Yeah, so it's probably obvious that I've been spending my leisure time this weekend researching cameras. One of the conflicts is that I have two different sets of needs when it comes to the equipment. On one hand, I need something to document life's little moments. On the other hand, I need something professional grade that's going to meet a number of needs, including independent film making and for-hire work.
So with that, here's the roundup...
Sony HDR-HC1: $1,500
Pros: Inexpensive, small.
Cons: It's HDV, 1080i only, single CMOS censor, not suitable for pro work. Inadequate manual control.
Sony HDR-FX1: $3,100
Pros: I nearly forgot about this model, but it has major manual controls with actual dials and buttons, not menus. 3 CCD's for reasonable price.
Cons: HDV, 1080i only, no XLR audio.
JVC GY-HD100U: $5,200
Pros: A real, actual Fujinon lens! Shoulder mounted camera, XLR audio, looks kick ass, does 720/24p. Good price for having real glass. Has a $1k battery package free through the end of the month.
Cons: Still HDV, even if it is a different flavor. Not quite 1080/24p. Not vacation material at all. A little expensive.
Panasonic HVX200: $6,000 (plus $2,800 for 16 gigs of storage)
Pros: It's what I really want, does 1080/24p like Star Wars, DVCPRO, DVCPRO 50, DVCPRO HD, DV at 480/30p, tapeless, XLR audio... it does it all.
Cons: It's expensive, it's hard to acquire.