Pros Excellent in low light
Decent dynamic range
96GB of internal flash storage
Multiple connectivity options
Image quality is very good
Vivid colors and 5.1 channel audio recording for the video
Cons EVP eyepiece is useless
Summary I am a professional DP, and this camera is awesome. It's the first small HD camera that I can shoot a sunset with. It can handle being pointed at the sun, without the nasty star pattern that every other small HD camera that I have used. I have used the new Canon ProHD sensor cameras, and the Panasonic HD-TM700, SD600. The Panasonic cameras are the sharpest, but there is so much more they fail at. Pointed at the sun and headlights, they make a nasty four or six point star pattern, and I find they are not very useful in low light. The Canon does not have a wide lens, and also performs poor in low light, a big disappointment.
This Sony HDC-CX700 and the HDC-CX560, are basically the same camera, with the 700 adding zebra lines, and a rear viewfinder, that lets the camera continue shooting with the LCD door closed. There are a few minor other differences in the models, but either way you can't go wrong. The Sony's also perform excellent in low light, and have a decent dynamic range.
I also own the Canon 5d, 7d, and T2i cameras. These DSLR cameras do not look as good to me in low light, and they suffer from a high degree of aliasing, point them at power lines for instance, and they staircase the bending lines. The Canon DSLR line also suffer from moire, point them at a brick building, and they have a tendency to create a lot of noise. The Canon DSLR is fantastic for shooting timelapse, as the stills can be shot raw. The stills from these cameras are top notch, the Sony does not shoot great stills. Just remember that time you add good glass, and memory, the DSLR option can get quite expensive for video. The DSLR's do offer the best option for shallow depth of field, which if you have that type of subject matter, looks the best. Just remember that much of what you may shoot is probably at infinity, so not much depth of field happening there. Also depending on the lens, and subject, a DSLR may offer excellent picture quality with the sun in frame.
The Sony line also shoots true 1080 / 24p and 60p. This offers ability to speed change (slow motion) and the 60p can be converted to 30p with a little work, and some third party software available from Aunsoft. There are give and takes in all the cameras mentioned, but I find the Sony 560 and 700 to be the best compromise. With all these consumer cameras, it's good to take the camera and shoot some test, I find big variances in all of these cameras, I believe that consumer cameras are not manufactured to the highest level of quality control standards. In everyone of these cameras, I have seen resolution differences in the same model, so do some testing when you get a new camera, and make sure it looks good.
So to final sum up, the Panasonic line has fantastic resolution, but suffers from bright light sources flaring, poor color rendition, and poor low light performance. The Canon ProHD camera line does not have a wide lens, poor flare, soft resolution, and so so low light performance. The Sony's are okay at resolution, but excel in handling bright light sources, produce nice color rendition, and excel in low light. Manual control is best on Panasonic, then Canon, and then the Sony's. There is something called exposure on the Sony line, which manually controls exposure, but it does not inform you as to what it is actually set at. I have got used to it, and just shoot great imagery with this camera.
Sony will be releasing a Pro version of this camera for around $3K. It's basically the 700, with some weather proofing, better manual control, and a larger form. I would rather have a 560 and a 700, and some other excellent Sony accessories that Sony offers with this camera line. The telephoto 1.7x lens works great, the Bluetooth mic is easy, and the Sony av60 tripod finish out a nice light weight run and gun camera package. Of the a fore mentioned cameras, the Canon and Panasonic are cheaper, but this Sony is good enough to basically be added to their pro line. It is an excellent compromise.
P.S. I suggest check for cheap price for the Sony HDR-CX700V before you will buy it at: Checkingprices.info/sony-hdr-cx700v/
Pros Stunning video so crisp that it almost appears to be 3D quality. Pure 1080 perfection. Fantastic menu operation; so easy to navigate and grasp right out of the box.
Excellent weight and balance, that fabulous built-in USB cord. Great LCD screen.
Cons EVF (electronic view finder) is a major Sony sub-standard achievement on such a high-end camcorder at that price. Near useless.
Summary The best camera and/or camcorder ever owned. Beats out any Canon or Panasonic. Low light was excellent as was image stablization. But it's all about the picture and sound quality that matters most (5.1 sound)and this Sony beats them all at stunning performance.
Pros Very good low light captures. Takes good night scenes and videos
Cons The Play Back function is confusing. They need to make it user friendly as per their earlier camcorders.
Summary The product is very excellent but playback function disappoints a lot. Also the touch screen is less sensitive and you need to press very hard to open the application which might damage the screen in long run.
Pros I had a S300 and like todays trend was hopeless out doors in the sun. So, I scrapped that camcorder and bought the CX700VE because it does have that simple device which made all the difference for outdoor use. The low light aspect is good, focus is quic
Cons The method of displaying playback groups seems pointless. I would prefer that the simple pages of thumbnails be displayed instead of the strange little groups . I would have liked to be able to have both the monitor screen and viewfinder on at the same t
Summary A nice to handle camcorder with a useful GPS function for those of us who cannot remember where that scene was shot.