Panasonic HDC-SD9 AVCHD 3CCD Flash Memory High Definition Camcorder with 10x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom
List Price: $799.95

Our Price: $764.20

You Save: $35.75 (4%)

 


Product Description

Use of the super-small SDHC/SD memory card helped us to create the world's smallest and lightest 3CCD full-HD camcorder. The HDC-SD9 Full-HD Camcorder fits comfortably in your 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. With progressive scanning, the hi-def camcorders provide twice as much data per picture as conventional interlace scanning. With Face Detection, 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 smooth skin tones according to the ambient brightness, so faces are bright and easy to see. The 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 handshake as you shoot. The system uses gyro sensors to detect handshake, then shifts a lens and adjusts the optical axis to compensate. No image quality is lost because the system is optical. Optical Zoom - 10x Variable Speed Zoom Focal Length - 3.0 - 30 mm Filter Diameter - 37mm Advanced O.I.S. Image Stabilizer Minimum Illumination - 5 Lux (1/30 Low Light Mode), 1 Lux (Magic Pix Mode) AF/Manual Focus White Balance - Auto/Indoor/Outdoor/White Set Auto/Manual Iris Backlight Compensation 2.7 Wide (300,000 Dots) LCD Monitor 170-degrees Wide Viewing Angle LCD (Vertically & Horizontally) HD Advanced Pure Color Engine PictBridge Compatible

Features:
  • 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

Customer Reviews:

  • Needs Improvement.
    Pros:
    Price.
    Lightweight.
    Compact and easy to use.
    Good High level light pictures.
    SD Card is located nicely and easy to access.
    Sound Quality is great.

    Cons:
    Extremely! poor low light video quality. I mean POOR, Crappy, decrepid, lame, sub-par, not good etc, etc.
    Bundled Software is crap.
    Have to open the viewer to remove the battery.
    Poor Still Picture Quality.

    I almost returned this camera due to its poor low light performance. Not what I would expect from something that carries the "HD" symbol. I got this camera to document our new babies life and you have to know that things like family get togethers and X-mas are not going to be outdoors or even during the day time hours sometimes. The picture quality starts to degrade right just before dusk. Lots of grain in faces and video noise when the lights are even slightly low. During the day or with direct light on the subject...no problem. When I first got the camera it was almost dark, so out of the box, I was really pissed at how bad the videos turned out. Only after recording the next day did I even get close to true HD looking videos.

    If you plan on any type of low light level recording, stay way away from this camera. ...more info
  • nice camera, bad software
    I like the camera which I could not get off amazon because they won't ship to Canada..

    It has nice picture, some great features. There are some annoying things though. You can't open the door for the sd card while on a tripod. The little plastic covers for the av/usb are a pain. Can't plug the camera in and charge the battery at the same time.

    Editing with the computer is a pain. The included software doesn't do much and I don't much care for pinnacle studio which if you do buy the full version isn't very good. As well, you need to pay for each feature you want and register on line.

    I would be happy with ulead video studio 11 if it recognized the file format which it doesn't. As it sits right now, I can't do a good job editing and converting my videos.

    If you are looking for software to view the files on you computer. Nero 8 will do this.

    If anyone has software recommendations, I would be happy to hear about them.
    ...more info
  • Not worth $500
    I recently purchased a HDC-SD9 from Amazon after comparing similar models offered by Sony & Canon. I am new to camcorders and after much research I was excited about SD9's tiny size, strong performance in bright environments, 1080p recording, flash memory and ability to take pictures while shooting. Besides the size and sleek design this device is a monumental disappointment.

