I bought my SD5 last September for a trip to Nepal & Tibet. I must say this little camcorder survived some of the harshest environments I had ever been in from jungle in the south of Nepal all the way to Everest Advanced Base Camp in Tibet at 21,000 ft. I have a good sampling of low light and bright light (used a UV and/or polarizing lens) video if anyone would like to review before purchasing. I would suggest getting as many 4gb, 8gb or 16gb cards as you can. I only took 6.5 gb total video of my trip. Not much by full hd standards. I wished I had taken more. The camera produces a rich palette of colors and the sound is great also. You do not hear a single motor noise when zooming in and out as on some camcorders.
#1. I dislike the way you have to transfer video to a pc. You cannot just take the SDHC card out and stick it in the computer. The Panasonic HD Writer software will not recognize it. The manual even says it may corrupt the files if you use Windows Explorer to manipulate the files.
To transfer video you must take the batttery out of the camcorder, plug the AC adapter into an outlet and into the camcorder, then insert the USB cable into the computer and camcorder. Finally you start the Panasonic HD Writer software. Whew!
I have found through trial and error that using Pinnacle Studio 11 with AVCHD support you can just copy the video files directly from the SDHC card into a Windows directory for editing BUT you cannot copy the files back onto the card for viewing through the SD5. The camera will not recognize the files.
#2 - The camcorder photo taking feature is not all that great. In fact it looks pretty darn terrible in low light but only ok in bright light.
Overall, I would give this little camera a 8.9 out of 10. Panasonic just needs to get rid of the messy cable hookups and it goes up to a 10 in my book. I know some people complain about lack of software but there are several programs out there that support AVCHD. The Panasonic HD Writer software was meant for basic editing and not much more. I give Pinnacle Studio a thumbs up as I can save my video in just about any format or size. I even made videos for my Iphone!