Summary: I boought it and returned it. I wanted something that would have a sharp picture and low noise from high ISO. Well, I got low noise, but at the cost of a softer than acceptable image. I'd rather have a slightly noisier image that can be later cleaned up at the cost of a softer image.
Summary: I really thought the image quality was rather poor with this camcorder. $500 may be a midrange price, but I expected much more. The pictures were not crystal clear, like a fog lens had been on, and the images looked they had been Photoshopped, meaning they were too oversharp and pixelated.
Summary: This is my 3rd camcorder in the past few years. The camcorder works great. Takes good video. And has a wider view than the Canon HV20 its replacing. That allows better shots imo. Note: this unit does NOT record in MP4 format! Only AVCHD.
Summary: Image quality and general functionality look very good, but build quality looks less than impressive. Unit died after 2 weeks when the lens cover stopped opening (motor gears make a grinding noise when it tries to open the cover). That said, there is no other camcorder at the price to match it.