My parents are going on a once in a lifetime trip they have been planning for years; it's possible they could go again in the future, but they find it very unlikely; they have asked me to buy them a camcorder, preferably one that is portable. They considered getting one of those small SD card camcorders, but from my experiences those are absolute crap. They refuse to get the prosumer models because they don't want to carry a heavy unit around. I've looked into a few models myself and I find that there are two models that may be good. One is the Panasonic HDC-xxx series and the other a Sony XDR-XRxxx series. I like these two because the former (Panasonic) has rather nice optics while the latter (Sony) has a nice-sized video sensor. Of course I'm really an amateur when it comes to camcorders, so I could only apply simple camera procurement criteria to buying a camcorder (nice optics and/or nice sensor). I would appreciate it if someone could shed some light on which one is the better choice? Maybe another model that is even better? The camcorder needs to the meet most of these criteria at the very least: 1) Ease of use 2) Excellent optics and/or image quality 3) Quality audio quality 4) Portable 5) Ability to work in extreme environments (namely extreme heat and cold, and in altitudes) 6) Good battery life (last a day of shooting on no more than a spare battery or two) 7) HDD/SSD as a storage (I don't see my parents swapping out DVDs, memory cards, DV tapes) 8) Preferred: Chinese language menus 9) Anything else that's important How well it takes pictures does not matter at all; I have a good DSLR for that. Preferably the camcorder can store a lot of video (so at least day of video without deletion). Of course I will be bring external HDDs to back up the video for editing and such later on. The price is less of an issue, but it should be reasonable nonetheless (i.e.: I won't buy a camcorder for $2000 if I can do the same thing on something for $1000). Anyways, thanks in advance!