"Great HD Camera"4.0 starson by mikemanuel57
Pros: Picture quality, hard drive medium, size, external mic option
Cons: Manual controls are menu based, files need conversion prior to editing, FAT32 drive limits file size to 4GB, built in LED light is out of balance, no direct headphone out
Summary: I picked up this camera becuase my MiniDV cam started eating up tapes, and I was getting ready for a week at Disneyland. This being my first HD HDD Cam, I am very impressed with the fact that I don't need to buy and tote tapes anymore. The camera fist very well in my hand, although I wish there was another start/stop button for the times when I'm either holding the camera at waist level or pointing towards myself.
I love the quality of the image. It took me some time to figure out the White Balance controls and I did need to consult the manual (just a gripe about everything being menu based). But once I got the hang of it, it's a piece of cake.
I have only a few issues with this camera. First is that the hard drive uses a FAT32 format on the drive, which limits the file size to 4GB. And when you're working with HD video, 4GB isn't that big. This limitation hasn't affected continuous recording as I've never just let the camera record continuously for an hour. I will test this at some point. Where it causes an issue is when I edit clips and render a .tpd file in PowerDirector that results in a file bigger than 4GB, it will not copy back to the camera hard drive.
Second issue is the crappy built in LED video light, but I guess most built in camera lights suck.
Third issue is that the native .tod files need conversion before they can be edited, even with the included Cyberlink software. There are are third party plugins for direct editing, but they are not cheap.
Other than that, overall it's a great addition to my video making arsenal.