61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2013
I've had the camera for nearly 2 weeks now. I purchased the HDC-TM300 way back in Feb 2010, and used it frequently; so, this was a significant upgrade for me. The performance of the camera is exceptional for a prosumer camcorder. I am an avid videographer who probably spends most of the time taking family videos, but also for anything that I might want to do that's more on the amatuer side of filmmaking such as thunderstorm lightning videography, nature, short guerilla documentaries, etc.
I also purchased the following, which arrived with the camera:
1)Wasabi Power Battery (2-Pack) and Charger for Panasonic VW-VBN260 and Panasonic HC-X800, HC-X900, HC-X900M, HC-X910, HC-X920, HC-X920M, HDC-HS900, HDC-SD800, HDC-SD900, HDC-TM900 (2800mAh)
2)SanDisk Extreme 64 GB SDXC Class 10 UHS-1 Flash Memory Card 45MB/s SDSDX-064G-X46
You'll want the extra batteries, as well as an independent charger so that you don't have to charge on the camera. One thing nice about the Wasabi charger, is that it comes with both your standard AC outlet plug as well as a DC car charger connection.
1. Incredible video! In normal light, this thing is simply amazing for the price. I paid less for this with the accessories above than I did for the TM300.
2. 1080 60p - this combined with the video performance is why someone would upgrade from a TM300. It's just simply amazing the detail you'll see when replaying the video versus what you see while recording, such as a fly taking off or just cleaning itself. There's really no reason that I can find why I'd ever take it out of this setting.
3. Low Light - much, much better than the TM300! If you're doing something like lightning videography, you'll want to use the autofocus, zoom in on a distance object using x12 or x40 and then set the camera to manual focus.
4. Can be recording within about 3 seconds of flipping open the viewfinder
5. Better camera-to-pc transfer software.
6. Manual controls. Sure, they are slightly different, but you can easily access them by just hitting the small physical "Camera Function" button on the side near the lens as seen in the pic, versus using the touchscreen for everything.
Viewfinder and LCD don't work at the same time. My kids love looking at themselves in the LCD while recording. On the TM300, I could use both the viewfinder and LCD screen at the same time. Apparently, that option is not available in the x920. I would just use the viewfinder to keep them in frame so as not to have to look in front of the camera and potentially get into the shot.
I've messed with most other settings on this camera; especially, in manual.
For those complaining about the manual controls or autocontrols, it's more important to know when and how to use them then to throw up a bunch of videos that show the camera not being used correctly, and then expecting some miraculous behavior from auto-settings.
Both manual and auto controls work very well. It's like any other camera outside of the $200 range; If you want to learn to really take advantage of the full capabilities, you'll need to mess around with the settings and actually practice using them in the right scenarios.
I often use manual white balance controls instead of the auto, because it's so quick that it will adjust to lighting in a room if I go from panning at something with light in the room, past a window, to a different light source in a different room.
I was initially contemplating the idea of getting a GH3, but the ol budget wouldn't allow for it at this time. I hadn't even looked into this camera until about 2 weeks before purchasing. I'm really glad I purchased this camera.
UPDATE: 5/22/14 - Use this camera regularly. Have not ran into any significant problems. I still mostly run and gun in full auto for family vids. I always keep one battery on the charger and one on the camera. Battery life is between 1.5-2 hours still. I've since picked up two of the Dolica ST-500 68-Inch Lightweight Tripods that you can find on amazon at $24.99. I keep one in the house and one in the car. I would still highly recommend this camera for anyone upgrading from something like a TM300. Great upgrade. The detail in the video is quite amazing. Stability is much better than TM300.
93 of 103 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2013
Updating the review after more analysis. Its a great camera, and I'd give it 4 stars, however.. I'm going to keep at 3 stars so that panasonic understands it needs to work on its White Balance features and color accuracy. With the default settings and intelligent auto, there is a "cool tone" in the picture. Although this camera has the best sharpness, The Canon G20 and Sony CX760 both excel in color saturation/white balance.
