I think your choice of the Sony HDR-SR1 is a great choice. It gets the highest ratings of all the camcorders that I've seen. Most reviewers consider it the HD model of the year for 2006. It also has the hard drive capacity that you said you'd need.
You can read every review on the internet of the Sony here:
Here's the scoop. I work for a group of forensic pathologists, who use a plethera of Nikon digitals in the morgue, as well as a Sony DVD Handycam for taking short videos of bodies. The handycam has not been too bad to us, although the MPEGs seem to pixelate when the camera is in motion. As the docs are moving while filming the bodies, this sometimes poses a problem. In any case, the camera seems to have died (the mode switch won't rotate into play mode, so the USB connection is useless), and it seems we need a new camera. I've been doing some research, but what I really need is some opinions from advanced users or pros.
We're looking for a digital video camera that will perform well though camera movement. (No one will be running with it...just panning with the camera, possibly walking.) It needs to be able to capture HQ vids in fully fluorescent, decently bright lighting. The recording process needs to be simple enough for less advanced users, although the video transfer process doesn't. The image quality needs to be superb for the price we're willing to pay ($800-1500); since there is a chance that any of the videos will need to be presented in court, they need to appear professional. It needs to be able to handle taking a massive quantity of clips (roughly 5-10 seconds per clip), and transfer those clips to a PC with as high a data transfer speed as we can get for the money. Something that records on flash media or HDD would be nice, but is not a requirement. We're essentially looking for the best quality we can get for the price. Obviously we could get better quality for a $3000 shoulder-mount model, but as we primarily rely on digital stills we really can't justify a purchase of that magnitude. And, last but not least, it would be nice if the camera had a feature to turn the microphone off...but again, that's not a necessity.
We don't need the camera to take great still photos...we use the Nikons for that. We don't require features like night shooting or anything.
I've been considering the Sony Handycam HDR-SR1...is that a good option, or can I do better for the price?
If anyone can steer me in the right direction, I'd really appreciate it a lot!