35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on 31 October 2013
I ordered this camera after much research. I am an amateur short film maker, but, was looking for a camera capable of providing full manual control and very good images without the price tag of a full pro rig. I also needed it to be large enough to provide stability in the hand and small enough to be easily carried on holiday and city breaks.
Amazon was selling at a good price and so I placed my order. The camera arrived next day, well done Amazon, and I have to say that although I have only had time to make some quick test shots, I am already falling in love with this camera. Size is perfect, looking like the serious camera that it is, but, also small enough and light enough to be easily carried around. The menu system is readily accessible and appears easy to use. The picture quality is amazing with good sharp images within the optical zoom range (yet to test the enhanced zoom) and excellent colour balance. The manual control of camera settings and the ability to use the manual ring to control zoom, focus or iris is a brilliant feature although for much general shooting the iA automatic setting seems to provide the ideal set up and will be much used by many people.
So far so good! I hope to be doing some serious shooting over the next few weeks and so I will update this review if any particular problems are encountered, but, I'm really not anticipating any at this time.
UPDATE: 4 months later and I am still delighted with this camera. Some great results and fulfilling all my requirements. I have added a full lens hood and Rode Stereo video mike (useful stuby shape allows use directly on hotshoe mount without appearing on wide angle view as some longer mikes do) If you want pro quality HD video, but in a sensibly sized package, you wont go far wrong with this camera.
88 of 90 people found the following review helpful
on 1 June 2013
My previous Panasonic 3-chip consumer video camera was a 15 year old, standard definition, DV tape model. Image quality of the X 920 is of course far better; it's smaller and lighter than the last century equivalent while the LCD screen is thinner, clearer and touch-sensitive.
Although it's relatively unusual to find one at all on most consumer cameras, the viewfinder is a disappointment. Usefully, pulling it out turns on the camera but there is no up and down adjustment so in all but bright sunlight, the LCD screen is the best bet for picture composition.
And it's the LCD screen that provides access to the X 920's almost bewildering array of options, adjustments and settings. Everything from zebra-pattern overlay to an exposure-assistance histogram display, face-recognition recording to manual audio level adjustment is on hand.
But you can point and shoot...IA (Intelligent Auto) will automatically set up optimum white balance, focus and aperture for Portrait, Scenery, Spotlight (very bright) and Low Light conditions and claims to do so simply by pressing the IA button then pointing at what it is you want to shoot!
Scarily, perhaps, I've found this works so well that with one or two exceptions I really cannot better it under full manual control, which in any case is much slower to set up.
IA+ mode offers the features of IA plus manual adjustment of colour balance and brightness while Creative Control gives a Miniature (diorama) effect, a "faded" feel described as 8mm , an overall darker look Panasonic calls Silent Movie plus a more useful and configurable Time Lapse facility.
Scene mode provides ten more auto settings for situations ranging from Sports and Soft Skin(!) to Night Portrait and Fireworks.
Finally, Manual operation allows not only complete control of everything but the facility to assign different functions to the manual ring on the lens. Prefer to zoom via turning the manual ring clockwise rather than anti-clockwise? Fine, it can all be set up via the appropriate menu!
The on-board mike performs as you might expect. Capture of ambient sound is good with little or no noise recorded from the camera itself and for general "atmosphere" there really is no point in adding an external mike.
My main use of the camera is for recording discussions, interviews and demonstrations so I've added an active XLR adaptor to enable use of professional microphones. The facility to turn off the X 920's Automatic Gain Control and manually set audio levels was a big part in my decision to buy and the quality of recorded audio has been every bit as good as I had hoped.
What has come as a surprise is the built-in WiFi, that I have to admit was a complete turn-off when I read the specification, assuming it was another "toy" that would be as little use to me as the Silent Movie setting.
However, with Panasonic's free app installed on an iPad I can turn the X 920 on and off, monitor the image, zoom if necessary and replay recordings. Yes, there is a very slight delay (maybe .5 to 1 sec) but for monitoring output from a locked-off camera it's really useful!
Still images? Yes, works fine and reasonable quality but after trying it out on Day One I've never had a use for this function.
Battery life? Using the LCD screen and WiFi I find I am lucky to get even an hour of recording but this improves considerably with the power-hungry functions turned off. I've invested in a long-life battery so with this and the supplied unit I've found no problems in working for 2.5 to 3 hours.
Optical Image Stabilizer? I generally use the camera on a tripod but hand-held shooting shows the OIS system is very good indeed and if you should be in to fast, hand-held panning then the X 920 will even tell you when this is being done too quickly!
- Images are pin-sharp, bright with well-saturated colour and replayed through an HD monitor/TV the quality is quite simply stunning.
- The auto functions are very effective indeed. When I want full manual control, everything needed (and more) is there but don't turn your nose up at the X 920's ability to automatically set up white balance, aperture, colour balance et al until you've tried it.
- Although the Zoom and Focus microphone settings strike me as ineffective and a little gimmicky, ambient recording with onboard mikes is fine while the ability to turn off AGC and manually set audio record levels makes for best use of external microphones.
- like any high-end consumer camera, there is a trade-off between manual control and the means of accessing it! The size of unit means it is impossible to have the professional camera ease of use provided by externally mounted buttons and dials. The menus are reasonably logical and no controls are "hidden away" but it does take determination and lots of LCD screen touching to take full control.
- the viewfinder is an asset but could be much better
- battery life is such that if you're not working close to mains electricity then additional batteries are essential
An extremely good camera producing superb images.
