"Not Perfect, but important differentiating features"4.0 starson by AetherL
Pros: - Image Stabilization capability is best in class
- Wide(r) angle lens (28mm equivalent) then competitors
- SDHC cards now accepted
- Best in class low-light performance
- 24 MB/sec recording rate now standard for 1080i filming
Cons: - No wind filter, which is frustrating for outdoor use
- Does not include 24p Processing
- Panasonic 700 Camcorder includes Time Lapse Recording, which is neat but not present on the Sony. And yes, the Panasonic TM700 includes a Wind Filter as well.
Summary: No offense to the CNET reviewer, but the quality of this review is very poor and even inaccurate. CNET's camcorder reviews are now significantly lacking, and I strongly recommend potential buyers read such websites as SlashCam or CamcorderInfo (CCI) for more detailed reviews, and empirical test results. CCI (as is CNET) is incorrect in their low light performance measures, as the test performed was flawed (see User Comments for F-Stop errors), but SlashCam has an accurate review related to Low Light Performance, and the Sony's single chip actually outperforms the 3 chips of even the Panasonic TM-700. Sample images are provided to prove the performance statements, which are given here.
Now to the camcorder: The low-light performance and better image stabilization as well as wide angle lens combination sealed the deal for me after a lengthy research period over this camcorder's main competitor, the Panasonic HDC-TM700. The Panasonic includes 1080p60p recording, and a 3 chip sensor which offers better colour accuracy and sharpness (marginal, and likely indiscernible to 99% of viewers). But the Panasonic's 1080p video will seriously slow down all but the fastest of computers for editing, and the Panasonic version is getting reports of fan noise from the camcorder creeping into the audio mic on the cam when the scene being filmed is quiet.
The Sony cam is not perfect, and I would like to see them add in some of the features now being offered by their competitors, but the image stabilization and low light recording (2 very important performance aspects of a cam) make this the cam to beat in 2010, from my perspective.