They are no longer made - those for sale are either used, refurbished or the retailer bought a bunch.
1) It captures hidef. I like that I can opt to capture 16:9 or 4:3 standard def.
2) It uses standard miniDV tapes. 63 minutes on a Sony Premium tape. The expensive special HD tapes are not necessary.
3) Manual capabilities - but I wish I could have a focus ring and a zoom ring. They are combined which means you pick which one you want to be manual. I guess this part should be in the "Cons" section.
4) Mic-in jack. It is only 1/8" and not XLR, but I use a BeachTek DXA-6 for my XLR mics, so no biggie.
5) Photos are pretty good - but light needs to be good, too... The built-in flash works - but only in photo mode. If you take pictures whil video is being captured, the flash will not flash.
6) It is relatively small - but big enough where some folks think it is a pro-rig... especially since it is hidef.
1) It is a bottom loader. If mount to a tripod, changing tapes is a pain - unless you have a "spacer" between the camera on the tripod.
2) When using the 2x tele, when zoomed in on something far away, it is great... when you zoom out, you can only get about 1/2 way until a "barrel effect" starts happening. The corners turn black and it looks like you are looking out from a barrel... http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=1557679
Neither pro or con, but things you need to know:
1) When you import the video (via FireWire, which means you computer needs a FireWire port and you need to buy a 4-pin camera - 4 or 6 pin computer (depending on the port on your computer) because one is not included in the box, it is not a real-time import - it will be something less than realtime. On my nearly 2 year old 2GHz G5 iMac flatpanel importing a full 1 hour tape can take 2.5 hours. I start the import and go do something else. That 1 hour of video will take up over 30 gig of hard drive space (1 hour of standard def is a little over 10 gig).
2) When you finish editing and burn the project to DVD, you will likely be downsampling to standard def. When you playback in a normal DVD player, it will be the clearest standard def you have seen - but it is indeed standard def. If you want to see it in hidef, you will need to also export the finished project back out to the camera and a recordable miniDV tape - then, using the camera as a playback device, connect it to a HDTV with the included component cables (and the audio jacks of the analog AV cable. It looks awesome.
3) Never re-use a tape. When the tape fills or the project's capture is done, take out the tape, lock it, use the labels that cam in the tape case and mark the date and contents on the label.
4) Use a solid, stable, tripod whenever possible. A monopod is OK, too.
5) Consider getting the LANC. It is a wired remote you can clip to the tripod handle. Very handy.
6) Get a good, sturdy case like a Pelican or SKB. Protect your investment.
7) Get an optional high-capacity battery (or two). No camera comes with a good battery in the box.
External mics are a different discussion - look through the Camcorder forum for additional details.
I would buy an HC1 again if they were available new.
I am deciding on getting a camera and was wondering the specifications and pros and cons of an HDV camcorder. I was lookin towards a Sony HDR-HC1 Handycam as my choice, mainly I'm looking for one in the -$800 price range. I'm not a camera expert, so I was wondering if anyone could give me some insight on the what's and what not's of buying an HD camcorder.