Originally Posted by Paulo Teixeira
I sort of noticed the same thing with my AC90. With no gain applied to either my SD600 (TM700 equivalent) and AC90 during low light shooting, the latter is much clearer and I also notice the factory settings are too neutral which is great for color grading but not everybody will color grade their images. Luckily I can choose other scene files very easily, do my own picture setting or color grade. I'm surprised that even though the X920 is more of a consumer camcorder than the AC90, Panasonic decided to make it too neutral as well. The ratio of people willing to eighter adjust the camera or color grade are less on the X920. Still, you might get even more vivid colors if you white balance rather than use auto besides just adding saturation. I'm not sure what you used.
One notable feature that the X920 has is "level shot function"
That seams like a very nice feature but I wonder if that effects the video quality. I would try shooting with "level shot" in both on and off just to see if the quality is effected by it. Meaning does the video quality get slightly worse with it on. Camcorderinfo mentions that the X920 has slightly less detail than the X900 in good light situations. I do wonder if that's because they had it on. In DVXuser, people are saying the AC90 is sharper than the more expensive AC130 and AC160 when shooting in good light situations and you'd think the X920 should be close to the sharpness of the AC90. Sometimes it's hard to trust what Camcorderinfo says.
Some good thoughts there Paulo. Yes, I did try MWB as well as Auto & Outdoor for comparison sake. Indoors, MWB gave me a better overall color balance (as you'd expect), but outdoors it was pretty neutral either way. The best thing I found was to raise the color level to +3.
It's strange, because I've read that the 920 is actually more saturated at default than the 900 was. The color charts at CamcorderInfo tend to confirm that. I never had the 900, so of course I wouldn't notice a slight drop in sharpness. Coming from the VG30, the picture looks quite a bit sharper. What the VG30 can do is make a slightly washed out scene a bit more alive by adding more contrast. The X920 seems more neutral and hence more accurate.
In the IA+ mode which I tried briefly for fun, I noticed you can adjust the picture warmer or cooler and yet this adjustment doesn't appear available in full manual mode. I found that a bit odd. Of course you do have access to the picture adjustments (color level, brightness, sharpness) in manual mode as well as the typical iris, shutter speed etc.
I did try the level shot function and it does work. I didn't do a critical A/B to determine if it impacts PQ at all, but at least casually, it didn't seem to. I'll take a closer look tomorrow. Likewise, the advanced stabilization works very nicely, but I didn't do a critical A/B on that either to see how or if it affects PQ.