Sunday, February 7, 2010

Cheapest! Panasonic HDC-SD9 AVCHD 3CCD Flash Memory High Definition Camcorder with 10x Optical Image

Panasonic HDC-SD9 AVCHD 3CCD Flash Memory High Definition Camcorder with 10x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom

Product Description
Use of the super-small SDHC/SD memory card helped Panasonic to create the world's smallest and lightest 3CCD full-HD camcorder. The SD9 fits comfortably in the hand and can be used for long periods without causing fatigue. Panasonic full-HD camcorders record horizontal pixels at an HD resolution of up to 1920 pixels, which results in a total of around 2,070,000 pixels. And with progressive scanning, our hi-def camcorders provide twice as much data per picture as conventional interlace scanning. This means you get breathtaking images with exceptional resolution and detail. Combine that with a 1080/24p format, which lets you capture scenes with a rich, film-like quality, and you can see why Panasonic full-HD camcorders take visual expression to the next level. With Face Detection offered for the first time for recording moving pictures with a video camera Panasonic makes it easy to capture beautiful faces and clear backgrounds even in dim or backlit scenes. This new function, which can detect up to five faces at once, automatically adjusts the exposure and smooths skin tones according to the ambient brightness, so faces are bright and easy to see. The new Intelligent Shooting Guide function helps you get magnificent shots by displaying a text message in the LCD monitor, telling you which settings are best for the current shooting conditions. With Intelligent Selection Playback, poor or inadvertent shots (such as shots of the ground or overly dark scenes) are skipped and all normal scenes are played while viewing. Panasonic's Advanced Optical Image Stabilization (O.I.S.) suppresses the effects of hand shake as you shoot. The system uses gyrosensors to detect hand shake, then shifts a lens and adjusts the optical axis to compensate. This all happens a remarkable 4,000 times per second. And because the system is optical, no image quality is lost. Thanks to Advanced O.I.S., the images you capture look incredibly clear, sharp and beautiful on a big TV screen.

  • Capture high-definition video to flash memory; 1920 x 1080 progressive recording
  • 10x optical zoom; Advanced Mega Optical Image Stabilizer
  • Face detection technology; Intelligent Shooting Guide
  • 5.1-channel surround sound; Zoom mic feature
  • Compatible with SD/SDHC memory cards

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After 2 years, replaced it with a Canon
I bought this video camera about 2 years ago because I thought it was top-of-the-line back then, at a reasonable price. The picture quality was good, and I loved the size, but I recently sold it on eBay and bought a Canon HF-200 for the following reasons: 1) I absolutely hated the Panasonic's joystick toggle on the inside panel...not ergonomic at all, confusing to use, I wanted the touch controls on the screen itself, 2) on more than one occassion my wife and I both thought we were recording when, in fact, we were not. The Panasonic's screen info was always confusing, and we missed several very important moments due to the confusion. The main problem is that when you turn the camera on the screen says "Recording to card". It's stupid because there is nothing else besides the card it can record to, and my wife often thought it mean it was literally recording, i.e., it was shooting video, when in fact it was not. You still had to press the Record button.

So be warned there are some serious usability issues with this camera: the joystick on the inside panel, and the info screen. Also, the surround-sound is totally useless for everyday recording of family events. When we played video back on our home theather it produced a huge, unnecessary echo effect.

So do your research and compare notes. Btw, the Canon has a 15x zoom, that is the other nice thing. And the HF-200 is a good price! I sold my HDC-SD9 for $305 on eBay.

thumbs up from a music video maker
Let me just say that I love this camera. Excited as I was to be getting my first 3-chip videocam, thereby putting me in the ranks of more professional standards, I have to admit I was a little worried when I opened up the package and saw how small this thing really is. But they've packed quite a package into this little frame. You don't realize it, but with a history of using regular videocams, you get used to your files just sort of making an approximation of the color of something. With the final vids from this, I was amazed to finally have video that captures the actual complex colors of things exactly as they are in front of you. And the video quality is pristine, beautiful.

If you do a lot of video editing (I use Sony Vegas) on a PC, please bear in mind that the included software is virtually useless if you would like to keep the quality standard to what this cam is capable of. As of now, the only programs I know of capable of converting the AVCHD files to something that feeds into most these programs (WMV, for instance) are 1)AVS Video Converter and 2)VoltaicHD. Both of these programs cost a small bit of money, but it is worth it, so just keep that in mind. I think the vid quality of AVS is ever-so-slightly better than the Voltaic. From what I hear, for Mac users, the latest QT update will just make your programs read the stuff.

I have put this cam up against a much bigger, more high-end, over the shoulder, professional-level 3-chip cam, and I definitely liked the video that came from this better. Granted, the uber-professional thing might have more options and intricacies, like external mic hookup and a few custom tailored options, but just on base vid quality alone... well, this thing impressed.

Yes, it does better in better light. But any videographer knows that setting up good lighting in the first place is an integral part of any videographer's job.

As far as the complaints about not having a mic input... the mics on the unit sound really great, and for getting closer in/booming in something, it is easy enough just to buy a Zoom H2 or something of the like, and just having an additional audio source. No problem!

I have a 8 gig card, and that gets a little over an hour recording time. What a relief not to have to transfer any DV or tape info, at this quality-level. And if you are using the beforementioned file conversion programs, the whole battery pack issue people are mentioning on here is nill. You just pop open the SD card and read it.

I hope this review helps. I love this cam for the money, which was much less than many other comparable units.

Good for the price
This is the first camcorder I've owned, so my rating is based on my personal satisfaction and not comparison to other cameras.


- 3ccd: The color depth and saturation are very good.

- Optical image stabilization works really well.

- 5.1 surround sound: It's actually very good when you're watching your videos with a good pair of headphones--it really adds dimension to the sound. The sound quality is also good.


- Low resolution sensors: The 1080p resolution is pushing the 1/6" sensors beyond their capacity.

- Compression: if you have an eye for picture quality you can see the compression in the videos, even at highest quality. It's not something the average viewer would notice though.

- Grainy indoors. I don't know how it compares to other cameras, but my wife and I both noticed how grainy the picture is in anything but full sunlight.

Conclusion: I'm satisfied with the camera for the price I paid. If you can't stand compression artifacts and graininess indoors, get a more expensive camera.

Panasonic HCD-SD9 HD camcorder
I'm quite happy with the camcorder, ease of use is what I expected for the form factor. Menu navigation is somewhat tedious, but I don't find it to be all the needed once you're shooting.

SD memory medium is great - I love the fact that the camera is silent, small, and lightweight. It gets intriguingly warm when shooting for extended periods.

Only complaints are the avchd file types and lack of good free editing tools.

Overall great value and I'm pleased.

Picky People Please.....
I purchased this HD Camcorder and I have been using it for around three months. Yes, I agree in low light it really doesn't have the greatest picture however. What I paid for this is around the same as I paid for my old JVC and this thing blows it away. 16/9 widescreen. The stills look great. The video is most of the time crystle clear. I've had a couple of time when the color was a bit over saturated but I believe it was most likely the way I set it up and not the cameras fault. I believe this is an awesome consumer HD camcorder for the money I really don't think you'll find anything better.

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