Well, I have had a TM700 for a few days now and I guess this is as good a place to post my comments as any other thread. (I got the TM700 through a sale and an open box: good deal.)
I'm planning to return it and I'm posting this message to hear any arguments against my decision.
I trust Ken Ross and he was one poster (among many) that rave about the TM700's picture quality. I was also intrigued about the 60p and the 28 Mb/s data rate. Yet, to make a long story short, I couldn't see the improved PQ while I had many other problems with the Panasonic's files. I recorded outdoors, indoors, sunlight and so on. To my eye, the TM700 had saturated colours and the image was not striking. (What is it about Americans and Japanese and saturation? Can't you people be subtle?)
I wondered: Is it my eye that is the problem? Is it an American obsession with fatty food? A Japanese obsession with fantasy?
Then, I recorded my cat sitting in full sunlight from about 10 cm and the image on the screen showed the TM700's PQ everyone said was phenomenal. On the screen, I could see the whiskers and the changing fur patterns in perfect detail. As Ungermann says above, I swear to God that damn tiger video explains why the TM700 rates so highly.
But these are peculiar situations that are not common in video. IMHO, the TM700 is a low end DSLR. It can photograph non-moving subjects in good light. But as soon as there is movement, or poor/ordinary light conditions, then the TM700 is just another ordinary Camcorder.
Well, not quite.
The first time that I turned on the TM700, I heard the noise of the fan. (I remember people asking about the noise of a HDD which is normally undetectable.) I couldn't believe that anyone would put 5.1 sound in a camcorder with such a cooling system.
In addition, the *.mts files of the TM700 do not play on my PS3. (I have the newer PS3 that does not have a SDHC slot.) Well, they play for about 45 seconds at 28 Mb/s to 35 Mb/s and then the sound/image starts to shudder and the rate falls to 7 Mb/s.
I can play the files through Splash
(great software) using my laptop to my 52" HDTV screen but that's a hassle/imperfect. (BTW, my laptop has a 1920x1080 resolution screen which I also used for testing. I'm assuming that Splash doesn't degrade the image. I gave away my mini-HDMI cable and I'm waiting for a new one. For the moment, I have no way to connect the TM700 directly to the large screen so this perhaps flawed my tests. But anyway, I want to play files - not connect my camcorder to a TV. Is this Hi-8 technology?)
I can import the TM700's files to Vegas Platinum 10 but then I lose the advantage of 60p. Vegas converts them to 60i. I can buy Edius software (at about $700) and edit the files but I can't create a Bluray disc at 60p.
Without 60p, I lose the so-called superior PQ and I'm at 60i but at 17 Mb/s just like the Canon/Sony's of two or three years ago. (Another point: When you choose the 60p option in the TM700, many other control features disappear.)
The autofocus of the TM700 is good (to the extent I tested it) but it's lowlight ability is about as good as my SR11 (despite what the CCI review says).
I was less than impressed with the TM700's 5.1 sound. Other than the fan noise, it just doesn't sound good to my ear.
The bottom line here is that (sorry to be personal but I don't know how else to state this), Ken Ross is a picture guy. He chooses the camcorder with the best PQ. The TM700, under ideal circumstances (perfect light, no moving object) delivers a precise (saturated to my eye) image.
In any other circumstance, the image is saturated, imprecise.
Without PQ, the TM700 is a lousy camera. The file format is non-standard and difficult to play/edit. It has a horrible fan noise and the mic is not great anyway. (There's also no Bluetooth remote possible.) The OIS was about as good as my SR11.
Last point: I tend to think that 60p is a fad. 60i, 60p? What's the difference? Whatever the claim, we are talking about compression techniques (MPEG4) and its current video consumer standard AVC-HD. Good software will play interlaced or progressive as required - the terms are almost meaningless except in terms of compression. Given the compression technique, the better question is data rates and if there are going to be changes in consumer camcorders in the future, it will be there. We may soon see camcorders using AVC-HD compression but with 50 Mb/s or more.