.
The fact that the Panasonic 3D HD camcorder is capable of recording in 3D High Definition may totally be off your chart in priority. However, once you have experienced 3D you are spoiled for it. The Advanced 3MOS System produces powerful colors and spectacular detail even in low-light settings.
The Advanced 3MOS System of the Panasonic 3D camcorder, is actually three separate components: the 3MOS Sensor responsible for capturing images without color loss; the Leica Dicomar Lens with a large aperture; and the Crystal Engine PRO that increases image resolution. These three pieces work together to produce full HD quality recording in 3D or 2D. When you view a playback of a recording at full HD the picture quality is simply exquisite -smooth, sharp and unbelievably colorful.
The Noise Reduction technology is greatly improved over earlier Panasonic camcorders. “Noise” occurs when you film in dim lighting. Now, you will notice that your videos recording in low light settings are vastly improved, nearly 50% clearer.
The Panasonic HDC-TM900 achieves true HD 1920×1080/60P recording at 28-Mbps. This is nearly two times better than the best in earlier home camcorder models. You can zoom up to 20x using Intelligent Zoom. This allows you to film at high zoom rates, but still get sharp images without blurring the edges.
If you were ever disappointed in your video recordings that were blurry when you panned or zoomed, then you’ll benefit from the Panasonic 3D HYBRID Optical Image Stabilizer (O.I.S.) The O.I.S. suppresses slight hand-shakes and arm movements that occur when you zoom. The arm movement is sensed by an electrical sensor that adjusts to clear the image on the picture. Basically, the HYBRID O.I.S. is a combination of both the optical and electronic stabilization.
The TM900’s 35mm wide-angle lens allows you to fit more people in your frame when filming group picture than does conventional lens.
Both the Panasonic TM900 and the HS900 camcorder record in Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound audio. If you are accustomed to the audio recorded by a stereo camcorder, this will really be a WOW factor.
Earlier Panasonic models use a function called “Wind Cut” which is now called the “Wind Noise Canceller.” This detects wind noises during recordings and suppresses them so they don’t blow away any other natural noises or voice in the recording. Also, the earlier “Wind Cut” function would change your recording to mono, while the “Wind Noise Canceller” maintains the audio in stereo.
• Video pictures are vibrant and full of color. Full, fast High Definition video capable of recording 1080 at a full 60 frames per second.
• Capable of recording 3D video in high-definition with the VW-CLT1 lens.
• May be a bit too pricey for entry level buyers, but is a great value for those looking for a video camera with near professional quality delivery. The Panasonic HDC-TM900 camcorder cutting-edge features don’t cost that much more than the previous generation of HD camcorders.
• The large touch screen controls are intuitive and relatively easy to use.
• Better audio than stereo camcorders.
• The 3D capability requires a separately purchased lens, the VW-CLT1.
• The HDC-TM900 has 32GB of internal memory, while the HDC-HS900 has a 220GB hard disk drive.
• If your Blu-ray recorder is not 3D-compatible, you need to set the 3D mode on the TV manually.
• Some VIERA TV’s need to have a firmware upgrade to view the 3D files played from the Blu-ray player.
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