Top positive review
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HDC-TM300 Upgrade - Amazing!
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.