been a while since I got mine. I remember camera, battery and charger and manual. I ordered a 32 mb sd card and recommend getting that. I also ordered the after market battery set which includes two extra long lasting batteries. I took this setup on the Grand Canyon river trip and was extremely impressed with photo quality.
I quit using the standard battery about a week after I got this camera. Why? I bought an OPTEKA NP-FV70 BATTERY PACK. Actually, I bought 2 but only really needed 1 as it turns out. Yes, I am endorsing this OPTEKA product. This is a 8.4v 2500mAh battery. I always charge it on the camera itself. I do not ever endorse charging on a car charger, and that includes cellphones. Car chargers, in my experience, charge the batteries too quickly and get the batteries too hot, and excessive heat is one of the worst enemies of batteries. If I must charge in a car, I actually bought a power inverter, and I plug in the home charger to that, and that is, in my experience, a better way. Anyway, you asked about the battery life: The standard battery that comes with the camera should last you at least 30 minutes, and it could last you up to the 1.5 hours that coyote quoted. I seriously doubt you can get 3 hours on the standard battery, as the standard battery is much smaller than the one I mentioned, but I have not tried it. I put in an Amazon 32GB memory card, which is why I bought the 2500 mAh battery. I record on the highest resolution. I can get 3+ hours of HD recording on the memory card, and 3+ hours of life from this bigger battery. I have done a lot of video while deer hunting and videoed my stepsons wrestling matches, and the camera and battery have performed flawlessly so far. So, to recap, I am plugging this camera, that battery, and the Amazon SD class 10 memory card. You might also consider buying an external SD card reader. I have an older Dell, and the built-in card reader does not like to read cards, so I just bought a USB reader, and it works fine. You can also just leave the card in the camera and download directly from the camera to your computer. A couple other things to consider are a tripod or a mono-pod and a nylon case. I bought everything here on Amazon. For this type of equipment, you really can get a 1-stop shopping spree.
I bought myself a16GB sdcard and did not have any problem recording Birthday party for 30 minutes(may be more). You can buiy a 32GB if you need more space. It is pretty good in my experience. You can watch the screen symbol (the one you get as soon as you turn on REC button) every now and then to make sure it is recording. HT helps.
You can import videos directly to your computer if they are in the standard format only. If you wish to import viedos in the HD format, you will need the proper CODEC to do so. Sony Play Memories software includes this CODEC. In my case, I used this software from Sony to import and view HD videos in my laptop. The thing is, in my case, I could not get Play Memories software to run under Windows Vista. I had to resort to using Windows XP. I hope this helps you. Good luck!
The camera comes with a small memory card and lower capacity battery. Search for one of the accessory "packages" that have additional batteries, larger memory card, and charger. Not required but certainly useful. The 32 GB cards are capable of a lot more video than I though they were. This is a nice handy camera. May be why they call it a handycam. I've enjoyed using mine. Good luck.
The camera has computerized programming. It will divide lengthy video into 2 mg clips automatically. This particular camera is so difficult to figure out and fix as it is not an Apple@. I bought my camera for the purpose of taking lengthy video. It has stumped me and seems to have a mind of its own. Have you tried to transport video clips from the camera to your macbook? That's a nightmare!