I've been out shooting footage for LowLifes using my Sony HDR-XR500 - all handheld, in bright sunlight and night time.
I have to say I love the camera. It's very easy to use, easy to switch from auto to manual focus (which is the thing I do most often) and so quick to pop out the memory card and transfer the rushes to the computer.The picture quality is really nice.
The one thing that's a pain in the neck is the AVCHD files because although they're nice and small, that file compression plays havoc with Premiere and After Effects. It "works" but it's slow and troublesome. It's been acceptable for friend's wedding videos and my travelogs but now I'm doing proper work I needed a better solution.
To cut a long story short, here's the workflow:
(a) download/buy the CineForm NeoScene
(b) download TexRep
(c) Use cineform to convert all .m2ts files into .avi
(d) I'd already started editing in Premiere with the native AVCHD files so I had to replace them with the .avi files. Use TexRep to do a search and replace and swap ".m2ts" for "avi" - works perfectly!