I was previously using a Panasonic HDC-SD1 1440X1080 with a 12X zoom that I bought for about $1,200 when I bought it 6-years ago. It just broke and I'm looking for an inexpensive camera for doing simple web video blogging. I would consider just using my phone, though I want a zoom. I'm now looking at a Canon Vixia hfr400 1920X1080 with a 53X zoom for about $199.
It has obviously been a while since I bought the other camera and prices have come down and technology has changed. What I'm curious about, is what to look for in specs to determine how one camera compares with another. Are there some specific things I could look at? Is the image quality of this new Canon better than the Panasonic? Would I be better off getting a used Panasonic of the same model.
http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews is a good place to go, often with test files for reviewed cameras... including video
If you can find a "raw" video file (one that has not been edited, and is just the way it came out of the camera) to download, you will be able to see how the video from any specific camera will work for you, on your system