    Cons:

    - Crappy, crappy, really crappy pictures. Picture taken at 2.1 MP stand-alone is horrible enough. Pictures taken while shooting video is pathetic.
    - This camera DOES NOT record 1080p. It is 1080i (interlaced at 60 lines) rendered as 1080p (progressive). On the other hand, there are no true 1080p camcorders in this price range. If this is important (it was for me) I suggest you wait until true 1080p camcorders arrive
    - Disappointing in-door video performance. I have a 37' 1080p Samsung TV with Sony PS3 HDMI connection. I hooked the USB module from PS3 to the SD9 and played it as 1080p video in my HDTV. The video was very disappointing. I might as well have gotten a regular (SD) camcorder for $200 less.
    - Zoom. 10x optical zoom just doesn't cut it. It has a crappy 24x digital zoom and a crappier 700x digital zoom that you wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole. Besides, you cannot record 1080p (whatever, it isnt true progressive anyways) cinema mode while using digital zooms. If you hike a lot or planning to shoot out-doors, then this is not a camera for you. Look at Canon (15x optical) or Sony (12x optical)
    - Lack of touch screen & cumbersome side panel. It is very hard to play around with the side panel. For example, deleting a photo is a 4-step operation instead of 1. The screen is not touch based so you have depend on the side panel to perform operations
    - Camera Focus. The focus button doesnt do a great job though I can't complain much.
    - $500 price tag: This camera does not have enough features nor does it have performance to justify the hefty price tag

    Pros:

    + Sleek design
    + Tiny Size & Weight - you can put this camcorder in your pocket
    + 5.1 Dolby Recording - The voice is clean with minimal noise reproduction
    + LCD Screen - The screen is bright with 3 brightness levels controlled from the side panel
    + Quick start (<1 second)
    + A 3 second pre-recording option so that you dont have to miss any key moments
    + Quick file transfer to PC. If you have a SD card slot, you don't even need the USB cables packaged along.
    + Immediate AVCHD playback in PS3. Just hook the camera to the PS3 and voila!
    + Mini-HDMI slot to interface with your HDTV (cables to be bought separately)
    + Memory Expasion: The maximum size of SDHC memory card SD9 supports is 16GB. This records 2 hours of video at the highest resolution HA 1080p

    Summary:

    This camcorder can be a beginners dream. The reason I was disappointed was because of these 3 reasons:
    1. Poor in-door performance
    2. Bad picture quality
    3. Not enough zoom
    If these 3 are not your major concerns, then this might be an ideal camcorder for you. However, the SD9 WILL NOT replace you digital camera for still pictures. I suggest you look at the Canon HG series (not the HF100 or HF11 - they are any better than SD9) or Sony if you can live with 1080i rather than 1080p recording. Good luck!...more info
  • Very nice camera with some limitations
    There are already several very good reviews here, so I'll only hit on a few points that should be emphasized:

    1.) Very small and light; almost unbelievably so. This camera is already getting much more use than our older one simply because it fits easily into my wife's purse or a fanny pack.

    2.) Quick startup. I haven't timed it, but the startup is so quick that many spontaneous events, which you'd usually miss, get recorded.

    3.) Removable SD card. Very easy for transferring files to the PC for editing or backup. My wife and kids love the ability to shoot something, remove the SD card, plug it into the PlayStation 3, and watch it. DON'T pay for the built-in 16gb memory; it costs too much, but more importantly you lose considerable ease of use.

    4.) Awful low-light performance. The camera works like a dream in bright light, but suks donkey b*lls in anything less; It does work, but the quality is barely acceptable. I really really hope that a company will some day realize there are consumers who are willing to pay a significant premium for high-quality low-light performance in consumer (small and easy to use) camera.

    5.) Almost too light. The image stabilization is barely adequate offset how much this thing bounces around. I guess everything is a tradeoff (see point #1)

    All-in-all a wonderful camera as long as it's used within its limits. The low average score really represents the poor state of AVCHD editing software and, to some extent, the camera's poor low-light performance; it seriously mis-states the quality and usefulness of this camera.
    ...more info
  • great little camcorder
    Let me first say I was nervous when buying this camcorder because of the mixed reviews. Then I started to look closer and realized most were because of the incompatability of the software that comes with it and the poor performance compared with other "more expensive" camcorders.

    well first off when you campare this camcorder with one $300 - $500 more than duh, the more expensive, bigger, camcorder video will probably look better when using it inside and taking pictures. Oh yeah, taking pictures that is grainy but do I care....NO! That is why I have a digital camera, and ofcourse the pics aren't up to par it has a freaking 2.1mp camera mode. I mean come on it says that on the box. Now I will say that indoor the video is kinda poor, it only has a 1/6" image sensor, so if you plan on a lot of indoor shooting this may not be for you, but I travel alot and the size of the camcorder and the outdoor performance are important for what I need.

