I have only given this item 4 stars as the instructions are never as clear as they could be. This of course applies to many products, and I don't consider myself to be stupid, but I think that companies should get the public to 'test-drive' the instruction book, rather that just have it written by expert technical staff. Having said that it works very well and I consider it to be very good value.
I had intended buying the SD60 but found it was out of stock, but then found this model and discovered it was cheaper than the last price of the SD60 and had 8GB of internal memory, so a very good buy at the time. Picture and sound quality were as good as or better than I expected, and a huge leap in quality from my 10 year old Panasonic Standard Def. MiniDV camcorder. Very good stabiliser function, much improved from my old camcorder too. Bought with the intention of videoing a friends wedding the next weekend and ended up doing it all handheld without any problems. Battery life was a concern but I needn't have worried as it lasted for the whole of the 57 minutes I recorded and then played back later that evening to watch through with some to spare. I already had a 16GB class 10 SD card to use with it, but the hour only used about 5GB on the default quality setting, so it all went into the internal memory easily. I'll be editing the video using Muvee and Nero and making an AVCHD DVD. I already have and occasionally use a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT1 stills camera for 720p HD, so knew what to expect with the video editing as regards the time taken for rendering etc.
Both models have been superseded by newer ones with slightly better features that had just come onto the market, but I didn't want to spend the extra £100 or more I would have had to pay for one of them and don't think I needed to. Overall I'm very satisfied. I did think the lack of a proper viewfinder might have been a problem but not so, so far, and again, you need to spend a lot more to get one these days.
Both I and my son in law have recently bought this model, and are very pleased with it. It is very simple to use, both in still picture mode and in Hd video mode. The HD video quality on an hd tv is really something, and matches quality broadcasts from the tv companies. We were undecided wether to go for the newer 3 ccd units, at a lot more cost, but we are both very happy with this unit, which is easy, intuitive and great quality. The editing programme that comes with it is poor really, windows 7 basic editing programme has so many more options and by comparison is childsplay to use ( the camcorder also has some basic editing progaramme with init). The camcorder also really needs to be held with two hands if you want to use the 35 optical xoom, which is simply staggering, and gives you immense choice of shots. Without getting into the technical bits, if you want to get a camcorder for recording family and holiday events in great HD quality both still and movie,with options for both 8gb of internal memory or sdhc cards go for this one. 8 Gbs gives you about 1 hour of hd video at the highest quality setting or you can reduce the quality with four levels, all at HD.The camcorder is easy to carry, smaller than i thought it would be and easily fits in a jacket pocket. We are both having great fun with it, and it seems as tech proof as you can get for the moment.
Please be careful when you purchase the item, especially from Amazon. That's where we bought it, and we cannot say anything about other suppliers.
Firstly, brilliant feature of this camera is a 8GB built in memory. Even when you will forget a memory card, as long as the build in memory is still available, you're on the safe side. In this range there are three different models of camcorders with similar spec. And they are easy to distinguish: SD-60 - no build-in memory, just a card slot; TM-55 - 8GB build in + a card slot, and HS60 - the most expensive one with a build in 120GB hard drive. If you manage to buy TM-55 in the price range of SD-60, what can be done from time to time on special offers, that's perfect.
But, the camera can be supplied with two different battery packs. The advertised model comes (according to the advertised spec) with more expensive almost 4 hours of recording time batteries pack. Unfortunately the one you get, comes with a smaller batteries, half the size, and if you would like to update by any chance it's an over 50GBP additional expense.
As the only way to solve any problems with Amazon is to return the item, sometimes this might be too much of a hassle. For example, we bought this camera for our baby's arrival, and we do not have time now to send it back. As you will notice 'contact the seller' option does not exist either.
Still within a budget of +/- 300GBP this is the model we found quite tempting. Good luck with your purchase, I hope that the 4hr battery life model exist somewhere there :) and that you'll be the lucky one.
I was about to order th sd60, and i was very suprised to see that day that this model with the extra 8gb internal memory was a little bit cheaper from the sd60!!! So i ordered it immediately. The next day it was 80 pounds more expensive... Great camera, highly recommended. Reviews about sd60 fit this one too, are quite analytic and not misleading at all!!! Highly recommended given the price. At the present price i would buy the sd60