"Would be good, if only it were dependable"1.5 starson by M_L_Weiland
Pros: Supports double-layer DVDs, good zoom range, good feature set
Cons: Failures! - writing to DVD fails sometimes
Summary: I like to edit videos on a computer and thought that a mini-DVD solution would be better than MiniDV tape -- so I could bring the data into the computer easily and faster than real time. That, and play the video immediatly on a DVD player. Something that had held me back from mini-DVD was the size limitation: 30 minutes (in "SP quality") on a disk. This unit accepts double layer (DL) DVD+R's, so I thought that mitigated the limitation.
Well... turns out DVD+R DL's are not on the market yet, only -R DL's (which this can't use). OK, I can wait.
But the showstopper problem I had with this unit was disk problems: 1) Some new DVDs (single layer -R's) were rejected right away with "disk error" messages. 2) Others worked, and I could replay the disk on the unit, but it fails when "finalizing" (necessary to use on the computer or DVD player). 3) Worst, one DVD appeared to finalize correctly -- but then in the DVD player or computer no data was readable. This was an intermittent problem; I did have some disks that worked OK. But unfortunately the ones that failed were at a daughter's school play and those moments are lost forever now. This reminds me of early DVD-writers on PCs (and years ago, CD writers): you made a lot of coasters as well as usable disks. But if you lose video to a coaster you CAN'T GET IT BACK!!!
I ended up returning the unit and got a hard-disk based JVC Everio. It has been rock-solid reliable so far, and allows over 4 hours at top quality level. Moving data from that system to computer is almost as easy as mini-DVD's (it's a USB 2.0 connection; camera looks like a disk drive to the PC, and I just drag & drop the file onto the PC).