    Software- I just ordered the Corel Ulead 11.5 editing software for 59 from amazon. I will write a review on this after I use it. The generic software that comes with the camcorder is not bad for basic software, I will not even try the Pinnacle since I have the other software coming.

    All in all for $699 from CC this is not a bad camera.

    Also warranty through square trade for 3 years and the accidental damage warranty were $70. This was with the "FIFTYOFF" code for people who have used square trade before if you are new you can find other 10- 30% codes online just google search. ...more info
  • Excellent value for money!
    This is an excellent choice if you are on a budget and want to buy an HD camcorder. I paid $569 at Amazon and I am very happy with my purchase. Though I agree with the software limitations, I have no doubt that this is something you can resolve by using third party programs. Image quality is outstanding. I also bought a Trascend 16GB SDHC memory to go with the camera. ...more info
  • No macs?
    There was no point in buying this product. It doesn't work with macs. It would have been nice for the description to say that. This camera is useless if you have a mac. I am very disappointed....more info
  • Amazing Camera for the Money
    I bought this camera for a specific purpose: Music. I go to a number of shows frequently and I'm in the process of building my own guitar instructional website. For these purposes, I wanted a camera with the following in mind:

    1 - HD
    2 - Record to Flash Media

    With keeping a low budget in mind, I stumbled upon this camera fairly quickly (there aren't many that record to flash media, apparently - especially in this price range).

    My review mainly consists of how this camera performs for my needs. All in all, the camera does a fantastic job. As others have noted, it's grainy in low-light conditions... but there are ways to combat that via settings in the camera. There are walk-throughs built into the camera that help you adjust settings for when it detects low lighting issues, bright light issues, etc. It's best if you sit at home and fiddle with the camera for a while before you get out and try to use it.

    In regards to ideal lighting conditions, the camera does a FANTASTIC job. Its zoom functionality works magnificently with crisp, clear recordings at full zoom. As I noted previously, the main purpose of this camera was to record videos for my guitar instructional website. It catches all the action of speedy guitar solos both far away and zoomed in. Those are very important details to catch and it does a fantastic job capturing them! With the capability to record through various mic settings, I can maintain many of the details of my guitar tone that most cameras lose either through their inadequate mics or video encoding techniques.

    As far as flash media goes, I wanted this option because I didn't want the added noise of a motor turning on and off for either an internal HDD or DVD recording medium. Likewise, I'm the perfect guitar player until the camera is on, so I knew I would be making tons of mistakes and outtakes in my recordings. Flash media is perfect for this, because I would have otherwise been blowing through DVD media (added cost).

    This camera easily gets 5 stars from me for exceeding my expectations. For the price and functionality, I couldn't have gone with anything other than this that would've made me any happier. Sure, there might be a camera out there in this price range where the lense may be slightly better or whatever, but the video quality I get from this camcorder leaves me desiring absolutely nothing!

    Oh, and don't buy this thing expecting it to be as good of a camera as it is a camcorder. It takes great pictures at 2MB, but camera and camcorder technologies are separate for a reason. If you know you're in the market for a *camcorder* that you might occasionally take pictures with (not a *camera* that you might occasionally record video with), I absolutely recommend this product!

    Oh, and one last thing: If you upload videos to YouTube, you can now upload AVCHD content with no conversion needed! This is a major plus and just one more sign of AVCHD being adopted in mainstream capacity.

    -Stephen...more info
  • I own and use this camera - so trust this review
    This camera is amazing. Some of the video that I've taken is as good as High Definition on PBS. However, the setup has to be right. Most importantly you need to take the video outside or if you must be inside then with as much light as you can get. It reminds me of the old super 8 movie days - I wish I had kept my light stick !

    Now with the negatives on other reviews.

    No viewfinder - so what? - good riddance.

    You have to remove the battery to hook up the hdmi to your tv - again, so what?

    No auxilary external mic input - so what.....

    you get the idea - if you want that stuff (by all means) go buy a different camera - personally I wouldn't pay $50 more for all of that stuff...

    There is no "defect" that has baring on using the product as an everyday family camcorder.

