Hey latedate and gurkan-thanks for the edifying posts.
I went to Best Buy today and checked out the SD1 and the HV20. The SD1 is reputed to be the finest handling HD camcorder in that cci HD camcorder shootout
Handling the camcorders today didn't show me much about what I could expect in usage. I like how the SD1 sits in my hand. It is a bit small and my last two fingers hit the Mic area. (The rear right surround mic. - And I hit the mics on the Canon, too.) I know I'll have to figure out a way not to have "surface noise". I don't get the utilitarian attributes of mics that point up.
One thing I really like about the SD1 is the 4 - 48mm lens (**35mm equivalent: 28 - 336mm). The HV20 is 6.1 - 61mm (35mm equivalent: 43 - 427mm). The wider angle SD1 is much better for location shooting as the wider angle allows for more relaxed framing when needed. And 28mm is a nice "really wide" amount. Not too extreme.
Handheld shooting is much easier to watch when wide angle smooths out the "bumps". The lack of extreme zoom range removes temptation. And the OIS of the panasonic tests better.
I am still concerned with editability. It's useless to me w/o complete access by NLE software. And I don't want to do another step that might result in corrupted files occurring. (Especially when that occurrence is in the middle of rendering, after a long editing session)
I don't want to be a Beta tester. I need it to work with whatever software I'm using. The Canon will do that but I will need to add the giant "schnozz" of a protuberance that the wide angle lens attachment resembles. I'd really rather have the more ergonomic, better handling SD1.
I'll just wait until the last possible moment to buy - in case some new model incorporates more of what I need.
Latedate: I'll have to try your camera holding method. I agree that the lightness and compactness of today's camcorders can make handling difficult.
I do find that when I must
be steady I close the LCD and use the eyepiece. Using the eyepiece locks my head, hands and camera together. When I need to be even steadier I sit down. (Of course the SD1 doesn't have an eyepiece
so now I'm very confused
EDIT: ** The 35mm equivalent I mentioned may be wrong for the SD1. I read a higher number for the low end somewhere (can't find it again) but it is certainly wider than the Canon.