"THE camera to get if you're not shooting weddings for money."4.5 starson by gw400404
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.