It’s offical: the end is nearly here for low-end camcorders and even mid-range with mike inputs. The only ones I could find were a Samsung (under $300 – the SCD6550), Panasonic HDCSC1 ($1100), and JVC GZMG555 ($800). There may be more out there. If so, let me know.
The Samsung is a true low-end camera that records to mini-dv tapes.
The Panasonic is a hi-def camera which records to memory cards. For another $300 you can get the more professional looking AGDVC7, which records to mini-dv tapes.
The JVC is a hard disk drive camera which can record up to seven hours of good quality video in mpeg2.
Looks like my summer vacation is going to be spent visiting my local camera store, trying to figure out what direction my school will take re purchases in the future. Much as I like (and am comfortable with) mini-dv format, the times they are a changing and I need to keep up. Despite the proliferation of DVD camcorders, I know I won’t go that way. Hard drives are an interesting option…but need to check for compatibility with the Macs my school uses. Memory cards seem to be where the industry is going – plug in, shoot, pull out, plug into computer and edit. Not too different than tape really. The cost of the cards and amount they can store will be the issue…as well as the Mac compatibility issue.