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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I need a new camcorder, this will be my third modern era device. My first was a Sharp Viewcam Z I loved that camera and wish it still worked. I like a lot of things about it but my favorite feature by far was the form factor - it was built in two pieces connected by a circular joining plate so that you could point the lens vertically independent of the portion of the housing that you grip. I'm not explaining it well probably but it's a simple concept that those familiar with these old Sharps are familiar with. The result was that I could get a solid grip on the housing but still move the camera high over my head or low to my waist without breaking my wrist and still have the lens pointed straight ahead. 90% of my filming is kids so having a lower viewing angle is preferable.

My next camera (when the dew sensor on the Sharp went bad) was a Canon ZR500 that I hate for various reasons. One is the static form factor though. I am obviously in the minority but for the life of me I can't understand how 99% of all camcorders now are the shape that they are. I can't stand filming with my arm bent right angle and the camera directly in front of my face - but that is the only possible comfortable way to hold these new generation camcorders. It is also intrinsically more difficult to keep stable since it's impossible to lock your elbows on your body because you have your arm all jutted out in front of you looking like a tourist in order to keep the thing in front of your face.

Anyway, the only ones I see lately that appear anything close to as ergonomically friendly as my old Sharp are the various pistol grip models. Unfortunately there are not many to choose from and as far as I can tell, none of the highly regarded ones have Optical IS - which is a must-have for me.

Sorry for the half rant long post - here's my question:

Does anybody have any recommendation for a pistol grip form factor camcorder that has a decent OIS? I do want HD but for the right form factor and OIS, I'd actually "downgrade" to standard if necessary.

Short of finding one that meets those requirements, I'm leaning toward the 2009 version of the ZR500V, largely for the strong OIS and also because they are discounted now to $800. OIS trumps form factor, even though I know I'll be cussing every time I'm trying to contort my wrist and have to bend down all the time to get shots of the little kids without getting the tops of their heads. I know the 2010 ZR500v is going to be a step up (wide angle in particular is appealing to me) but I need this for a ski trip next week so unfortunately I can't wait. Also, $200-$300 is a big delta for me.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts for those of you patient enough to make it through this sad story...
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