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-   -   The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/panasonic-avccam-camcorders/491883-panasonic-tm900-users-thread.html)

Andy Wilkinson February 17th, 2011 05:51 AM

The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread
 
As some of you know I've just bought this cam as a B/C cam for my Sony EX3 and Canon 7D. There are a few bits of information about this new model dotted around in different forum areas (and all over the web) so I thought it might be a good idea to start a thread here where all things Panasonic TM900 (and HS900 etc.) got posted in the hope that it will become a valuable "go to" resource for those interested in this series of cams, especially as deliveries commenced in the last few days.

Please note I only unpacked the camera and charged it this morning (it arrived yesterday whilst I was drooling over Canon XF100s at BVE in London and I did not get back home until 2.00AM!) but I'll start the ball rolling with a few first impressions. Please, anyone, feel free to add any relevant and useful information.

My first observations (in no particular order of merit - and subject to revision when I've had more hands on time!)

1. The new 3.5 inch touch screen LCD is lovely - it's double the resolution of the one on the TM700 but, whilst not the pixel density of Canon and Sony's top end camcorders, it seems more than adequate/very easy to focus with (peaking, zebras etc. available).
2. The camcorder is very small and light but is incredibly easy to hold in a comfortable and stable way - surprising really.
3. The menus seem a little confusing at first but it did not take me long to find a few things I'm interested in - I will read the manual over the weekend for sure!
4. Image stabilisation works really well, as does autofocus - both seemed amazing (the autofocus easily putting the AF on my EX3 to shame - I only do MF on that cam anyway).
5. Slow, almost creep zooming seems remarkably easy - again I was surprised at just how good it is (although the zoom button's position on the top is a little awkward for me to reach - something I'll work out soon enough I'm sure).
6. I actually like the (new for this series) power input jacks revised location (not behind the battery). The jack is under a new little flap on the handle side (near the viewfinder/under the mode switch). However, the battery can only be charged "on camera" and I know at times I'll wish that I could charge spare batteries without tying up the camera (as was possible on the TM700, I understand as the battery was charged on the "power brick" bit).
7. The mode switch is a bit fiddly to set - maybe the different design on the older TM700s was better, I don't know.
8. Note that the TM900 uses completely different batteries to those on the TM700 - this caught me out as I have a large new one for a TM700 sitting on my desk - unopened - as I only found this out after it was in the post to me (it's about to be returned to an amazon marketplace seller).
9. The shoe attachment (e.g. for microphone...it would need to be a small one, maybe a Rode Videomic Pro) seems to be OK. I was a bit concerned this was a bad design. It will be if I ever lose the adapter but I think it works OK.
10. No fan noise (as they changed the ventilating fan design in this model compared to the TM700). However, to be fair I've hardly had it on long enough to get hot yet!
11. The lens ring works well, pretty smooth.
12. Got the thing into 1080p50 mode easily enough but I've not had a chance to see how Vegas 9E handles those clips on my i7 Windows box or FCP on my Mac Pro yet.
13. The photo mode (with flash when needed) actually works remarkably well - again another surprise to me.

I have not really got much time at the moment (busy with work I should be doing rather than typing this....). I will add more info when I can.

Official product info on the Panasonic link below:

http://panasonic.net/avc/camcorder/hd/900_800_series/

Anyone, please add information/ask questions and we'll go from there!

1080p50 here I come!

Dan Carter February 17th, 2011 01:53 PM

Congratulations on the new TM900 Andy. I'll look forward to your reports.

Andy Wilkinson February 17th, 2011 02:54 PM

Focus Assist/Peaking on the TM900
 
Thanks Dan. Watching some of your work with the 700 helped me jump into this little AVCHD 1080p50/60 adventure!

I'm tired but but couldn't resist a few more minutes playing around with the TM900 before bed/an early start tomorrow...

I've just discovered a lovely touch with the blue Peaking (i.e. Focus Assist) mode when your are in Manual Focus (I prefer blue but other colours are available as an option). As you adjust the lens ring you get a blue "edge box" around the LCD as well as the peaking - on everything that is sharp that is. Then, a second or so after you've finished making the focus correction all the blue stuff goes away so you can see the full image more clearly once again - and of course this time it should be sharp exactly where you want it!