    Anyhow, I'm amazed at how much High definition video fits on a 8gb sdhc card. I would say an hour of video fits easily.

    The software that comes with the camera is not usable. Seriously - it is junk. Plan on buying other software to video edit....more info
  • Works for us
    We bought this to record important family events and for us it has worked very well. The quality of the raw image files seems quite high and the ease of use and portability make it a good choice for amateurs in my view.
    A 16 gig SD chip can hold a couple of hours of recording, more than a single battery can film. I don't have experience with other software video products but found the programs bundled with the camcorder servicable running under Vista Business....more info
  • Almost perfect
    Absolutely beautiful recordings in nearly every situation. Easy to use, compact, and convenient. However I have two problems with it:

    1. The software that comes with it is even worse than most software that you find with a camera, plus you're nearly forced to use it. With a digital still camera you can use just about anything to transfer/edit your photos, but on this camera the video is stored as AVCHD and there's very little choice. I've just ordered Ulead Video Studio, let's hope that helps.

    2. This one may seem a little nit-picky, but it gets really annoying. The joystick is slippery. That means that moving around in the menus (which you will have to do more often than normal on this camera) is sometimes very difficult. I'm considering putting a little friction pad or something on it.

    I'd give it a 4.5 if I could, but I can't. With the software I ordered and little sticky pad, I think I might just marry this camera. :)...more info
  • Nice Camcorder
    I bought the HDC-SD9 about 2 weeks ago. I am very happy with it though there have been some frustrations. Great video in bright outdoor light. Not so great indoors with less (but not bad light). I discovered a few things through trial and error and by reading user reviews.

    Use the manual controls when indoors. Open up the iris and lower the shutter speed. You must turn on Intelligent Contrast with the joystick. This makes all the difference. I went from cloudy unwatchable video to very nice clear video with very nice and accurate color. Do not turn the camera off after you set it. Just shut the LCD and settings will save.

    The video does not look good in iMovie 08 version 7.1.4 on a MacBook. It plays just fine but lacks contrast and is a bit noisy. This is not the case when I hook the camera up to my 65 inch Sony HDTV. I have not played the video with any other player other than Toast Video Player. It is jerky and noisy. I am ordering a copy of Final Cut Express 4. I have heard good things about using it with AVCHD.

    The size of this thing is remarkable. It is tiny and weighs almost nothing. Great manual controls (except the focus which is almost impossible) but the auto controls are lousy anywhere except outdoors. I got this one for $300 dollars on line. AVCHD support is not quite there yet but is getting better everyday. I get just over an hour on an 8 GB SDHC class 6 card at the highest setting.

    I recommend this camcorder very highly. I wish the auto functions were better but considering the size/price/video quality equation it is hard to beat....more info
  • Excellent Camcorder
    I purchased this camcorder to replace my old JVC DV camcorder. The great thing about this camcorder is that it takes excellent video and can fit in the palm of my hand. I purchased a camera bag to carry this camcorder. Play back videos on my mac are exceptional. The quality is better than my DVD player with component connections. The only drawback is the editing software that comes with your purchase. It's only good for playback on your computer. You will have to purchase third party software that can edit AVCHD files. I purchased Final Cut Express 4 for use with my mac. Excellent editing software and works great with AVCHD files. If you can afford a $700.00 camcorder, then just pull out your wallet and spend the extra $150.00 for the software and start editing!...more info
  • state-of-the-art camcorder
    This fancy (and tiny) piece of technology delivers all you can expect from a <1K HD camcorder. Indoor video quality is ok, outdoor videos are very colorful and sharp (on my 1080p 42' LCD). Great quality!! I cannot imagine that Sony offers much more for twice the price.

    I also bought a 16GB memory card for about 75$. This is probably all you need for your family movies. ...more info
  • Poor excuse for HD camcorder
    This camera is not really HD. It doesn't even have enough pixels for 1920x1080 resolution, so how can they claim that it's HD? SD9 has 520k pixels x 3. Which is about 1.5 megapixels. 1920x1080 is over 2MP. Plus RGB pixels are not calculated separately since three of them together make up one color, so it's real resolution is one quarter that of HD.

