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Panasonic HC-X920 review – Hands on

  • Panasonic HC-X920
  • Panasonic HC-X920
  • Panasonic HC-X920

Panasonic's new flagship consumer camcorder for 2013 looks very much like Panasonic flagship consumer camcorder for 2012. Don't be fooled by its appearance though as the Panasonic HC-X920 has three major upgrades over last year's Panasonic HC-X900.

Panasonic HC-X920

First and foremost are the upgrades to the 3MOS sensor array. This now uses BSI (backside illuminated) sensors with superior low-light performance. The raw resolution of the sensors has also increased from 6.57 megapixels in total to 8.49 megapixels. We were shown some examples of footage shot with the camcorder, and it looked more composed with less glare at 100 lux (bright conditions) and had far less noise at 10 lux (low light) - that's compared to last years model. Of course we'll have to see what Sony has up its sleeve for 2013 before making any final conclusions though.

Panasonic HC-X920

The lens looks to be identical to last year's at first glance, but it has a new nano surface coasting apparently, but we're not clear on what benefits this provides.

Another major upgrade to this year's model is Wi-Fi support. This allows for real-time broadcast of events via the popular Ustream service. It can even send email out to preregistered addresses to inform them the live broadcast is beginning. Great for sharing event footage with family and friends in distant locations. A smartphone app is also available for Android and iOS, which lets you see the footage from the camcorder and control the zoom and other functions.

Panasonic HC-X920

Finally, there's a new gravity sensor in addtion to the current 5-axis stabilisation system. This allows the HC-X920 to keep your shots level with Panasonic claiming that around 70% of handheld footage is off kilter. The sensor detects when the camera is slightly skewed to the ground and automatically compensates (much like electronic stabilisation systems) to set you level.

These are all great improvements to an already excellent camcorder, but competition in this market is fierce and until we get both Sony and Panasonic's efforts (along with Canon's and Samsung's) in for testing it's far too early to call a winner.

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