Pros Linux friendly, image stablization, easy to use.
Cons Camera is very light, which may result in shaky picture.
Summary I bought this to record one to five minute videos, and then pull them into Blender for special effects. Linux compatibility was a must. I plug the USB cable to the camera and to my Debian Linux laptop, and the camera appears as a file system. I just drag the video files onto the laptop. No proprietary Windows drivers needed, although it does come with some software. Picture and sound are good.
Pros 40X OPTICAL zoom is favorite feature; buttons are all easy access; results meet all expectations; hard drive!
Cons hmmmm. not yet.
Summary I video horseback riding lessons and shows. The strength of the optical zoom is a great feature for close and distant shots. Often use a tripod, but it is also handheld quite a bit. Solid fit in palm alows me to hold it steady, no fumbling to zoom, start or stop. Picture quality meets my expectations, and I cast a critical eye. I purchased bigger battery, but mostly use the battery that came with the handycam.
Pros Compact, and lightweight, good aim&shoot ability; low-light performance is surprising, considering its 1/6" CCD; easy extraction of movies or stills
Cons Absence of any way to aim this camera accurately in sunlight;
Summary Overall, its performance seems very similar to that of my previous camcorder, a Sony DCR-TRV103. The small size and light weight are great benefits for my most common application, vacation travel.
Reviewers of Sony cameras in this same hard-drive storage category (last year's SR40, 80, etc.) universally complained about the lack of an eye-level viewfinder suitable for in-sunlight photography. They were very right. With these cameras, the limits of the frame are a matter of guessing, because you cannot see the image at all when there is a bright sun around. Talk about point-and- shoot... These cameras essentially require the user to do just that. I'd like to be able to buy a simple, easily attached "hood" to clip over the LCD, with a simple lens so I coulde put the camera up to my eye and view the LCD with it in near-darkness. Even though I might not be able to operate the touch-screen (unless there were no "bottom" on the hood), such an addition would do wonders for ability to aim, using the LCD, in sumlight.
Pros Very nice quality image, (noticably better than Panasonic SDR H18), touch screen is high tech... I guess?
Cons Zoom takes a while to focus, shakey image on the computer
Summary Bias: I hate the touch screen. You don't get the option of not using it, and its a little more navigation than I'd like. But there's nothing wrong with it.. it works, its sensitive and etc, you just have to aim pretty well and not have big fingers or anything.
The one salvaging feature of this camera is that the video quality is sharper than the average (I also bought a Panasonic SDR H18 at the same time), although colors are a little pale. Not too bad if you're not comparing it to anything, though.
It's very easy to connect to the computer, and video plays on any of your usual media players- no need to install software just to watch the video. Dragging and dropping out of My Computer is enough.
A con of the base is the connection: if you don't sit the camera on the base just right, it won't charge- and while downloading videos onto the computer, the smallest nudge tends to break the connection.
Also, zoom takes a little while to focus, and when playing videos back on my computer I notice that during zooming or if something is moving too quickly, *the image gets pixelated lines in it*. I tend to forget to close the lens after use, since there's no lens cap- just a switch by the lens.
I went with the Panasonic equivalent, but was sad to leave behind the superior image sharpness. That's the only thing I'll miss, though.
Pros hard disk convenience
Cons terrible video quality, ineffective steady shot feature
Summary I owned a DCR TRV 110E which recently packed up and, being satisfied with previous sony products, (I have a vaio laptop, sony music system & digicam)I decided to go for the relatively more expensive SR42E. Big mistake. the video quality is pathetic. Also, the'steady shot' feature is not very effective as the picture keeps shaking (much more than with my previous TRV110E). Extremely disappointed with Sony. I am left with the feeling that I paid much more for much less.