Considering the small size and light weight of the HDC-SD9, you have to give Panasonic credit for including so many features.

This triple CCD camcorder uses AVCHD MPEG-4 to record full HD 1080p and offers four quality settings with 17Mbps HA1920, 13Mbps HG1920, 9Mbps HX1920 and 6Mbps HE1440.

If you fancy using HA mode, you'd better be prepared to fill an 8GB SD card in one hour. In addition to this high video quality, the HDC-SD9 also records in 5.1 surround sound.

Fiddly controls

That's an impressive specification and it is backed by neat styling and a quality Leica lens that makes the Panasonic look sophisticated.

Although the hardware has great potential, you won't confuse the HDC-SD9 with a pro-sumer camcorder, as you get neither an accessory shoe, nor a microphone input.

The controls are also rather fiddly. They are all located on the main body, which is at 90 degrees to the screen, so you have to peck away at the buttons as you glance at the screen. When we were shooting video it was all too easy to induce the 'Camera panning is too fast' message on the screen. However the HDC-SD9 is a joy to use and feels really good in your hand.

Panasonic includes a reasonable selection of kit, including a composite cable, remote control, battery charger, power cable and a component cable. Our test footage was very satisfactory and, all in all, we were impressed by the reasonably priced HDC-SD9.