Before I start, this is NOT simply a cheap-as-chips HD camcorder. If you just want something with HD scribbled on the side for £200, this is not for you.
However, if you're after a genuinely high quality camera capable of keeping up with most semi-pro kits, this might just be for you.
So, why this and not a Sony in Comet for the same price?
1) Like the HV20, 30 and 40 that Canon also produce, this is a budget short-film maker's dream. The image quality is superb, it's got an external mic input, and comes with Canon's brilliant 25p video mode.
2) It gets fantastic reviews. Here's one from TrustedReviews that gives it 10/10 for image quality: http://www.trustedreviews.com/camcorders/review/2008/11/06/Canon-HG20/p1
3) It's not in production anymore, and so is particularly tricky to find outside of fleabay. Play.com currently have it via one of their marketplace sellers for £599.
4) This has a larger sensor than the Sony, and a slightly better zoom.
Anyway, as I say it's not going to be to everyone's requirements. But for those who are after a camcorder that's genuinely capable as a film-making tool and can't stretch to over £500, it's a superb offer.
NOTE: It's a good idea to ask to see the camera before you pay (via customer services). I reserved and paid for one at Leeds Crown Point, and then discovered an HG10 had appeared from the back as 'a substitute'. So I rejected it and popped down the road to White Rose where I was given an HG20. Just bear that in mind - I might have just been unlucky the first time, but still.
Anyway, think that's everything. I have one in my possession so feel free to ask questions :)