Summary: I actually really loved this little cam when I first got my hands on it. The thing I really liked was the ability to swivel the lens around separate from the tape transport where you actually hold the camera which made it much more comfortable to hold for long periods of time. Problem is not long after I had been using the camera and loving it I started to get the dreaded DEW message and the camera would shut right down.
Summary: VERY GOOD CAMCORDER IN BRIGHT LIGHT BUT TERRIBLE STILL PHOTOS THAT REALLY CAN'T BE USED FOR ANYTHING. WE USE IT MOSTLY FOR THE ZOOS AND ANYTIME WE ARE OUTDOORS. THIS CAMCORDER HAS AGE ON IT SO NEWER ONES ARE PROBABLY WAY BETTER THAN THIS ONE BECAUSE THEY ARE UPDATED. VERY SMALL AND EASY TO USE.
Summary: I have the VL-Z3U from 3 yrs ago and was never satisfied as the dew indicator kept coming on & shutting off my camera. Sharp's customer service was no help and the repair center charged $180 to fix it. I should've purchased a new camera but I liked the swivel base feature. The dew indicator came on again 3 months later. I will never purchase another sharp camera.
Summary: this camcorder is pretty long in the tooth & I doubt many are still buying it, but in case you are thinking about becoming a new owner -- add my experience to the last few who posted reviews prior to mine. This machine was great on paper, and worked pretty well the first year or so (during which I wasn't using it that often -- maybe once or twice a month).
Summary: Sharp has discontinued making camcorders due to faulty products. I have owned the vl-z1u and the dew indicator kept shutting off the camcorder. After researching it this happened to all the Sharp camcorders. Be weary of buying anything from sharp. Only 3 repair centers in the US and customer support was horrible.