Pros Ultra small and portable, with fast startup and great dual purpose video/still camera design.
Cons Some minor shake issues. Video is grainy in low light.
Summary Before laying out big bucks for your new video camera, ask yourself these fundamental questions - what are you planning on using it for, and honestly, how often are you going to watch those videos after they've been shot?
I bought a great Sony mini-DV about 6 years ago when they first hit the market. I paid over $1000 for it, and have probably shot a total of about 24 hours of footage on it - virtually all of it during our vacations.
Let's face it, if you're not a budding Spielberg or shooting peoples weddings for $2500 bucks a pop, how much are you REALLY worried about getting perfect resolution and lighting at your 3 year old's birthday party?
Chances are you are like me - a plain Joe or Jane Average who just wants something handy and convenient to record that special trip or other occasion with - and you'll probably only ever watch it again on that rare occasion that your feeling particularly nostalgic, or the memory of the actual event has dimmed so much you have to dust of the video to relive it.
Home movies were generally pretty boring on super 8 mm, and they're apt to still be boring on 1080p!
I got the new HD2 a week and half ago in advance of our upcoming trip to Europe where we are trekking around for a month and didn't want to be lugging around the old Sony with a half dozen tapes and power supply in tow (the power supply on the Sony is actually bigger than the HD2!!).
First thing I tried was some low-light shooting in HD mode to see how it would fair (after reading that this camera was improved over the poor low-light image quality of the HD1 and HD1a). I played it back through the HDMI on my 46" Sony Bravia XBR3 and was fairly pleased with the results.
Other than a bit of graininess that one might generally expect in those conditions, I didn't see any major dropouts, flares or fades on panning to get worked up over. I initially didn't use the video light or the High-Sensitivity mode, and the image still turned out fairly good. In fact, more than good enough for the toddler's birthday party!!
Then I tried some outdoor daytime shooting, and the quality was great! The handy HDMI interface straight into the TV is a keen feature, and makes it really easy to see your results in HD right away.
Other than a bit of camera shake from using the zoom button while alternating wide and tight shots, there was no discernable difference from other high-end cameras in the same price range.
Sure, the little joystick swith and the menu aren't always the user-friendliest, but for the great size of this unit coupled with the features and price, I don't think there's any question about it - if you are a casual videographer that wants a light, portable and feature rich video camera that can also take good stills, and you don't want to mess around with tapes, dvd, or media storage transfer issues, then this is definitely THE camera for you. Don't even bother with the Canon, the Panasonic or the Samsung.
Pros size:7megapixel still shots: HD video:storage SDHC cards
Cons Joystick movement, no pause feature in video recording
Summary My hunt for a "one" camera to take video & still shots coupled with it's "pocket" size, could come to an end with this camera. As expected nothing is perfect. Why did sanyo see fit not to put a "pause" button in video recording is beyond me. There is a pause in playback. In video recording, invoke "stop" to stop recording, and a file is created, so at the end of the day you can have 2 to 10 files. To off set this flaw they created a feature, whereby you can join these files to create one file, with the option of overwriting the existing, or creating a new. With the SDHC capabilities a 4 gig card will hold about 1hr of recording at HD resolution. Looking at 8 gig SDHC cards at "newegg" web site. Battery not to good, 1 hour +. The "joystick" to access the menu is not that great. you are supposed to push down on it, to confirm your choices, the end result could be, it could either go up or down sometimes.Guess I will have to get use to it. Accessibility to switch to manual , change aperture,and different settings, is at you 'finger tips' . Video recording in low light,I had to change the ISO setting, got the brightness, but the picture became a bit fuzzy, tried changing the aperture setting, did not work to well. Still "dicking" aroung with this feature. Still shots, all good. Flash works nicely. Shooting in the dark is no problem.
Pros Ease of use
Cons Ahead of it's time
Summary I am very disappointed in the review that CNET editors gave this camera. If they had truely given an impartial review then heavy hitters like Sony, Canon and Panasonic would not be able to sell their out-of-date, overpriced cameras. I have looked at the video of such cameras and do not see much difference in the quality of the video. Such is always the case when innovative technology is first introduced. Just look what happened with the Tucker and the beta tape format. The best does not always win and money talks.
Pros concealable, small, great video, great stills, ext. mic.
Cons shutter lag with stills
Summary I did countless hours of research before buying this camera. What I wanted was a video camera that would take very good video and very good stills. If I had wanted excellent video alone I would have bought the Panasonic GS500 which I almost did, but as I live in an enormous city I really wanted something that I could keep in my bag all the time and pull out at a moment's notice. It has the capacity to turn off all sounds (nice) so it is very stealth if you want to film riots, the police, or whatever. Stealth. I had a professional canon still camera but it was too heavy and rarely used it. This camera takes amazing video. If you are going to make a movie you might want a larger more professional camera, but if you want to have something you can pull out anytime anyplace and shoot with great results, this is the camera. I can put this in my jean's front pocket (or shirt pocket!) without a problem. The still images are great -- not spectacular as there are artifacts when blown up and examined carefully, but it's fine for average sized prints, computers, etc. The Super Macro mode allows you to get within 1 cm of your object. Amazing flower shots! MPEG-4 is wonderful, easy to download and share and no compression necessary. It is an EXCELLENT camera, but it is not a professional still camera or film camera. This camera will go with you everywhere and you'll get amazing shots just because it's with you.
Pros Compact, user friendly, use with one hand, good video capability, on SD card
Cons No built in light for camcorder function
Summary I have this camera/camcorder for >1 yr and I have received unbelievable number of comments from people. Camera is great with many Megapix options. Great zoom. Can select regular or HD video. Multiple connectivity options, direct to TV, USB, SD card, etc... By far one of the best on market, and would highly recommend it people using for taking pictures/video of new baby, family, and events.