Get the largest lens diameter and imaging chip size you can afford. I think in the range you're looking 58mm lens filter diameter and 1/3 inch single imaging chip are typical. These two items (larger is better) will help with the low-light and poor-light environments you describe. You will have much better results if you add light, but sometimes that is not possible. Add the appropriate Canon Legria HF M or HF S model to your list.
Professionals do not regularly upgrade, either - many news stations continue to use Beta tape equipment and will continue to do so until the equipment costs more to repair than replace.
Humans were not built to be steady. While camcorder stabilization (optical or electronic) can help, nothing beats a tripod... or desk, or shelf or chair. Plus it allows YOU to get into the shot.
Video resolution is measured using horizontal row count. 480 rows = standard definition. 720 and 1080 are high definition. Pixels - specifically, megapixels - are used for still image resolution. For video, in addition to the rows, the amount of compression used when capturing or storing the video ) will dictate the video quality. Always capture in "highest available quality". You can always compress the video and reduce the quality later (and still be "high definition video), but if you start at low quality and high compression, you cannot get that lost data back.
Some people like the viewfinder (it can provide better focusing capabilities than the LCD screen), but many people find the LCD panel more convenient (until they discover the focus issue). In my opinion: The Sony projector cams have a feature lots of people will not use - the projector. Assuming this is the case, what, exactly are you getting a camcorder with a projector for?
Unrelated but related: How are you planning to store the video? Do you have LARGE hard drives connected to your computer or home network to store the video captured by the camcorder? What are your plans for editing? What happens when the computer with the video crashes? The camcorder manufacturers have not provided cost effective processes for long-term storage of video captured by today's flash memory camcorders, so you need to be you own computer network manager... There are solutions, but they all have a price...
I have a few questions about camcorders.
I'm looking for a good camcorder to capture nice moments in my life. Not everything stays the same, and of some scenes and persons I'd like to have a good memory for the rest of my life. My parents had (and still have) an old Chinon video camera and the video's taken by that are very precious possession. But new generation, new camera, especially because the old one can't be replaced/repaired and is necessary to play the old recordings.
I already discovered that a decent camcorder is a bit more expensive than a camera for photos and that the world of camcorders is a bit more daunting. My budget is around (less than) €1.000 ($1.300, £860). I'm an amateur and I'm not planning to buy a new one every few years, so I like a decent one now. I want to film both in outdoor as indoor situations. Most scenes I will film (especially in the first few years) are memories I want to retain, so quality of image is important. I'll also take the cam on holidays and it shouldn't be too big of a hassle.
These two cams looked good to me: Panasonic HC-X920 (around €850) and Sony PJ650 VE (around €920). From these two, which will be the best buy? The PJ650 has an extra sunscreen (not so good for portability) but has an interesting (=? superior) stabilization system (at least, they told me in the shop). The 650 has more pixels in one chip, while the X920 spreads it over three. What does that mean in terms of resolution and image size? The lenses seem to be similar... I can also obtain a Sony CX 960E, is that any good? How does this compare to the other two? Are there alternatives to these camera's? And a similar cam without the viewfinder, is that an option? Just how important is a viewfinder when you have an LCD? The Panasonic HC-V720 looks like a good cam too (on first glance; less pixel but a better lens?), only half the price of an X920, but without viewfinder.
Thank you in advance for the help.