47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on 31 August 2013
I haven't owned a camcorder since 2002 - and I can scarcely believe the recording quality and ease of operation of this one. When I played back the first test recording on our TV via the included HDMI cable, my wife and I both gasped at what looked every bit as good as a live TV broadcast. If you're wondering if this is worth its price, it isn't - it's worth far more! (Low light performance is outstanding, too.)
50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on 5 November 2013
First let me say that my initial reaction to this camera is that it is the best movie camera that I have ever owned ~ and I have been taking movie films since 1952.. It isn't a showy camera ~ in fact it is so inconspicuous that you can take pictures in conditions where you might otherwise be asked to move on. It gives perfect color reproduction. It will produce great pictures in minimal lighting conditions. The lens is bitingly sharp. The only technical snag that I've found with it is that the auto color change when moving from one light condition to another is a tad slow ~ but once it has fixed itself the adjustment is perfect. I could recommend this camera to anyone BUT ~ yes there is a BUT, and it's a worrying one ~ the camera is advertised as possessing a 3MOS PRO processor. Get that? 3MOS PRO!The 3MOS suggests that the camera possesses 3 processors ~ and so it does! and the PRO suggests that it is suitable for professional use. But AFTER you have opened up the SEALED BOX you come to the instructions book, and at the end of the instructions book, in small letters, you are told that the camera which you have just bought is LICENSED FOR AMATEUR USE ONLY. The good news is that after a good deal of research I received the assurance of the Director of the copyright agency that nothing in this clause is intended to apply to the USER of the camera ~ it is a confusingly worded reference to the licence agreement which PANASONIC has with the owner of some of the software that makes it work. THAT BEING SO I CAN RECOMMEND THIS CAMERA FOR PRODUCING THE BEST MOVIE PICTURES POSSIBLE THIS SIDE OF 4K.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 1 August 2014
The camcorder and the quality of the video it produces are amazing. I think it's one of the best devices in the prosumer area right now. No doubt. Much better from the much more expensive Canon G30 (at least in my opinion).
If you want to make some serious use of this camcorder, be prepared to buy some accessories. A 16:9 lens hood is a good start. A guy called Mark Spooner explains all that in a brilliant video he made: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U12a-hhtjTY
The camcorder is perfect for a home video - it's lightweight, its automatic modes are very accurate and it produces an outstanding video quality. If you're a hobbyist or a professional, there are some drawbacks in the camcorder's design and software in my opinion.
Here's what I like and what I dislike:
- really good video quality
- deals great with high contrasts (however, has a tendency to over-exposure highlighted parts of the exposition)
- automatic modes work surprisingly well
- the I.O.S. (the stabilisation) works like magic. I could manage to record in full optical zoom (12x), holding the camcorder in hand and it looked like I was shooting from a tripod
- lightweight and small
- behaves well in low-light conditions
- if you're about to shoot in a manual mode, there's a 'function' button next to the ring. It's nice idea, as it allows you to switch between the manual mode options, but when you have the display opened and tilted, it's quite hard to reach that small button - it's too close to the display
- there are some software drawbacks as well. E.g. if you're in a manual mode and you set up the shutter speed manually or aperture value, and you want to switch it back to the auto mode, you have to press the 'iA' button, which brings EVERYTHING back to the auto mode, including the white balance. That's very inconvenient.
Overall - well worth the price and highly recommended.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2013
This is an excellent camcorder in low light situations. The autofocus is consistent. There is occasional overexposure so I use manual adjustment. The viewfinder is handy in bright outdoor light.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 31 January 2014
Excellent camera, would recommend it for those on a budget and who need a semi pro camera.
1)Picture Quality - It works well in low light conditions. the picture quality is superb, excellent colour reproduction - all my friends have remarked on how good it is (despite one reviewer saying it isnt as good as the sd60 which is a bit strange. I had an sd60 and the /920 is much much better.) you can choose between 5.1 ch audio or stereo recording.
I still havnet figured out how to take stills pictures. Can anyone help
2) The audio is excellent, although I never rely on just 1 audio recording, and use a zoom audio recorder as a backup, but that me being extra careful!
3)Battery - I bought an extra battery. I had to shoot outdoors and 1 battery lasted about 1hr 35 mins, so I needed the spare.
The manual that comes with it is not very detailed, which is annoying when trying to figure out the wifi ability.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 30 September 2013
Works like a charm. The zoom works very well and the onscreen reminder to keep it on the level is most useful.
Recording in a theatre environment was extremely good with a decent sound pick up. Playback onscreen or through a laptop or tv is good.
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 31 August 2013
The camera itself is very light and easy to handle. Excellent clear touchscreen and a big lens for great low-light results. The option of capturing video in MP4 format does away with the hassles of processing AVCHD and makes this a particularly good camera for use with Mac iMovie. With both iMovie and Adobe Premier Pro the captured MP4 drops straight in to a project, nothing else needed. A special mention too for the macro ability of this camera both in still and video modes. Amazing results!
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 2 September 2013
This is my first experience with such a high end product. I have not been disappointed. Firstly, the transaction was very easy, with very fast delivery, well packaged. I was a bit worried about battery life, and therefore I bought a couple of extended life batteries for it, but not sure I needed to, as the standard battery life seems to exceed the 1 hour quoted. Anyhow, this is an easy camcorder to use, and if you read the PDF supplied, there are a wealth of features and addons available. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to produce good quality movies for work, or just to have as a fun device for home.