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Old June 20th, 2011, 08:53 AM   #1
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Panasonic TM900 vs SD900? (and availability?)

G'day,

I joined this forum recently to ask what was a good high end Sony camcorder, as I am looking to upgrade to HD from my old Canon MVX430.

After originally looking for a Sony CX550, I then had someone point me towards the Panasonic TM900. Googling showed several comparisons between the TM900 and CX550, as well as the high end Canons, and typically showed that the Panny was better than the CX in most things, and up there with the (more expensive) Canons.

So I started looking for a TM900 here in Australia... without any luck. Firstly, the Panasonic Australia website doesn't list it, and secondly, no one stocks it. They do have the SD900 listed, but no one has any stock. Evidently this was due to the Japan tsunami, with one vendor telling me only 16 SD900's made it into Oz, and they're still waiting to hear about further supplies. An email to Panasonic Australia has yielded no reply.

When I try to get information about the two cameras, I've had one site say that the SD is the "cheaper cousin" of the TM, with a smaller LCD... as well as the universally confirmed lack of onboard storage. Other sites seem to say that the only difference is the onboard storage.

Can anyone confirm this for me?

Second, as to availability... I have seen some "grey importers" selling both models, for about $500 less than the (SD's) official Aussie retail... (in fact, one particular site sells the TM for $100 LESS than the SD; which is baffling) Is there any Aussies who can confirm when more should be arriving in the country? (Again, no answer from Panasonic Australia as yet)

I've not dabbled with grey imports before... but as this camera does appear to be available elsewhere overseas, it may be my only speedy option. It doesn't hugely worry me (having no support from the local manufacturer's warranty) as I'm happy to spout paragraphs from the Trades Practices Act at any vendor who tries to deprive me of my legal rights... it can still be time consuming and annoying to have to deal with individual companies if something does go wrong...

Thanks


Travis
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Old June 20th, 2011, 09:45 AM   #2
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Re: Panasonic TM900 vs SD900? (and availability?)

Hi Travis.
As far as I know it is identical to the TM900. The only difference being, there is no internal memory. The TM900 has 32gb of internal + an SDHC card slot, The HS900 has a 220gb HDD and card slot, and the SD900 Just the slot. Check it out here Panasonic HDC-SD900 review from TechRadar UK's expert reviews of Camcorders
Hope this helps
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Old June 20th, 2011, 11:11 AM   #3
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Re: Panasonic TM900 vs SD900? (and availability?)

Hi Travis. Colin's covered the main difference but here is the link to the official tech info etc.

HDC-HS900/HDC-TM900/HDC-SD900/HDC-SD800 | HD Camcorder | Panasonic Global

Regarding grey imports....be careful on who you might choose. For example, just google words like "simply electronics" with the word "problem" and see what comes up.... I'd strongly recommend you pick a well know international seller (ideally a DVinfo sponsor if you can find one that will ship you a PAL TM900). Maybe B&H do, but remember to allow for any local taxes etc. that'll need paying. For the record I bought mine from a 'Camera' company in 'Bristol' here in UK (you can imagine their name) and they are very reputable and do ship internationally (assuming they have current stock).

By the way, I believe TM = Twin memory and SD simply means SD card...you get the idea!

It's a great series the Panny 900. A few have reported issues with loud cooling fans on various forums (mine's near silent) but otherwise it should not disappoint - which ever one you go for!
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Old June 20th, 2011, 12:33 PM   #4
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Re: Panasonic TM900 vs SD900? (and availability?)

Hi Travis,

I live in Melbourne and bought my TM 900 as a "grey import" several months ago as the the local retailers did not seem to know of its existence. Currently a "grey import" TM 900 is ~ $800 less than a TM 700 at my nearest dealer. I have eMailed you the name of the "on-line" dealer I use - their service is very prompt and the goods are well packed. I have not had any warranty issues.

I would prefer to buy locally from a friendly face but the stock is just not available.
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 10:16 AM   #5
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Re: Panasonic TM900 vs SD900? (and availability?)

Thanks for the replies, everyone, and helping sort out the confusion.

I had a play with a SDT750 the other day, which I understand to be similar to the TM900. It felt wonderful in the hand, and impressed me greatly.

I indeed did google the cheapest site that I found offering grey imports here in Oz, and found a variety of threads on tech forums... (and yes, it's the same place Alastair used) The consensus seems to be positive, with most complaints I could find seeming to have arisen a few years ago - ie they have since improved their service.

Definitely looks like local purchase will be impossible as there simply isn't any here in Oz, and my email to Panasonic just received the advice -

What I can tell you is that every electronic store that stocks Panasonic goods (T.V's, DVD'S, Air-cons, etc.), will most likely also stock the item you are looking for and if they don't have the particular model you are looking for, you can always request they order it in for you.

QUESTION 1

What type of card should I use in my TM900? I know it takes Standard/Ultra/Pro/Extreme... but for instance I read on one UK site not to even try use the standard cards...

My intention at this point was to pick up 1 x 32GB card, which would give me 64GB total... which should be enough for my sister's wedding in February... then hopefully as prices come down I could look at buying some extra cards should the need arise. I'll have my laptop on hand to dump footage to... (Macbook Pro 5,5, with SD card slot, tho can't readily confirm if that ONLY does SD?)

QUESTION 2

Does anyone have experience using the 3D lens? (Or I guess even on the SDT750?) As the camera is 3D capable, I'm considering the extra expense even though I don't have a 3D TV yet... (especially at 33% less than retail) but a review I read said it was pretty lacklustre...

Cheers and thanks

Travis
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Old June 24th, 2011, 04:43 AM   #6
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Re: Panasonic TM900 vs SD900? (and availability?)

Re cards. Transcend are about the best buy at the moment, class 10, 16gb, going for about 18 here in the UK. Stick with a well known, proven brand, Sandisk, Transcend etc. Class 6 or 10 should serve you well

As for the 3D lens, I think its more a gimmicky, fun thing than a useful add on. You need some seriously good light to use it effectively. You lose the ability to zoom, and quite a few other normal camera functions when the lens is fitted. Good fun, but I would think that far more useable options will be appearing in the not to distant future.
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Last edited by Colin Rowe; June 24th, 2011 at 06:52 AM.
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Old June 30th, 2011, 10:14 PM   #7
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Re: Panasonic TM900 vs SD900? (and availability?)

My thought would have been Sandisk as it's just the name I know for those things... other than that, I've only had to use xD cards for Fuji digital cameras...

RE the 3D...

My thought was... as the immediate use for the camera is my sister's wedding... was that I could use the 3D lens to basically record a "live wedding photo"/series... Set up next to the stills photographer (at least, I ASSUME my sister is getting a professional for stills!), and shoot footage of the bride and groom... bride/groom and entourage etc... with them standing around smiling... maybe having a kiss etc.... :) Then just set it on a loop of different bits and pieces of them all...

Yes, just a gimmick, but that would suit the camera's 3D limitations, and hopefully look good in 3D with the various layers of people standing behind the bride and groom...

(Is that worth $299.... probably not, but as a former film student, the idea of being able to play around with 3D, to see what effects could be achieved, is appealing too... just of course further complicated by a lack of a suitable 3D monitor!)
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