The camera is a Sony HDR-PJ260VE which cost me about $500 - I chose it because of its picture quality having looked at quite a few comparison videos.
The zoom is very good and optical quality too. All of these shots were handheld - I would do much more with a tripod if I had to do it again, but it was my first ever outing with the camera so I was trying out its capabilities. There are many menu settings but I think the balance is about right between video quality and time I can record, as well as audio options. It even has GPS built in and a projector so you can quickly preview in a darkened room.