For the most part, the TM900 has the same compression system as the Panasonic flagship camcorder that preceded it, the HDC-TM700. To recap for those who don’t know their Panasonic camcorder history, this means the TM900 uses AVCHD compression for all HD video recording other than its 1080/60p mode. The one new feature is an iFrame record mode that captures standard definition video at a 960 × 540 resolution and a 28Mbps bitrate. The iFrame format is designed to work specifically with Apple’s iMove software, and it should be far less taxing on your computer than AVCHD video.
The 60p mode is special, mainly because AVCHD compression can’t handle 1080/60p recording. To get around this, Panasonic uses its own MPEG-4 compression system for recording 1080/60p. It’s a good move in one sense, as it allows you to record Full HD using the coveted 60p frame rate, but the proprietary compression system limits the compatibility of the resultant video.
Media is our term for “what the camcorder records to.” The answer to this question was tape for many years, but nowadays its a mixture of internal memory, hard drives, and memory cards for the most part. The HDC-TM900 is a “twin memory” camcorder (that’s what the “TM” stands for). This means it has both internal memory—32GB to be exact—and a memory card slot. Any memory cards from the regular-sized SD card family, and that includes SDHC and SDXC cards, will work with the HDC-TM900.
To be blunt, you can take photos at tons of different sizes on the HDC-TM900. Some of those photos are very large, but the camcorder’s maximum effective pixel count is just under 8-megapixels. So, all the photo size options that are larger than this (the largest is a 14.2-megapixel setting) are what we call “interpolated.” The images will be physically larger when you view them, but they will contain the same amount of detail and pixels as the 8-megapixel photo option on the camcorder.
One new feature on the TM900 in photo mode is the touch-shutter option. With this option engaged, you can simply tap anywhere on the LCD and the camcorder will snap a photo with that specific area exposed and focused properly. This feature only works in iA mode (not manual mode). Of course, you can always press the dedicated shutter button to take a photo as well.