If low light is an issue, then look into black/white CCTV type cameras since such operate far below color cameras. Lenses are available and the recorder and be almost anything from a camcorder with analog input capability to just a VCR. As to the microphone, it's amazing how some parabolic toy microphone from radio shack works so well and is so cheap.
OK, now that I have decided to buy a new Camcorder, would anyone care to offer some advice on which one I need? I need to be able to record some pretty bizzare behavior going on at a cottage that is being rented out beside ours. Zoom lens a must (200-300 ft) and it would be nice to have a good microphone for sound. There could be times when low light recording would be important. Something that would be a plus but not necessary would be the ability to set it up on a tripod, and turn it on and off with a remote control. Now, with all of that said, do you think there are some options out there, or would I be better off with some kind of security camera setup?