- The WiFi features are pretty cool - wirelessly stream videos to your HDTV/internet
(Note: Make sure your TV/DLNA device can play AVCHD 60fps files, for instance my Samsung TV can't)
- Class leading image quality just got better with improvements in low light noise / image quality
- Simply the best image stabilisation in this price bracket, the new level shot is sometimes useful but flawed (I currently don't use the level shot feature anymore due to the distortion when panning the camera)
- White balance takes a long time to stabilise - expect washed out colors unless properly calibrated
(Check out this youtube video : youtube .com / watch?v=fa03lvcx4Ao (without spaces)
- WiFi features take long time to initialise - rendering it a hardly used feature in the device
- Sometimes distortion can be noticed due to level shot stabilisation feature
- Image quality not a lot better than previous models, Panasonic has put its focus on other areas like WiFi/Connectivity
- The menu system is not easy to get used to, needs work/usability improvment around manual controls.
- 3D Recording is still a gimmick, don't bother about the 3D conversion lens - no innovation here
- Doesn't have NFC like other camcorders in the series - although not a deal breaker
- WiFi will drain battery very fast - Battery life could be better
- No internal memory - although SD cards are quite cheap these days, having internal memory is very convenient and battery efficient.
- Not many manual controls compared to Canon G10/G20
- After extended use, the camera can get very hot - in certain cases it makes the fan audible in video
Bottom line: A great camera for its price, however not free from flaws. Also at this price, internal memory should be included.
This camera has the best sharpness/detail among the prosumer camcorders.
WiFi adds a lot of convenience, however I personally would have preferred better color accuracy instead.
Also: Check out the review in camcorderinfo .com before you buy.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2013
OK, in the interest of brevity and not dwelling long on known issues - my camera has firmware v 1.1 and yes the auto WB is still quirky and at times takes up to 7 seconds to get it correct (key word = at times - as mostly it's spot on) and the audio is heavily compressed so don't expect LIVE concert hall reproduction - CD quality is where it's at - regarding the low light video it's excellent and puts my old Canon VIXIA G10 to shame - really - color rendering is as good as Sony and Canon - follows the SONY more than the Canon for color curves - OIS is excellent - NOW HERE'S A QUIRK NO ONE HAS MENTIONED - This camera has WiFi and can be controlled via a smart phone (no remote) and as I found out that can cause trouble - my camera was recording a buzzing noise on the audio track - so loud it made the track useless - I found when using an external RODE Pro Mic the noise went away? it turns out the noise was digital hash being generated by my DROID Phone in my pocket and the external mic shunted the noise - all I had to do was move the DROID three feet away and it stopped the problem - I also tried it with the Wife's DROID and same thing happened so I doubt we have 2x phones out of compliance with the FCC's incidental noise spec's.
All in All, this camera is a winner - once you learn how to manage the menu's and get around it's quirks it is a solid performer and there is nothing in it's price/performance class that even comes close to this camera for Low Light and overall performance Oh, and contrary to some reports the 920 is as sharp as the previous 900 model you just have to use the sharpen option as they softened the default setting and moved the former sharpen default to the options menu.
Be advised there is a learning curve to fully understanding this camera and all it's features.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2013
After trying a Canon Vixia HF G30 and a Sony HDR-CX430V to replace my beloved Sony HDR-XR520V, I finally hit the jackpot with the Panasonic HC-X920. Easy to use - fantastic quality in any light. My home videos have a true professional look using Final Cut Pro X. I capture on a SanDisk 64GB Extreme Pro SDXC. Well worth the money on the North Atlantic! I just received a filter kit and and a Haze-1 filter. Can't wait for to use them. Highly recommend!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2013
This cam has so many features and available controls compared to my old tape cam that reading the extensive manual was essential for me. The on-line manual is about 200 pages long.
I use my cam almost exclusively for wildlife photography, and I normally use a Canon with a long lens for stills but when my Canon had some issues I was forced to use the Panasonic for those still shots as well as video. I was very pleased with the results. So far low light conditions have not caused problems in capturing video of wildlife and the "anti-shake" ability is simply incredible as compared to my older equipment.
