Originally Posted by ohcello
OK, so for me, the stabilization issue is what this all comes down to. So I have the following questions:
Digital Stabilization - Does it affect image quality noticeably? I've seen some clips where I could swear I see the DS 'working' with some 'shifting' within the video, etc., but maybe I'm wrong. How much of the zoom is it effective (I've read maybe up to 5x) when using DS?. Does it work enough to keep a steady image still while standing still, etc?
IMO, if you're going to go Canon, don't settle for anything less than 24Mbps AVCHD. If you plan on rendering only 720p or DVD content, then by all means settle for less. Canon's do excel in optics and fast focusing. Their stabilization and rolling shutter issues are just as bad as others IMO. Depending on HOW you use them anyway.
The main issue IMO is the bitrate. At 30p, the Sanyo is only 12Mbps. Yes it's 24Mbps for 60p, but that's covering twice as many frames at full resolution. With a lot of motion (low stabilization) the limited bitrate gets used up fast. I love my 60p though. Things move so much more fluid. And as long as you're fully zoomed out, stabilization isn't that bad.
It's more likely that you're seeing the rolling shutter than digital stabilization in action. If you pan fast you get a little skew because of how the shutter and sensor work. If you bump the camcorder, you get that without panning. Digital stabilization either works or it doesn't. For some applications desired. But for most, not quite as good as optical.
Fully zoomed out and even a wide angle lens 0.7x can do wonders for handheld and stabilization. Once you zoom, stabilization becomes critical. And the Sanyo has 16x zoom in video mode. Only 10x optical though. Most of the Canons are only 10x, some are 12x. If you're handheld, you should probably avoid zoom. Better yet, avoid handheld. Do you really want to be holding it for 1+ hours without anything to lean on.