I would recommend going to www.camcorderinfo.com for a lot of good information. Go with Sony if you want auto functionality and Panasonic for manual control. You probably want the Panasonic because the Sony has very little manual controls yet the Panasonic is better balanced with incredible manual control at this price point.
I need advice on the best camcorder around the $1,200 price range to produce professional-looking training videos. As a novice (but quick study) to videography, auto functionality ranks slightly over manual control. I will be using Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5 software. According to Adobe, it works best with video captured across a DV (firewire) interface. Thanks!