difference, but since all Macintoshes of the last 10 years or so come standard with a Firewire400 port (the only exception being the new Mac Air), then any miniDV tape based camcorder will be good. You will also need a 4-pin to 6-pin firewire (IEEE1394a) cable because they don't come in the box. With the camcorder, in Play/Edit/VCR mode, connected to the computer with the firewire cable, iMovieHD and FinalCut will recognize the camcorder and allow the video to be imported... whether DV or HDV. Video uses lots of hard drive space... ~14 gig per hour of standard definition DV and ~4x more for 1080i high def.
If you choose the Hard drive or Flash memory route, for standard definition, you will likely need to download and install StreamClip to convert that highly compressed video to something more useful.
For Hard drive or Flash memory high definition, that will typically be encoded in AVCHD - and can only be used by the most current iMovieHD or the most current FinalCut. AVCHD, in it's current implementation, has been problematic for many users (whether Macintosh or other operating system) - though many people have had success with it, too. Hard drive or Flash memory camcorders will transfer files using USB (also standard on all Macs for many years). Transfer is faster than importing miniDV tape, but archiving that video will eat up the "saved" time. With miniDV tape, the tape you shot is the archive (do not reuse tapes - store them in a cool-dry place).
Since I see no value in DVD based camcorders, I don't bother researching them.
Since you did not provide a budget...
Low end: Standard definition only: Canon ZR800, ZR900, ZR930. All have a mic-in jack; none have manual audio control. Sony DCR-HC52 and HC62. No mic-in jack; no manual audio control.
Mid: High def and standard def: Canon HV20, HV30, Sony HDR-HC7, HC9. All have a mic-in jacks and manual audio control.
High: Sony HDR-FX1, Canon XHA1, Panasonic HDX200. These are pro or prosumer grade... All have a mic-in jacks and manual audio control among other easy to get to manual controls.
I recently bought an iMac and would like to start using the iMovie software. What is the best camcorder for Mac users to buy? I want to start with basic home movies - baby's first steps, family stuff, etc. - but would like to work up to editing, adding effects, etc. I'm a little confused as to what features are most important for Mac users. I know that FireWire compatibility is an important factor but what else should I be considering? Any specific hardware suggestions?
Thanks in advance for your help.