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. At least then I have a choice of sharpness or iso noise.
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. Note that I really favor Panasonic products, but was dissappointed with this effort.
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. I read the specs carefully at Panasonic site, and thought it did MP4 the way they worded it. You can "convert" the AVCHD to MP4 after you take the video, but it takes it down to a tiny resolution, and of course take a long time.