Hi, just thought i'd like to share my opinions on a matter which i find lot's of people are becoming misguided about.
I've been using Premiere Pro (CS3) and Vegas Pro 8 quite a bit recently to see which I'd like to stick with as my main production suite.
First of all, Vegas...
I was originally planning using Premiere all along when i was getting my video editing PC set up, i obviously knew i couldn't use Final cut as i wanted to stick to a Windows system, and i hardly knew about the other options.
However, i was given the opportunity to try out Sony Vegas Pro 8, and to be honest, at first i was a little skeptical, as to me it sounded more like a home use program they chuck in with their camera's for basic use. I've found lots of other people view Vegas (who haven't used it) as a basic tool, that's not up to the job for any professional or intense video work. I'll start by saying this view is rubbish. Within the first few hours of using Vegas, i found it to be incredibly powerful, simple to use and versatile.
The layout and time line controls are placed and thought about in a very practical way, you can see Sony have designed the software to work in the way your brain and hands want to work, rather than to make it look nice. So yes, the customizable and intuitive UI does mean Vegas doesn't look pro at all, infact, it looks as though it was designed about 8 years ago, however, I've grown to like the grown-up look.
There are a really great array of effects (both Sony and 3rd party) which are very powerful and customizable, i haven't yet found a situation where i can't get a certain effect to give me a certain visual look... they are great!
Keyframing in Vegas is simple, i'd say the easiest to learn out of the 3 programs, although some work still needs to be done, keyframing isn't scary at all in Vegas. Oh, and the titler tool..'ProType' is awesome! By far the best titler out of them, it's incredibly easy and quick to make a classy and original look.
One area in Vegas that surprised me was the audio capabilities, with Apple being big in the audio game with Logic, and Premiere's audio workspace always being pretty decent, i was pleasantly surprised to find Sony have included the most comprehensive and powerful audio workstation in Vegas out of them all. A huge array of effects and recording capabilities make audio a pleasure to edit, and to be honest, i'm struggling to see any major drawback in terms of audio editing and recording Vegas has compared to say Cubase... Vegas can even do simultaneous tracking, which i was very surprised at.
Vegas is very responsive, it's all realtime...all the tools are snappy and never seem to lag. The playback (highly customizable by the way) can lag with big HDV files, but with the option to very quickly change the quality at which Vegas previews the video, it's fixable within a click of a button!
There's plenty of import and export options, and the overall render is very good quality (too good in some cases!).
Another advantage of using Vegas is the fact that you can work in 32-bit colour, which as far as i'm aware, Prem' CS3 and FCP can't.
Overall, Vegas is highly underrated, it's powerful, fast, intuitive, easy to use yet can do pretty much anything you'd want it to. Oh, and it's quite a bit cheaper than Premiere, why.. i do not know.
Now, Premiere Pro.
When i finally got my chance to try Premiere, i was prepared to say goodbye to Vegas, even then i still thought Premiere was somehow going to be much more 'pro' than Sony's creation, but after about a halfhour with Premiere, i changed my mind.
First impressions are that Premier isn't so nice to use as Vegas, even on a large monitor it's just too crowded, everything is piled around the timeline, where as Vegas arranges everything above the time-line to leave you plenty of workspace. The premiere time line is just too small for me.
Effects in premiere are very good, plenty of them there too, can't complain there. However, the title tool in Premiere is just not as good as the great ProType titler in Vegas.
Premiere is very powerful, no doubt about it, and the basic controls and keyboard short cuts make sense, although doing certain tasks do take more time and effort than it would in Vegas (such as motion effects)
One thing that put me off Premiere is that it's just not as responsive as Vegas for me, applying tools or just pressing play slightly lag's, which is much more irritating that it sounds. I'm not sure if it's due to my system being too slow, it's a quad-core with plenty of ram, but that doesn't change the fact that that Vegas is perfectly quick on my system.
Audio in Premiere i found pretty simple compared to Vegas, no buses for example... and as far as recording audio, Vegas win's that hand as well, as the interface for it all is pretty confusing, whereas Vegas works in a similar way to Cubase or Logic and the like.
Overall i find Premiere a powerful and versatile editing tool, i'd be happy to use it, however, after using Vegas... i don't see why i should.
Vegas for me is more responsive, is easier to use, is faster to perform more complicated tasks and requires less effort for the user.
Vegas certainly is as good as Premiere, and anyone ignoring it as they believe it's not 'pro' enough should just download the free trial from Sony and see that it really deserves more praise than it gets!