    The SD9 is very difficult to hold still, so all of your videos will be very jerky. It also compresses the video a lot when there is too much motion, so you will notice the recorded resolution is worse than SD video.
    Terrible low-light performance. Noise is clearly visible in dark and light portions. There is even noise with full sunlight.
    TERRIBLE dynamic range. If you have a scene with shadows and highlights, neither of them will look good.
    24p mode is uselesss because it forces Cinema Colors, which is good on other camcorders, but terrible on this one.
    The footage looks good on the small lcd screen, but when viewed on a computer, it lacks saturation and resolution. There are no options for saturation on the camcorder itself.
    ...more info
  • Camcorder of the future, simply amazing!
    I had been looking to buy a second camera for my Video Productions that I just started, and after reading the reviews, I decided on the Panasonic SD9. I was blown away at the quality of the footage at full HD. Now I can cut and splice my Canon A1 footage with my tiny Panasonic. I am also planning to use the Panasonic as my roaming Camcorder at weddings, etc, no arm fatigue here. I'm going to pair my Panasonic with a Calicocam stabilizer, and it would just be simply amazing. This camcorder is so light that I think my wallet weighs heavier than the camera. This is the one to take on trips with unlimited storage on multiple SDHC's. I am waiting for the 32GB from Panasonic or Toshiba, and 64GB cannot be too far down the road. I tell you this is the future. My A1 takes superb videos, but it is just too heavy to walk around with, and this Panasonic gave me a lot more option. The software that came with it is superb, I just bought an XPS420 from Dell, and it handles the AVCHD like a pro, no glitches at all. Although I also installed the same software on my aging laptop and it was able to handle to SDHC with no problem at all. The HD writer that came with the package is excellent in transferring SDHC clips to your hard drive, then for editing I used the Pinnacle that came with the camera and it worked to perfection. I'm already using a lot of the editing program available like Vegas, Adobe Elements, etc, and this Pinnacle HD version is perfect for editing AVCHD footage. So if you have an old outdated computer, you will experience a lot of problems and you will blame it on this Panasonic package. Time to update your gears, prices of this computer has gone down quite a bit, so staying with your Dino is not worth the frustrations. With this camera, I am holding the future in my hands, and I am glad I did it. Highly recommended....more info
  • Pro's & Con's
    Pros
    Extremely small (fits in the front pocket of my shorts)
    Awesome picture quality outside with good light.
    3CCD
    Great zoom
    The best image stabilizer I've ever used on a video camera.
    Really like that is uses memory cards rather than tape or hard drives.


    Cons'
    Low light performance is not good.
    LCD is great but if you wear sunglasses it goes completely black.
    I didn't think I needed a viewfinder but if you're inside somewhere dark you have no way to record without distracting the people around you.
    Needs a good manual focus ring not a menu driven manual focus that's hard to use.
    Poor low light performance.
    There is a flash on the front of the camera that should be replaced with a led for the video camera portion.
    AVCHD requires lots of computer horse power to edit.

    Not a lot of software to view the .mts files with but Nero Vision 4 for Nero 8 Ultra works fine.


    Definitely a great camcorder for outside daytime use but not great of dark environments.
    ...more info
  • 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. ...more info
  • Good video. Go for it
    I 've read a lot of reviews before purchasing this camcorder. Excellent video in sun light, even overall it 's a little bit yellowish to my taste. Amazon is best price, and they refund me the difference when the price went lower in within 30 days after purchase.

    Low light is OK. and I found it better than the JVC HD camcorder that my brother has. Extremely low light is not acceptable.

    I do not have time to test the 5.1 audio on my NAD receiver.

    Insert the SD card in to a playstation 3 SD slot and there you go. Or copy the files to a DVD and watch it thru the PS3 bluray drive. HD resolution!

    Go for it! Small size and picture quality will make you happy....more info
  • Slow Software
    The software is a pain. Very simple to use, but painfully slow to edit. Once I got the hang of it, marginally acceptable, but will definitely look into buying better software. Camera itself is great. Sound is amazing looking at how little the mic is. Picture is everything I expected it to be. Don't have a blu-ray player yet, so all my playback has been converted to DVD.

