Lots of features, but some things just make no sense!
I bought this camera and loved it! The zoom at 16x is sharp, smooth, and steady! The pictures seem to reflect true colors, and the video... Oh the video! The video is phenomenal!
However, there were three flaws in the design that I could not get past which made me return this camera.
1) The flash. Yes, as others have mentioned, the flash pops up RIGHT where I've been holding cameras for 30 years! I might eventually get adjusted to it, but will the mechanism get damaged in the meantime? What about the times when I hand off the camera to someone else?
2) The panoramic mode is buggy. On standard setting, it's almost possible to capture a full image from time to time... Almost! In either WIDE or HD Panorama, it's downright impossible! As you begin to pan, the camera begins some kind of internal countdown. There is no visible indicator of how much time you have left, so most of the time the camera only records a partial image. That is, if you're lucky! If you move the camera too fast, it will tell you that the movement was too fast, and it could not record. Alternatively, if you move it too slowly, it will tell you that it was too slow and also could not record an image!
3) Lastly, the proverbial straw for me was the naming scheme for recorded videos. When you record HD videos, the files are named 00000.MTS, 00001.MTS, 00002.MTS,... etc., etc. When you remove the recorded videos (to your PC, Blu-Ray, the cloud, whatever), the next time you record videos, the numbering will begin anew; 00000.MTS, 00001.MTS, 00002.MTS...
There is NO WAY to change that. The photos can be named sequentially, but that option does not exist for the videos. Aside from the fact that the videos are BURIED in some arcane folder location (\PRIVATE\AVCHD\BDMV\STREAM\), you must start the naming sequence from 0 when you empty your memory card or swap it with a new one.
I was able to speak with a Sony representative who offered me a solution. She recommended that I keep the last file from my recordings in the flash card. That way, the camera would know to start with the next number in the sequence. That is a pretty lame solution, but thankfully for Sony, that didn't work either. When I tried that, the camera gave me a message about an inconsistency with the indexing, and although I had left file 00016.MTS in the card, the next video was recorded as 00000.MTS.
In my book these are pretty egregious faults for a camera that is supposed to be on the higher end of the spectrum. For the price of this camera and the fact that it's a Sony, I expected more. I imagine that the next version may have updated firmware to correct these problems (if not the flash location), so I'll wait and give it another shot then.