Although it's price may be pushing your budget, it has a number of features that IMO overcome the higher price.
The number one thing I like is access to its controls. The Canon has a large wheel that is used to select the mode. This appears to be buried in Sony's menus which is a real PIA. Also, the Canon has three adjustments on the lense barrel; focus, zoom, and aperture. Shutter speed is not too far away. The Sony does not have a provision for setting the aperture. If you are knowledgeable about SLRs, you should understand why that is a big problem. With the HV-A1, I can adjust exposure with aperture, shutter speed, and ND. There may be additional controls I haven't discovered yet.
The Canon's low light performance is phenomenal, and it has a 20X lense which reaches, on a 35mm equivalent basis, 685mm.
Like the Sony, it has built-in XLR inputs although I have been very surprised at how good the built-in mic works. When I used it, I could not hear any camera sounds during post. It also seems to be totally customizable.
After using the Canon, I have zero interest in the Sony cameras. They look cumbersome to use, and limited in a number of respects.
Hiya, I am looking at buying the SONY HVR-A1U - Price: $2,549.95 from
http://www.evsonline.com/merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=2A2 or anything anyone can recommend in the same price range, but am really not knowledgeable in this area, I know a fair bit about DSLR's as I own a Nikon D70 and am a keen photographer, I used to use the manual FM10 and swan twin reflex camera. But this is a new field for me. I am a very amateur video maker and want to get into documentaries for hobby and real estate/hotel/tourism promotions as I live in Barbados - this will be the business side of it.
I am traveling to Miami in Oct and will be aiming to get the camera then, I have a budget of about US$ 3,000 to US$ 4,000 for everything, if anyone can confirm what everything would consist of for a beginner, i.e. tripod, external mike/lighting etc, or do I just need the camera and move from there, basically, do I spend all my money on a good camera so I do not have to upgrade soon, or do I buy an alright camera with accessories.
I have some video editing experience, but not on a professional scale and only really mucked around - i.e. output types etc, I used to use Ulead VideoStudio and Pinnacle 8..... Can anyone advise a good pro appearance editing software, I am very willing to learn to software and master the technique to achieve excellent results.....
Quality is imperative as I hope to broadcast with the local visitor channel and local caribbean countries....
Someone recommended the Sony HDR-FX7 however CNET Video guide does not speak very highly of it. Can anyone recommend another one? something in the same price range....