JVC Everio GZ-HM340 Camcorder ( Black)
The four sibling models--the JVC Everio GZ-HM300, HM320, HM340, and HD500--deliver subpar video for even their dirt-cheap prices.
Panasonic HDC-SD60K ( Black)
Panasonic's quartet of entry-level HD camcorders--the HDC-HS60, TM60, TM55, and SD60--delivers a nice manual feature set and good performance, as well as solid video quality for their class. As long as you don't pay list price, the SD60 is a great value, and if possible, avoid paying the unnecessary price premium for the hard drive in the HS60.
The flash-based Panasonic HDC-TM700 and its hard-disk sibling, the HDC-HS700, stand out for their low-light video quality and broad set of manual controls. However, while the TM700 is very attractively priced for its class, the HS700 is not, and not worth the price premium unless you absolutely need the hard disk.
Sony Handycam DCR-SR68 ( Blue)
Sony's Handycam DCR-SR68 (and larger-capacity SR88) offers up ample storage and a megazoom lens at a reasonable price; one look at the standard-definition video, though, and you might regret not spending a bit more for an HD model.
Sony Handycam HDR-CX150 ( Black)
Its small size and attractive price might draw you to the Sony Handycam HDR-CX150, but this bare-bones camcorder just barely delivers on the promise of HD quality.
Panasonic SDR-H85 ( Black)
The Panasonic SDR-H85 standard-definition camcorder is worth considering for its manual controls and powerful zoom lens in a very compact body--not video quality.
The geotagging capability remains mostly a novelty, but the top-notch video quality of the Sony Handycam HDR-CX500V and HDR-CX520V make them worthy options. Because internal memory is overpriced, the HDR-XR500V is the better deal of the two, though you may want to opt for a 2010 model that supports SD cards rather than Sony's Memory Stick.
An interesting design doesn't offset the so-so video quality and performance, especially for the higher priced HMX-H106, H105, and H104. If you're set on this series, though, the no-memory-included Samsung HMX-H100 is probably the best deal of the bunch.
Panasonic SDR-SW20 ( Silver)
The Panasonic SDR-SW20's only saving grace is its water-, shock-, and dust-proof body (and even those have limitations). Otherwise, there's no reason to buy this pocket camcorder.
The Panasonic PV-GS85 is a serviceable budget camcorder, but better choices are out there.