The main reason I moved from a the Sanyo HD2000 to the Sony XR350E is to see how much better the Optical Image Stabilisation is in the Sony compared to the Sanyo. I suppose the IS in the Sanyo is almost non-existent so any other camcorder would be better. What more, the new Sony range claims to have the latest Optical Steadyshot Active Mode that is supposed to be better than their previous models. This will reduce shakes even when walking and zooming the same time. How does it fare in real life?
Well below is a short clip taken in Hamelin during my holiday in Germany. This was taken using one hand holding the camcorder above the head while walking and moving later down to eye-level. It sure beats the Sanyo hands down.
What about stabilisation at full zoom? Below is a clip of a bird feeding at some flowers taken at full zoom in the field outside my house. This time I think I used two hands and the stabilisation is great even at full zoom.
The lighting and thus the colour isn't that good (as compared to the above video) since I was shooting at the bright sky and the plant is in the shade. You'll see purple fringing on the leaves as well which is pretty common for lens at full zoom. You can also hear dog barking as the mic is quite sensitive and I did not set the mic to zoom mode. Sony should make this a default setting. To get a slow smooth zoom, you should use the button on the touch screen; if you use the toggle switch on the camcorder body, it may be jerky depending on how hard you press the button.
Just note that this optical steadyshot active mode is only available in the 350 and 550 ranges as the 150 range uses not optical but electronic image stabilisation but is still better than the Sanyo from what I have seen on Youtube.
I will check later if I can find a clip that is shot while walking and zooming at the same time but in any case, the OIS works.