I really like this as I use peaking almost all the time on my EX3 - but in that case it's typically on constantly (until you dial it down or turn it off). Nice one Panny!

I'm also increasingly impressed with the image stabilisation. I really did not think it could get this good with such a small light cam - it's like the cam is already on my Merlin Steadicam - when all it is in the palm of my hand...

Claire Watson February 19th, 2011 05:10 AM

Hi Andy, good you started this thread I think...

These are the manual mode settings I have decided on after a few days shooting/testing with this new camera, nothing set in stone at this early stage of course, will be very interested to see what others are using.

Record setup > Picture adjust
----------------------------------------

Sharpness (edge enhancement) -2
colour saturation -3
WB adjust 0
Manual white balance
Scene mode off
Intelligent contrast off
Histogram = always on
Zebras = always on
Manual focus assist (peaking) on

Setup
---------
LCD set : colour -6 and bri -2
LCD Power ; 0 (zero)

Pleased to find the manual WB setting is remembered through a power off/on and also after switching through AWB, Sunny, Cloudy, etc.

Could not find any way to change focus peaking from blue, would have liked yellow and red options but no big deal really.

Didn't take to Scene mode, evens out dark ground/ bright sky but with a flat look with no means to adjust it's strength, can do better by exposing highlights carefully, letting dark areas go a little and use a YUV filter in post (Edius) to restore the dark areas, this worked better than expected, virtually no shadow noise, impressed, this 28Mb/sec AVCHD codec is doing very nicely so far.

The LCD screen is indeed very nice but it's of the box the screen's settings are too hot, I was able to make it perfect with LCD set and LCD power adjustments but annoyingly the camera restarts with the LCD power set back to the default +1.

Why is the default +1? Zero is perfect! With +1 the LCD scene is too bright compared to as seen on an HDTV via HDMI out while recording or playing back or how it looks afterwards in post. So If one is relying entirely on the LCD and not using zebras/histogram one might be fooled into underexposing.
Fortunately I found zebras to very accurate so just trust in them.

I haven't used modes other than 1080/50P because that's the main reason I bought it, I can see there is no going back from 50P, love the camera already!

Later: Re-reading the manual I now see the LCD Power can be set from the shortcut menu and is obviously meant to be adjusted to cope with varying outdoor conditions, so no way one would rely on this for exposure.
...of course!

Andy Wilkinson February 19th, 2011 05:41 AM

TM900 Peaking (Manual Focus Assist) is Blue
 
Thanks for the great info Claire! You are of course correct - Peaking is in blue and is the only colour option.

(I was tired when I wrote that - probably got my memory mixed up with the XF100s I was playing with it at BVE the day before - those have other colour options). It's been a very busy week!

Guy McLoughlin February 19th, 2011 06:35 PM

Andy,

How does the color-balance compare between the TM700 and TM900 ?

This is one of the features of the HS700 that I find to be a bit finicky, so I'm wondering if Panasonic has improved this feature.

William Gaffney February 20th, 2011 02:41 PM

I too would be interested in the colour balance of the TM900. My TM700 gives 'unusual' colours at times, particularly when there is a large amount of sky involved.

Alastair Traill February 20th, 2011 06:19 PM

Hi Andy and thanks Claire

Andy, I have been following your “B” or “C” camera deliberations with interest and look forward to further revelations about the TM900. Thanks largely to Dan’s fine work with the TM700 I am interested in the TM900 to use where it is impractical to use my EX3.

However I have a few questions that I cannot find answers to and as there are no supplies locally I am somewhat in the dark: -

• Is there provision for remote control? Pictures of the TM700 show an Infrared sensor below the lens but there is nothing labeled on the TM900 brochure.

• Is it battery operation only or can it be used with a mains unit?

• Are there built - neutral density filters?

Many thanks
Alastair

Andy Wilkinson February 21st, 2011 03:04 AM

Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread
 
Hi Quick reply as I've a ton of work on.

Regarding the "Bondi Beach" effect that some complained about with the TM700. I don't have a TM700 so I can't directly compare the cameras, at all, colour wise but apparently the TM700 would sometimes give a slight blue/green hue to things (that should not have been that hue of course) - even when WB was correctly set up.

