I trekked it (ok, monorailed it) all the way Caesar's Palace today to check out JVC's new HD Everio, along with the rest of their camcorder line. And yes, that is it above, safely tucked behind red roping, shooting a real time product demo. Once the dirty commoners left, PR grabbed me a unit.
By the way, tech specs, etc can be found in a previous post.
First First Impression: They handed me the camera, and I could swear, even in the windowless confines of a Vegas ballroom, clouds parted and shined rays of sunlight on my head. I turned it on. It didn't turn on. No battery?? WTF???
Can I please get a battery, some power source? No? Ok.
First Impression: It's small. Very small. Put it somewhere between your palmcorder and a run of the mill prosumer camera.
Second Impression: It's sexy. They really put some love into this finish. My photography does the grain detailing little justice.
Third Impression: I know I rant about build, but I think it's very important with a camcorder. The weight is surprisingly light, but a battery on the back should give it a nice weight/balance.
They had a tech demo set up, shooting a real time still image of flowers. There was vibrant color saturation, though some minor artifacting around petal edges. Then they had a screen with outdoor Vegas footage (claimed to have been shot earlier this week) that looked spectacular. Movement was very sharp - I could almost see this on an HD channel. Granted, the screen size wasn't a 50-inch where flaws might really show.
Without side-by-sides or shooting time on my own, I can't make strong camera comparisons, but I can say that I doubt you will find better video for under $2000. And if you are an event videographer or documentary maker looking to move to HD, two cameras for the price of one may be a viable option.