The reasons you stated are spot on. Vacations and sports games are prime examples of the need for *instant* use. Though I believe most would just turn their camcorder on at the beginning of said events and wait until there is a need to record.
Has anyone used the pre-record function on their SDR-S7 or SDR-H60? (It's also on some of the HDC units. ) If you turn off power save, pick SD, and allow quick start, you should, it seems, be able to sit on the beach, wait for people to shout WHALES and then push record. (A tripod would help unless you yourself want to hold the camcorder for hours, waiting. ) In fact, one of Panasonic's description overviews used this very example, except they mentioned dolphins, though I can't find it 2 days later. So has anyone tried this? For any poipose? (sorry )
One apparent problem could be that the animals would not appear within the focusing area. I don't have any idea how that would work. So the ocean would be in focus, but off to the side, some blurry whales would be jumping. Any information would be greatly appreciated. I've basically limited my choices to this small set of camcorders, and since the SDR-H60 is the only one with huge zoom and reasonable price, this seems to be it. I am a total novice, btw.
I'm going to open another thread asking for updates on this seemingly intolerable problem on the May 2007 (ie old, tried & true, legacy, stable) Video Cam Suite software so many people find impossible to work with.