Well so far I have'nt seen that....BUT....I will stress I've had very little time actually trying the cam (let alone any time to view footage on a HDTV/monitors) due to other things I need to do right now (I've some work in Scotland this week). I think Claire wrote (elsewhere on the web) that she has NOT seen any evidence of this problem but I may have remembered that wrong.

Now to the slightly easier questions to answer.

1. The camera comes with a little IR remote control unit (which I have not had time to try yet). There is no socket for, e.g. a LANC on the camera. The IR remote has all the typical controls on it (I'm assuming the Start/Stop button is for recording) - maybe if you look on the Panasonic site at the Instruction Book (pdf download) it'll tell you more. The IR sensor on the camera is at the front as is typical on small camcorders I think - not always where you'd want it to be, but there you go! You might need to rig up a simple foil reflector in front of the sensor for operation from the back.

Link to Panasonic manual download page below:

Camcorders - HD Camcorders - HDC-TM900 - Manuals - Panasonic UK & Ireland

2. You can use the TM900 directly plugged into the mains - i.e. for hours and hours of locked down coverage. You don't even have to remove the battery to do this - but the TM900 has to be OFF to charge the battery (again as is typical with on camera charging designs I think, certainly that's what my trust old Sony HC1 requires as well).

3. No ND filters. I'm trying to source a 46mm B+W multicoated ND filter (at a reasonable price - tricky to find in the UK) as well as a B+W Polarizer to allow for more options etc. in manual mode, especially when shooting in bright sunny conditions (more of an issue in Oz than in England during February I think!)

I'm still blown away by just how good the image stabilisation is on this camera. Honestly, it's truly brilliant!

That's it for now (from me anyway!).

Hope this helps, at least a bit. If anyone with more time on their hands knows the answers please update the thread with some more info!

Alastair Traill February 21st, 2011 05:07 AM

Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread
 
1 Attachment(s)
Thanks Andy,

As a matter of interest foil reflector for the EX3 now slides into the front accessory shoe.



http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/attachme...1&d=1298289978

Mike Beckett February 21st, 2011 05:54 AM

Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread
 
Andy, I had to go to B&H to get B+W MRC filters, I've always found them to be the best filters around at a price I can afford - 30-40 quid per filter in the UK. I tried the Tiffen equivalent (around £10) and they weren't as good - there's a lot less reflections and flares on the B+W.

Like you, I just haven't found anywhere in the UK where they're in stock. And the postage and duties for a B&H order is never fun. $120 of filters worked out at $240 in the end. <insert sad face>

Andy Wilkinson February 21st, 2011 05:55 AM

Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread
 
Just a quick update - I really should be doing other stuff but curiosity got the better of me (again). Plugged the TM900 into my i7 Windows box and played a few test clips with VLC player - all clips shot at 1080p50 as, like Claire, that's all I'm interested in using this cam for (I have dozens of hard drives and lots of RAIDs and SDHC memory is pretty cheap so why not!)

Looks lovely - really sharp and no unusual colours from these mostly cloudy outdoor, some indoor shots (test shots of my kids etc.). With the internal mic set in Stereo it seems remarkably directional too.

To be honest, at a very casual glance, I'd be hard pressed to tell it wasn't footage coming out of my EX3 that I was looking at on my 1920x1080p 24 inch Dell monitors. Low light seems remarkably good too (albeit some noise is starting to creep in when it gets REALLY dim). Impressive.

Very, VERY, slight micro-jitters on SOME hand held footage - not always - and no where near as bad as on a Canon 7D with a long lens but without IS turned on. These are really not noticeable at all, except to pixel peepers. I'm being really picky now so don't let it put you off as, like I said, I only see it now and again and compared to hand held footage on other cams I own/use it's streets ahead. Not sure what settings I had the stabilisation mode for those clips anyway (as I played around with it a bit to try and see the effect - maybe stabilisation was completely off on those clips anyway!) Need to do some more testing...when I get time!

