Summary: This camera has built-in lens cover opener. After powering the camera, they should open. Soon after purchasing this camera I started to have problems with automatic lens cover opener. Sometimes they didn't close. I ignored it. Now, they just don't open at all. In a nutshell, after just one year this camera is JUNK!!! I believe that Sony's "precision" gear mechanism opening lens cover has faulty design.
Summary: Initially this camera worked fine and I was quite happy with its simplicity and quality. Then, after two months, the shutter system malfunctioned and I could not use the camera. I was in South Africa at the time and took it to Sony South Africa who advised me that the entire shutter system needed replacement. However, because Sony does not offer international warranties, I would have to pay for the repair.
Summary: I just received the camcorder yesterday and I tried shooting some video at High Resolution and was surprised to find some frames being dropped when playing back on my DVD player. When the scene is fairly static the video is fine but when there is moderate movement I see occasional drops (about one frame every minute on average). You have to however really watch for it to notice the drops (since it only drops one frame now and then).