The DCR-PJ5 has one of the bigger optical zooms (57 times zoom factor) amongst camcorders of this age. The optical zooms of small total megapixels video cameras that were launched more than two years ago range from 10x to 78x, and the average optical zoom is 30x.
We compared all the other 57x (optical) video cameras to this camcorder and we think the Sony DCR-SR21 which has better reviews is also worth considering.
If this camcorder optical zoom is not big enough for you then you might want to consider the HC-V510 (62x and higher rated), the HC-V10 (63x and higher rated), or the SDR-S70 (70x and higher rated) all from Panasonic.
What does "optical zoom" mean?