Ok, lets face it this isn't your typical consumer camcorder. At this price you could buy a few others and still have some change left over...
This is the real thing, used by the BBC across the world to make programmes and they wouldn't be using it unless it performed. This is the benchmark.
It records 1080 HD at 50Mbs MPEG 2 Long GoP and that's important, this is the first camera of this size and price that can. It also records that quality onto Compact Flash cards not some very expensive other flash memory. That said you do have to be careful about the CF cards you use, be sure to visit Canon's website for the list of compatible cards. All the major NLE's now support this format for editing.
This camera has all the features that professionals require as well as some that are new in this area of the market (Face Detect autofocus being one of them). The quality of the picture is very good, providing you are not expecting it to perform miracles, it's not the best HD camera in low light for example. Shooters that are used to using other cameras might find it heavy, it's certainly a bit heavier than a Sony Z1. The batteries last for hours and you should certainly invest in at least one of the larger batteries available as the camera ships with only 1 medium size battery.
The lens here is the jewel in the crown, those people that know Canon stills cameras know what the Red ring around the lens means. This is L series stills glass, and it performs very well. You also have to consider that this lens is an 18x zoom and it optically it performs like a large HD broadcast lens, I've used both.
There are a lot of features on this camera like Slow Motion and Pre record so you can really get creative. Audio performance is good and there are no major 'gotchas'.