"Excellent camcorder!"4.5 starson by PannTher
Pros: Image quality, auto focus, comfort, zoom lever
Cons: build quality, battery movement, location of usb interface
Summary: I have been researching a new HD camcorder for months. Was originally going to purchase the Sony HDR-SR1, then was interested in the HDR-SR7 when it came out. I ended up getting the Canon because of the great image quality they're known to have as well as the fact that I didn't have to pay an extra $300 over the Japanese model to get English menus as I would have had to do with the Sony!
I got it just in time to record my first child's birth. When we finally got home and looked at the footage on our Samsung LCD HDTV, I was amazed at the picture quality.I've downloaded so many examples from all HD camcorder options, and was very impressed with the Canon!
I have very large hands and find that the camcorder is comfortable. I love the fact that it has a HDD! I know that there is a huge debate between tape and HDD, but I find it so easy to transfer AVCHD footage from the camcorder to the computer. I am using Pinnacle 11 for editing and find it easy to do. It does take some time to render with the compression of AVCHD, but it is good none the less.
The battery seems loose on the camcorder. This isn't the first time I've heard this for a Canon. Also, the location of the USB port is such that the LCD screen must be open to plug in. This is annoying.
The menu system is good. Options are easy to access. I do wish it had a dial/ring to control focus etc however. 40GB is enough as I tend to download the footage to a computer quickly anyway.
I can hear a sound from within the camcorder when I turn it off. I believe it is the head of the HDD disengaging itself. It does sound like it could be a problem in the future though. But many not too.
The mini HDMI port is nice, however, finding a cable for it is difficult.
All in all, I'm really glad I waited. What I wanted most was an awesome picture with a nice auto option for my wife to use. That is what it does with the option to use it in a prosumer sense as well. The 24P is great in good lighting situations, but lowlight causes a lot of artifacts.
Well done though Canon! You have a product that is superior in my eyes.