"Very small, light. So-so video quality and stills."3.5 starson by elslide
Pros: Incredibly small and light. Typical good Sony design, nice touch screen funcion. Camera starts as soon as you open the screen. Quick to switch between video and still photography.
Cons: So-So video quality, even worse for stills. I really wasn't expecting much for still photos, so that's ok, but the video is definately a step down from my 10 year old Hi-8 tape camcorder.
Summary: One of the reasons I got this model was the reviews on the Canon FS-10 and the Panasonic, both of which had numerous negative comments regarding the software package that came with them. I'm happy to say that with the Sony, downloading vids to the computer is straightforward and simple, in fact there are even directions to do a "computer backup" to put the vids on the computer with out installing the software bundle, which is a nice change from products that REQUIRE you use their software to function.Update-Now that I've had a little more time to play around, I have some good and some bad news. It seems that the ghosting and studdering I was getting was more related to the computer I was using. After upgrading RAM, it plays smoothly, on TV also.
However, the video quality is a definate step down from my old Hi-8 tape camcorder. I'm really stuck as to what to do now. I haven't played anything on the TV yet, but judging from how it looks on a laptop, I can't imagine it'll be good on a 50 inch HDTV...On the plus side, it's small and so easy to carry and use, I'm sure I'll record much more video than I used to simply because it's so easy to have this with you. It's so small I am carrying it in a "coozie" soda holder until I can find a case small enough. On the other hand, I'll have lots more video that's really not so great. I'm having a baby in 2 weeks, which is one reason I got this now. It's fine for casual shots, but it's really not "heirloom quality" video. So now I have a decision to make, do I take it back or not? I'm not sure any of the other digital recorders will be any better. This would be a truly spectacular little camera if only the video wasn't grainy and rough.
Updated on Mar 30, 2009
I purchased a Canon FS10 and shot hours of video comparison between the two, shooting the same subjects at the same time, both indoors and out, still and moving subjects. In the final evaluation, the Canon had slightly crisper images. Small details that weren't readable, such as the writing on the trunk of a car, were clear on the Canon. Also, the Sony focus tends to go in and out. If the camera is held steady on an object, the image would blur, then come back into focus, and blur again repeatedly. This may be due to slight movement while handheld, but the Canon did this to a much lesser degree.
The Sony touchscreen is great, and video importing is easier. The design overall is more user-friendly, but it went back to the store.