    If you turn on the "auto help", they do cover part of the display, but they are somewhat transparent and you can turn them off after you understand all you options to fix bad pictures....more info
  • Very Satisfied with the HDC-SD9
    I'm very satisfied with this camcorder. It's small, the video is crisp and clear and I like the features. I can get anywhere from 1 to a little over 2 hours on a 4 GB sdhc card depending on the video quality settings I use and about 90 minutes on a fully charged battery.

    Some people have complained about their hand blocking the microphones but mine seem to fit just fine. My hands are not exactly tiny and they fit well.

    The only downside of this camcorder is the low light video can be quite bad.

    You can view video samples for this camcorder on my website at [...]

    Eric...more info
  • Cursor button help
    I just bought this camera. Does anyone else have a problem using the cursor button? I feel I have to use a fingernail and even then I can't seem to get it to work. And I agree about the low light problem. Very grainy. Unless I can figure out how to use the cursor button better I am definitely returning the camera. I am willing to try to work with the manual mode to see if it works better in low light...more info
  • 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. ...more info
  • Small size, but poor video quality and iMovie support
    I tried both the Panasonic HDC-SD9 and Canon VIXIA HF100. While the Panasonic wins hands-down on size, the picture quality just pales in comparison to the Canon, especially in low light.

    Plus, as of this review time, the files created with this camcorder crash iMovie!

    So, I'm going with the Canon HF100 instead of this one....more info
  • GREAT!
    This camera is great! I have had this camera for 3 months... The highlights include great HD video quality, very straight forward usage, very good and easy SD to DVD transfer software and tiny size. You can take the SD card out and pop it right into your PS3 for immediate HD playback. You can also use the software to create same quality HD-DVDs on DVD-R-DL discs that hold 1 hour each. Buy the 8GB SD card to match 1 hour of DVD-R-DL. I thought that the price was good at $800 for this camera and now I see that it's less than $600. Buy it - you will want to send me a thank you note after you get it... (but it's really not me you should thank - I thank panasonic for coming up with this winner).

    PS. While some people here complain about the low light performance, I think that they should really read the manual... They probably tried the Low Light mode (which really isn't very good)... they just need to switch to manual mode and open up the iris a couple of notches (1 switch move + 4 clicks) , it's very quick and easy to do with this camera and then the low light videos will be good and the camera will also stop playing with the white balance as is commonly an issue with indoor video camcorder shooting)....more info
  • Small and Powerful
    This is a very well made camcorder that offers more technology than the current software is able to handle.

    Well designed and made with quality in Japan.

    After filming try popping SDHC card directly into PS3 connected to a 5.1 Audio system to fully appreciate the high quality video and sound.

    Love it.

    Got a great deal on it at Amazon. Thanks Amazon.

    ...more info
  • Tiny and powerful
    This camcorder is probably the tiniest of its category.
    It fits in my jacket pocket.

    It has many interesting features : face detection (the video is always well focused on the faces), pre-record (to record 3 seconds before the "record" button).

    But the best of all, I would say, is the optical stabilizer, which is very powerfull (and particularly useful on this 270g camcorder, because your hands shake more).
    The colours are pretty good, and the sound quality is simply outstanding, far better than anything I've heard from a camcorder (I don't use 5.1 though, just stereo).

    However, I suspect the sharpness of the videos would be better with a DV camera. But then it would be heavier, noisier, and more fragile than with SD cards (my previous camcorder was out of order within a year because the heads were dirty).

    The only BIG issue, with the camcorder, is the software compatibility.
    On windows, it seems only Vegas recognizes the files.

    On mac (the platform I use), il works with FCE4 (and FCP, i've read) in 1080 and 24p only, after installing the latest perian.
    After importing the videos, you can do pretty much everything with them (the process converts the fils to .mov), including importing them in imovie 08.

