Panasonic HDC-SD900 camcorder
Full HD with 3D extras
Converting to 3D
Positioned above the lens barrel is nest of microphones able to record in a 5.1 sound format. The audio quality from this array is impressive. While the surround sound element is a little thin, the stereo staging is expansive. If you’re lucky enough to shoot when wind noise is low, the results are surprisingly good.
The VW-CLT1 3D lens is an optional extra
Out and about, the SD900 handles well. It fits snugly into the hand and is nicely balanced. The battery runs for upwards of an hour on full charge with near constant use.
Of course, the fact that this camcorder can shoot in 3D is a major attraction. The optional converter lens locks onto the barrel of the HDC-SD900, and once attached must be aligned using a simple cross hair system. Convergence takes little more than a minute to achieve, although you will have to do this every time you attach it. The zoom is disabled when the lens is attached.
Fitted with the 3D conversion lens
The camera shoots in a side-by-side, half resolution, 3D mode. While there is clearly a hit to be taken in terms of clarity, the sense of depth you can achieve is reasonable compensation. For the most convincing 3D effect, you need to frame your movies with a dominant foreground object, close to the lens. This is because the limited interaxial distance between the two lenses on the converter makes it difficult for the camcorder to create a convincing sense of depth from mid-distance.