Originally Posted by Steve McD
I went through all the specifications for these two models and my interest was dampened by a few things I found. In the first place, their pixels have only 40% as much size as those of the HC7/HC9. There is no choice of J-PEG encoding quality for still pictures. Unlike many models, there is no Fine mode, only an auto-adjusting Standard one. On Sony's DSC-H9 still camera, this elimination of Fine mode caused a significant drop in image quality and it showed artifacts from over-compression in many cases. Also, there is no intermediate pixel-size between 6-megapixels and 1.9 megapixels. At least one and preferably two other sizes, such as 3-MP and 4-MP should have been added. I don't imagine the extrapolated 10-MP images from its tiny pixels (5.7 MP of them), will be too great. I'd really like to be wrong about this, but I doubt that I am. True, it's a video camera, but I take stills just as much as video with mine.
I don't use my video cameras for still pix, but there are quality mode settings for video on the SR12. In fact, there are three quality settings for HD alone. At the highest quality setting, 16mbps, the video is truly excellent and to my eyes better than my HV20.
The other truly undeniable advantage of the Sonys is their viewfinder. For many people, not having a viewfinder is one of the biggest deal breaks there is. I can manage without one, but it's undeniably more professional and easier to have one.
It's no longer valid to simply compare sensor size and pixel size. Sony is using some very high end technology in their design to compensate for both sensor and pixel size and this tech is borrowed from their high end HD cams. The Exmor and Bionz processing does indeed live up to its promise. The picture is cleaner on the Sony than even my very clean HV20 picture.
I've learned at this point in the technology curve of AVCHD, it's wiser to see the picture than judge from the specs.