Since its inception in 2008, Panasonic's 3MOS sensor technology has done more than enough to prove that it can hold its own against the more traditional 3CCD sensor setup. Finding its way in the TM100, 300, 600, 700 and now 900 range the 3MOS sensor has steadily been refined to create footage that's pitch-perfect in its clarity.
The Panasonic HDC-TM900 has exactly the same 3MOS sensor that was found in the TM700 – 3x 1/4.1-inch 3.05MP CMOS sensors – and there's also the same 12x optical zoom on board, but the camera still has a number of new features that give consumers a reason to update.
Panasonic HDC-TM900: new features
The main one being that it comes with the ability to shoot Full HD 3D. It may not be able to do this out of the box (the VW-CLT1 3D lens adaptor is available as an extra for around £280) but the mere fact it is ready for 3D shooting future proofs the camcorder, and the combined package with lens is actually less than the TM750 3D bundle that came out earlier in the year.
The Panasonic HDC-TM900 has also had tweaks made to its Intelligent Zoom ratio as well – up from 18x on the TM700 to 20x. While T3 has never been enamoured by digital zooms, Panasonic's is one of the best we have tried, as it uses it doesn't pixelate the image, but relies on its sensor to do the work.
This also goes for the Hybrid OIS on board – electric stabilisers never work well but Panasonic has expertly weaved electronic enhancements with optics to offer one of the smoothest pictures we have seen.
Panasonic HDC-TM900: manual controls and verdict
Those familiar with the TM700 will be pleased to know that the manual features are still in abundance in the TM900. The focus ring works like a charm, and shutter, white balance and the like is also under your complete control (if you want it to be).
Shooting can be done at 1080/50p or AVCHD. We preferred the 1080 footage in our tests – it seemed that little bit smoother when played back. Audio-wise, the cam excelled as it can handle 5.1 surround without the addition of a external mic.
The controls on the camera we a joy to use. The lens ring had ample choice of configuration, while the touchscreen zoom controls on the 3.5-inch LCD were easily accessible when the camcorder was in the hand.
Storage-wise, there's 32GB of internal memory which can be expanded by SD cards to up to 64GB.
Panasonic has decided to not change too much from the T700, but this isn't a negative thing – the TM700 has been seen since its launch as one of the best camcorders on the market.
The updates made add to this prestige and bring the range into the 3D world. And considering the price hasn't significantly changed – it still comes in well under a grand – Panasonic has created yet another superb camcorder.
Panasonic TM900 price: £800-£1000, link Panasonic
Panasonic TM900 launch date: Out now