Long time listener, first time caller.
I just picked up the FH1A at Amazon for $330 after spending a few months waiting for either this camcorder or the Canon HF200 to significantly drop in price. The FH1A won that race :-)
I travel internationally with my wife, and my main reason for buying this is for vacation videos. Before buying it, I knew that the main weakness of the FH1A would be its image stabilization. I have taken some sample video in my backyard using two hands (left hand holding outside edge of LCD). When zoomed at 10x and slowly panning, it is a bit sketchy.
Knowing this, I would like to buy a piece of stabilization hardware that is:
1. Highly portable (smaller size is more important than weight)
2. Somewhat effective
3. Quick and easy to use
4. Does not make me look like a complete AV nerd (*ducks*)
With these requirements, I believe some kind of telescopic monopod would be my best option. I envision myself using the monopod about half the time as a simple counterweight (not extended) and the other half for its true purpose of being a monopod (extended to the ground). Can anybody suggest one? If a telescopic monopod is not the way to go, can anybody point me in another direction?
The Hague MMC and Manfrotto 585 ModoSteady produce excellent results and are somewhat compact, but I do not think it will suit my purpose of when I jump off a tour bus and have only two minutes to film a scenic overlook. I will not have the camcorder set in it at all times, so that's a strike against requirement #3.
Shoulder-mounted solutions do not pass requirements #1 and #4. I would get really dirty looks from my wife during the entire trip, which would make it unpleasant and defeat the purpose of taking a vacation.
This is an excellent thread and I have learned a great deal about the optimal manual settings for various lighting scenarios. Thank you to everybody for this indispensable information.