HD Writer 5.0 supplied with the cam is used to download from the flash card to the computer (a PC). It worked without a glitch.
The ability of the Panasonic to convert the HD video to mp4 internally is very useful if you are used to editing on old software that doesn't do well with HD video.
I have had problems getting the WiFi functions to stay connected but that feature has a low priority for my intended uses.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2014
I bought this camcorder to record videos of my first child. The camcorder itself is decent. I would rate it as a 7.5/10. The video quality really impressed me. But the menus and available features really left something to be desired. Also, it has certain quirky features that are somewhat of an annoyance. For example, the "Film Mode" records at 25p instead of the traditional 24p. Also when you flip the display forward, you can't change any of the settings. The touch screen is unresponsive IMO and feels like it belongs on a camera from the early 2000s. Besides all of that, like previously mentioned, the video quality at the highest settings was very good! So I was happy.
Exactly 4 months after purchase (convenient as the warranty is 90 days), I began experiencing some mechanical AND software malfunctions. Sometimes when I turned the camera on, I would hear this loud buzzing noise, that was either coming from the automatic lens cover, or the stabilization system. The buzzing would persist until I reset the camera. The lens cover would also sometimes get stuck open after I turned the camera off. But these were minor annoyances that I could live with, even though I paid big money (for me) for this camera.
The true show stopper was a severe glitch in the video (over half the display) that would randomly occur during recording. This "glitch" would freeze the display and the recorded video, and would only go away after restarting the camera. This was a show stopper for me, because I didn't want to be recording something off a tripod, like a children's play for example, and the glitch happen unaware to me, only to realize after that I missed out on the entire event because of the camera. I added a picture of the glitch in the customer pictures.
Dealing with Panasonic Customer service (specifically the McAllen, TX service center) has been one of the worst customer service experiences of my life. I've been without the camera for THREE MONTHS now (missed so many "firsts" from my baby girl). At one point they sent the camera back to me AS IS because the tech could not reproduce the glitch (I was able to reproduce it after 5 minutes into the first recording). Their communication is terrible. My shipment will show as "received" for weeks with no update. Only after I email them asking for an update will they send one. There are other things as well that have made this a bad experience, but in order to keep the review short, I will not go into detail. Ask me a question for more detail if you want.
No amount of product quality can offset such a poor customer service experience IMO, which is why I have no choice but to rate this as 1 star (0 if i could give it). I will NEVER purchase another Panasonic product again.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2014
I'm liking this more than I thought I would. My reference is my big kid camera, a Panasonic AG AC 160A, which is a pro camera, no qualifiers needed.
I just shot a quick series of clips for a small business commercial, B-roll really, and the camera takes beautiful images. So far, shooting at 1080/60P.
Just hooked up a new Shure VP83 shot gun, and it sounds like butta. Also got a 0.7 wide angle lens, which is more necessary than I expected. You've got to get extra batteries and a charger, no question about it. I tried, but returned non-OEM batteries and ponied up for the Panny 260s. Have the dual charger from the "B" company in New York, for about ehtity bucks, works great, and has an option to charge from car cig lighter socket and also provides 5 VDC for USB devices.
Also, you'll need a good set of ND filters. I bought Tiffens. Haven't figured out yet that I may need NDs to fit on the wide angle lens.
You won't need a lens cover for the camera as it closes doors when powered off.
I bought it for those situations where I can't shoot with my pro rig, thought it might do in a pinch for a B camera, but more and more, I'm taking it out as my A camera. Never thought that would happen. Useful especially when XLR sound capture is not too important, like B roll. But, the addition of a camera-mounted shot gun is always a better solution than the camera mic. See my review of the Shure VP83.
Yes, there are few who complain about the location of the power switch, but that's one of several very minor things IMO. Its small form factor makes nearly professional shoots possible where a full rig would be out of the question. Never thought it would come to this, but this is an ideal solution for those who want decent footage and the circumstances won't allow for a full professional set up.