UPDATE: Just tooks some clips from the 2TB RAID 0 in my 2010 Dell Windows 7 64 Bit i7 box and put them into a Vegas 9E timeline - no problems playing from the timeline etc. Seems to work just fine! :-)

Yeah Mike, know what you mean. I've ordered great, very well priced stuff from B&H before but by the time UKs VAT and Royal Mail Import charges are paid..... :-(

But sometimes it's the only way to get a product and B+W multicoated filters are well worth the hassle. I have some Hoya and Tiffen filters - let's just say you definitely get what you pay for!

Andy Wilkinson February 21st, 2011 07:12 AM

Lovely Sample Clip - SD700
 
By the way, I found this lovely little film on Vimeo yesterday. This guy shows some of the potential of these small little Panasonics well (in this case he's using a SD700). Purists will argue that the 4 blade iris rears an ugly head in one of the sea shots (diamond reflections) but I still think it's a great little film regardless.

Maybe we should request a section for Panasonic Sample Clips in this forum section as I did not know where to put this. What do you guys and gals think?


Phil Lee February 21st, 2011 10:00 AM

Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread
 
Hi

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andy Wilkinson (Post 1620375)
Just a quick update - I really should be doing other stuff but curiosity got the better of me (again). Plugged the TM900 into my i7 Windows box and played a few test clips with VLC player - all clips shot at 1080p50 as, like Claire, that's all I'm interested in using this cam for (I have dozens of hard drives and lots of RAIDs and SDHC memory is pretty cheap so why not!)

Looks lovely - really sharp and no unusual colours from these mostly cloudy outdoor, some indoor shots (test shots of my kids etc.). With the internal mic set in Stereo it seems remarkably directional too.

To be honest, at a very casual glance, I'd be hard pressed to tell it wasn't footage coming out of my EX3 that I was looking at on my 1920x1080p 24 inch Dell monitors. Low light seems remarkably good too (albeit some noise is starting to creep in when it gets REALLY dim). Impressive.

Very, VERY, slight micro-jitters on SOME hand held footage - not always - and no where near as bad as on a Canon 7D with a long lens but without IS turned on. These are really not noticeable at all, except to pixel peepers. I'm being really picky now so don't let it put you off as, like I said, I only see it now and again and compared to hand held footage on other cams I own/use it's streets ahead. Not sure what settings I had the stabilisation mode for those clips anyway (as I played around with it a bit to try and see the effect - maybe stabilisation was completely off on those clips anyway!) Need to do some more testing...when I get time!

UPDATE: Just tooks some clips from the 2TB RAID 0 in my 2010 Dell Windows 7 64 Bit i7 box and put them into a Vegas 9E timeline - no problems playing from the timeline etc. Seems to work just fine! :-)

Yeah Mike, know what you mean. I've ordered great, very well priced stuff from B&H before but by the time UKs VAT and Royal Mail Import charges are paid..... :-(

But sometimes it's the only way to get a product and B+W multicoated filters are well worth the hassle. I have some Hoya and Tiffen filters - let's just say you definitely get what you pay for!

In the setup menu is a Demo mode for OIS, allowing you to easily turn it on an off from the touch screen with some charts showing how the movement is dampened. It amazes me too how well this works, on maximum zoom the picture is remarkably still and steady with OIS Hybrid turned on, and when turned off it is all over the place, I didn't realise I shake so much!

I have no problems editing in Sony MovieStudio although there isn't an easy way to get the 50p footage back out except for Sony uncompressed and using something else to encode to more manageable file sizes.

Always shooting in 50p here as well, the progressive frames (much easier for the encoder to compress) and higher bit-rates produce superb pictures. Even going down to 50i for Blu-ray produces better results than having recorded in 50i originally. Plus recording 50p gives the options of exporting out as 720/50p, 1080/25p, and SD at 576/25p as required.

To export out at 25p you need to set Sony Vegas to undersample the clips at 0.5, otherwise Sony Vegas merges 2 frames to make 1 which loses the resolution, by setting undersample to 0.5 it skips everyother frame and 25p looks stunning, accepting the limitations of the slower frame rate.

Regards

Phil

Dave Jervis February 21st, 2011 09:51 PM

Re: The Panasonic TM900 Users Thread
 
Andy, the "Bondi Blue" we talk about appears in the sky of the third shot in the clip you posted. Hopefully the TM900 doesn't do this.....
dave


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