Sheer timing and luck put us in a position to order right at the time this new Panasonic shoulder mount flash memory camcorder hit the market. Perfect for a media production class, either high school or college. It is light, relatively inexpensive for a big camcorder and the video is stunning. There is an external mic jack in the front - just a mini plug but that's all we need. If you are a media educator, you know that equipment can take a beating from students, just because 100 students handle the camcorders every day. That's asking a lot of any technology. So far, the results with this camcorder have been spectacular. Our editing towers have the flash memory port so they take it out of the camcorder, plug it in, move the footage and they are editing. Make sure you buy at least a 16GB memory card. Otherwise you will be cleaning memory cards daily. Luckily Premiere Pro CS5 accepts any format and handles HD very well so we are exceptionally pleased with our purchase.