And during the hitching, I took my camcorder out of its bin (with all of 25-30 hours of use on it), charged the batteries, dusted it off, and gave it to my sister to record the ceremony. When she turned it on, the HUD (Heads-Up Display, the battery meter, time, etc) came up, but showed nothing but black.
So she double-checks the lens cap, and she remembered to take it off... Checks the White Balance, light settings, the whole 9 yards. The CCD is shot. (I found out a few months ago the CCD in this particular model was crap and prone to failure anyway.)
So, now that you have the long, protracted background, here's what I need help with:
I need a new camcorder.
I didn't use the old camcorder very often because I often didn't have tapes (I have 5 leftover from the wedding now, but meh) and it had grainy static when shooting in low light. Add to that that my hands shook more than the anti-shake mechanism in it could correct for, and it was not my finest purchase...
So, I was hoping to let my friends do some product research for me. :P
Here's what I want/need:
- Digital Storage (MiniDV tapes is what I have, HDD is also acceptable, not DVD-R's)
- Firewire or eSATA storage transfer to PC (Mac Compatible greatly preferred)
- Good Shake Reduction OR Shoulder-rest size. (Think VHS or pro-grade size)
- Decent in low-light. (Doesn't have to be amazing, but shouldn't look like 70's BBC productions. :P )
- No mechanism noise in microphone pickup.
- Sub-$500 (If it's REALLY good, I might be able to worm a bit more than that out of my budget)
- New (Obviously, not required)
- External Mic / Light hookups. Powered Mic hookup even better.
- >1 Hour battery life.
- HD (720p + ) resolution
- 16:9 and 4:3 options
- Nightvision, Green or Color
Obviously, I know how to use Google and epinions, so I'm not looking for links to review sites... I'm looking for any first-hand knowledge, any good technical reviews, lists of what features I should be looking for, where to buy/avoid buying from, etc. Keep in mind, the DV camera was an impulse buy (on sale for $150 off, regular $400, I had wanted a camcorder for a while) so the last time I knew what features to look for on a video cam was 1998.