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Panasonic HC-WX970 review

Richard Easton
1 Jul 2015
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Panasonic HC-WX970 teaser image
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
799
inc VAT

The HC-WX970's fantastic 4K image quality and HDR mode makes for wonderfully well-exposed scenes

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Specifications

Optical zoom: 20x, Sensor: 1/2.3in BSI MOS, LCD screen: 3in, 460,800 dots, Size (HxWxD): 73x65x139mm, Weight: 360g

Recording quality was as good as we expected based on Panasonic's previous camcorders. Outdoor footage recorded at 50Mbit/s MP4 at 1080p looked fantastic, with plenty of detail even when zooming in from massive distances. On a native 4K display, our UHD clips were impressively clear and sharp, with incredible levels of detail. Captured 8-megapixel stills looked great too, with just a press of the camera shutter button needed to grab an image. The five-axis hybrid optical image stabilisation also did a great job of maintaining a steady shot, even when we zoomed in all the way.

^Photo captured with from 4K video

The HC-WX970 also has a HDR (High Dynamic Range) video mode, although this is limited to filming in 1080p only. Like with still photography, HDR will help with scenes that have great variations between shadows and highlights. Often in such scenarios either the foreground object is correctly exposed, with the background blown out, or vice versa. HDR mode exposes for both and combines the image, capturing greater range across the light spectrum. We found it effective, avoiding the overly-artificial look we've seen from other HDR footage.

Battery life was also very good. We managed 1 hour and 53 minutes of recording at 1080p, which is very respectable. Charging is handled through a DC jack on the side of the camcorder and a USB to DC jack cable is provided along with a 5V/1.8A USB wall adaptor. This will mean you’ll be able to charge the camcorder through the USB adaptors that come with most tablets, which could potentially mean you carry one less USB adaptor on your next holiday.

Overall the Panasonic HC-WX970 is a feature-packed camcorder that’s light and comfortable to use. 4K video is still tricky to edit and not everyone has a display that can do the footage justice, but in the meantime 4K photo capture definitely makes it worth shooting as much footage as you can in 4K. The twin camera, on the other hand, probably won’t get a lot of use, so you could feasibly save £100 by opting for the otherwise similar HC-VX870.

Hardware
Optical zoom20x
Digital zoom1,500x
Max recording resolution3.840x2,160
Sensor1/2.3in BSI MOS
Sensor pixels7,000,000
LCD screen3in, 460,800 dots
ViewfinderNone
Video lampNone
Video recording formatAVCHD, MP4
Video recording mediaSD
SoundDolby Digital 5.1, AAC
Maximum still image resolution6784x3816
Memory slot (card supplied)SD (none)
Camera flashNone
Connections
USB outputsMicro USB
Video outputsMicro HDMI
Other connectionsCharge jack, A/V, Microphone
Battery typeLithium-ion
Battery life1hr 53m
Battery charging positionCamcorder
Size (HxWxD)73x65x139mm
Weight360g
Buying information
WarrantyOne year RTB
Price including VAT£799
Supplierwww.jessops.com
Detailswww.panasonic.com
Part codeHC-WX970

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