Ok, Vegas that I use is a Pro version, but I am not comparing pro features, all I am doing here is comparing basic features, and cheap Vegas versions work the same as Pro in this regard.
Why I am doing this? First, bsprague is recommending it to everyone asking for an NLE, so I wanted to see what is the fuss about it. Also, in my son's school they use Macs and some Mac software to make videos, and I've heard that Premiere looks the closest to iMovie or whatever other Mac offers. I thought that if my son decided to do some video editing, it better to look similar at home and at school. I am running it on Windows of course.
Anyway, I did not go too far with the PE11, because I started to hate it from the beginning.
The app is a freaking dog. Everything is slow. Custom-painted menus and dialogs takes ages to show up and close. I need to explicitly close drop-down menu.
MOV files from my digicam cannot play at full speed, the app hinted me to "render" them. I guess it is Mac-speak for intermediate video format. Even after I rendered them, video quality sucked, because the intermediate format was apparently not for use for final editing, but only for preview, macroblock-fest! Audio also got screwed up, after 5 seconds or so from the beginning of a clip a small segment of audio loops, sounds goofy, and I could do nothing about it.
Strangely, AVCHD files played better, almost at realtime speed without "rendering", and no problems with audio.
The stupidest thing about PE so far is project setup. I could not find how I could change project properties. If I selected 720p24, that is it, it sticks. If I want to change it to 30p I need to create another project and select an appropriate template. Why I can not change it!?!? Same with templates, they are predefined, and I cannot choose frame size, frame rate, scanning type, etc individually, I have to choose from presets. Lame, stupid, idiotic. What if the app does not have a needed preset? Like the free Premiere Pro 2.0 that you can download from Adobe, it has only handful of presets and you cannot create your own. The app treats its users as idiots who don't know what they do. Or maybe the app simply is hand-adjusted to certain presets and cannot work outside of this envelope. Nothing has changed in this area since 2005 Premiere 2.0.
This Adobe's video http://tv.adobe.com/watch/learn-premiere-elements/creating-a-new-project/
tells exactly that: you need to specify correct project properties before dragging clips into the project. Uh, uh, PE is so smart that it can automatically change project properties if you use video with say a different aspect ratio. Cool. But it would be million times better if it allowed doing it manually, whenever I feel like it. PE's mantra is use the same project settings as media settings. What if I have different media types with diferent resolution and frame rate? The video took time to explain how important to set project properties because you are screwed if you don't do it correctly. No way to change it later. Now I see why this software needs tutorials - to help you avoiding screwups. Unfixable screw-ups. Screw-ups that are preprogrammed into unflexible software.
So far, I played 15 minutes with this steaming pile of crap and called it a day. Maybe I will try tomorrow just for the kicks of it.
I understand that bsprague have issues with Sony after his legit Vegas copy stopped working, and a slow dog PE is better than a non-working Vegas, but for anyone else who does not hold a gripe against Sony my advice is: TRY VEGAS FIRST. Both apps have trial versions, but PE gave me more grief not wanting to install on my Windows 7, than Vegas ever did.
Vegas Platinum has almost everything needed for efficient editing except for levels monitor, so you have to eye your levels. Other than that, for the same price you get a fast app that does not require "rendering", that works with most video formats you throw at it natively, which is very fast even with 1080p60 AVCHD, it can utilize Nvidia GPU (PE cannot, more expensive PPro can use GPU acceleration). Well, maybe if you have an i7 CPU then PE will work reasonably fast, but Vegas will work even faster.
The reasons for choosing PE over Vegas? PE may look closer to its Mac counterparts. Also it may accept some Adobe plugins that would not work with Vegas, although I am not sure about that.
P.S. Don't even think about Corel Video Studio or whatever else they have, even if you can get it for free. It is much worse than PE.