    But you will need patience to edit in high res with FCE4 or imovie (compression time take about 4 times the movie's length in mpeg4).
    And beware of the export settings : I noticed that using h264 with quicktime, or with imovie, washes out the colours and makes red look magenta, even though less pixels are noticeable.
    I prefer to use advanced mpeg4, which produces genuine colours.
    And also, don't expect much difference of quality between 720p and 1080p, because the AVCHD is still a bit limited by the bitrate (17max on this particular camcorder, which is still better than many others). ...more info
  • A great HD camcorder for the cost
    I've had this camcorder for a few weeks now. If you are looking for a reasonably priced entry level high-definition camcorder that doesn't use tape, then the Panasonic HDC-SD9 is a great buy. It is by no means a perfect camcorder, but if you want a camera that produces better video, expect to pay at least $250 more.
    The Panasonic shoots spectacular video outdoors. It is compact, easy to handle, and easy to use for beginners. My one complaint (and many reviewers have already pointed this out), is that it performs poorly in low light conditions. Video shot indoors tends to be noisy and lackluster. So if you need a camera that will shoot beautiful high definition video indoors, you may want to buy a (condiserably) more expensive camcorder, or opt for a comparably priced HDV (digital tape) camera.

    The other issues that reviewers have mentioned are not insurmountable problems. Yes, the joystick menu button is in an ackward place, but you will get used to it. The location of the ports makes absolutely no sense and hooking it up to a PC is a clumsy process. But this need not be an issue - you can simply take your SD card out of the camera and pop it directly into your PC's SD card reader. I haven't plugged my camcorder into my PC once.
    Also keep in mind that the camera shoots in AVCHD format. Many of the leading video editing software now supports this format (I personally use Pinnacle 12), but older applications may not support it, since it is a relatively new format.
    The Panasonic doesn't shoot particularly great still photos, but neither do most reasonably priced camcorders.
    Some strong points worth mention:
    -Great image stabilization
    -Decent battery life
    -A pre-record mode that continuously shoots (and then records over) several second of video, so you won't have to miss those spontaneous and unexpected moments.
    -on screen tips that give you shooting pointers on the fly (i.e. turn on smart contrast, "panning too fast", etc).

    There are no other high definition camcorders that record to SD cards or hard drives within the Panasonic's price range, except for those low end "youtube ready" cameras. So if you want high definition and you hate using tape, this camera gives you great bang for the buck.

    ...more info
  • Aaargh! Have to leave to screen open?
    I failed to find this out before purchasing. Since I intend to use this in my car to video on track laps I will have to find a way to ensure the screen stays open during the laps. I can't believe there is no way to override this. Any help?...more info
  • HDC-SD9 - 60% RATING
    Before I publish this review, I've been using the camera for almost 2 weeks. I've been contemplating hard whether I was able to get my money's worth. But the sad thing is, I didn't. Here are my reasons:

    1. The HDC-SD9 has awful low-light performance.
    -I thought that the camera's manual iris and aperture would solve the problem since the Magicpix mode is obviously intended for still shots only and the low-light mode barely improves lighting conditions on dark scenes. But the shots still have a lot of noise and grain whether you adjust the manual iris to 18 dB and aperture opening to 1/24 or 1/30. It's really frustrating.

    2. The auto-focus has a hard time focusing when on 5x-10x.
    -True, there is the tele-macro mode function so that distant images look clearer. But when you are already recording, the tele-macro mode can't be used. So, you have to establish your focus before you record distant images either on manual mode or you have to switch on the tele-macro mode, which is really a big hassle when you need to make a quick zoom on a subject. Another problem is that it usually takes a second or two for the auto-focus to stabilize.

    3. The 24p and cinema color mode seems overrated.
    -One reason why I bought this camera is because of its 24p and cinema color mode. But to me and for others who probably have a good eye too, the movement of the camera doesn't seem fluid or just like that of the
    movies. There is still the home video feel to it.

    But to be fair with the HDC-SD9, there are some aspects that it was able to perform well.

    1. Sound quality is incredibly awesome!
    - I see no reason why one has to purchase a directional microphone separately when using the HDC-SD9. The zoom and focus mic mode of the camera does the job excellently! And if you want to have a movie feel to your clips, just use the surround mode. This is probably one of the reasons why there is no need for an accessory shoe for the SD9 (except of course when you consider lighting).

    2. Image quality is excellent under good lighting conditions.

    3. Still pictures are decent enough.


    Overall, I would rate this product with 3 stars or 60%....more info