It's a mighty little camera. It's really a sleeper, especially with no protruding lens hood like the Canons. It's not quite a pocket camera, unless you're wearing loose-fitting Levis. But it would fit nicely in your wife's purse, for example, if you're shooting a baptism from the pews.
Hope this puts a bit of a perspective that helps you make the right decision.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2013
I bought this camcorder based on many reviews online. I compared X920 and G20 back and forth, and finally chose X920 for 1080p/60 and 5.1ch audio (of course the Leica lens since I have LX5 camera and had FZ40 for a while).
I took it with me for my family vacation early this month, I shot a lot of short footage, the picture looks amazing on my 60" HDTV screen! Other reviews already listed many pros and cons, so I won't repeat here. And I'm still pretty new to this camcorder, so all I can tell is from my vacation experience.
1. AWB worked well most of time, but sometimes it took a while to set the right WB. I used IA mode most of the time since I didn't have much time to set up manual mode;
2. When shooting for a long time, it got warm event hot near SD compartment (I think it's caused by writing to the card, of course hot weather is another factor) especially when I used viewfinder for a long time (I think when LCD is closed the fan is blocked). The viewfinder is decent, very helpful for outside shooting under the sun or when it's not convenient to open the LCD. One problem I had with viewfinder pulled out was that I kept forgetting it's on, so I accidentally hit the record button, it started recording! I had a couple of footage got nothing but my walking steps...
3. Still picture only saves JPEG format, the IQ is ok, but it's VERY slow to write a file (a couple of seconds), and while it's writing you cannot take another one! I simply gave up, and used my LX5 when I needed (I'm glad I took my LX5 with me for backup).
4. There are three mode for audio, 5.1ch, Zoom and Focus. 5.1ch records everything, so the audio for outside is very noisy; Zoom and Focus mode are much quieter, you can tell instantly when you put on headphone when recording.
5. Battery life varies, I bought Wasabi VW-VBN260 package that comes with two big batteries and charger. I used two big batteries first, usually enough for one day shooting, the 130 one come with the camcorder is just a backup (I only needed once for the whole trip).
6. The camcorder is good quality, made in Japan, you can count on that. It feels right in my hand, pretty light, well balanced.
7. I didn't get much chance to explore the manual mode, I might update this part later.
UPDATE: Manual focus with Focus Peaking is very accurate, I tried to shoot a dragonfly yesterday, AF simply didn't work, so I switched to MF, nice result, only the dragonfly got focus, background blured out nicely, nice bokeh!
8. I tried WiFi feature once at home, pretty cool, but it's not practical to use on vacation.
Anyway, I'm very happy with this purchase, I hope it will serve me well for some years down the road.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2013
I originally purchased the Panasonic 720, but needed the headphone jack, which is absolutely essential if sound is critical (there was an error in Panasonic's 720 information stating it had a headphone jack). The 920 is a great camera with true color reproduction, easy to use menu structure, and WiFi for streaming through Ustream is outstanding. The view finder is absolutely necessary when in bright sunlight. Great camera.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2013
I bought this camera and wound up returning it. As much as I wanted it to work - it wasn't for me.
The zoom would flicker on objects in the background which makes the video look really bad and as I often blog (use the camera facing me) - it was a pain in the behind that the controls aren't available on the touch screen when you flip it over.
And, as nice as the iPhone feature is ... it doesn't replace a necessary remote control for simple start / stop. I don't want the hassle of tethering to an iPhone to perform a simple function of on/off.
Needless to say - the camera went back and I upgraded to a Canon XA20 (which I wrote a review for).
This camera may be good for simple outdoors where low light isn't a challenge and is used as a point / click style video camera. But, if you need it to perform specific functions (like I mentioned), you are going to start banging your head against the wall.
I really wanted it to work - but I learned it wasn't the camera for me - and the flickering was unacceptable for a $1000 video camera. (Who knows - maybe something was defective???)