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Hi Pete,

electronic IS on the new camcorders are decent because their video sensor is actually larger than 2MP so there is no reduced-resolution when you activate the EIS.

OIS on a smaller camcorder is also decent but with any OIS, the lesser the mass, the less effective the OIS will become.

I personally wouldn't touch any HD camcorder below $500 due to its optical quality. My rule of thumb in getting an HD camcorder:

1. get the largest lens diameter possible (to allow in more light and better OIS)
2. get the largest sensor you can afford (for MUCH better low-light performance)

I used to be a huge proponent of Canon camcorders, but the latest batch of Sony''s $1000+ camcorders (the one with manual focus dial on the bottom left corner of the lens) is better in low-light than any Canon camcorders of the same price range.
 
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