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The only thing you will miss going away from a shoulder mount will be the steadiness. Canon AVCHD’s are good but Sony has better stabilization, thats why I would say the Sony CX500 or XR500 hard drive based. But then again the Canons can do 24p and 30p. Both will kill the SD cameras you have now. And also you didn’t say how much you wanted to spend. And you may also enjoy an HDV cam like the Canon HV40.