I played with the baby Sony some more, and I'm really, really unimpressed. There's a lot of noise even when you tweak down the exposure, and especially with HDV that's unacceptable because it creates compression artifacts.
The bigger Sony and the JVC are nice, there's still that nagging feeling that I'm throwing something away with HDV, and the video clips and stills I've downloaded show a ton of instances of that.
The Panasonic HVX200 seems like the only choice. Yeah, it's expensive, but I don't have any objections with it and there is no limitation for any of the use scenarios. The only legitimate problem is that you just can't get the damn thing.
I guess if I really want one, I need to bite the bullet, get on a waiting list, and start saving my pennies.