Consumer (1/8" mic jack and manual audio control):
standard and high definition: Canon HV30; Sony HDR-HC9.
Prosumer (add easy to access manual audio controls on the outside of the camcorder):
standard definition: Canon GL2; Sony DCR-VX2100
standard and high definition: Sony HDR-FX1000
Pro (add XLR audio in and additional firmware):
standard definition: Canon XL2; Panasonic DVX100B
Canon XHA1; Sony HVR-Z1U, Z5U; Panasonic HVX200
All are miniDV tape based (except the Panasonic HVX200 - P2 cards). You computer needs a firewire port.
Additional shopping list items:
Fluid head tripod (Bogen-Manfrotto, Libec)
Shotgun mic (Sennheiser, Audio Technica)
High capacity rechargeable battery (from the camcorder manufacturer)
sturdy case (Pelican or SKB)
If you go with a camcorder with 1/8" jacks, you will probably want a XLR adapter. Check juicedLink and BeachTek.
External hard drive (minimum 500 gig) just for the video project files.
And BEFORE you buy anything, check with the school.
Can anyone give me a good list of HD cams for a film student?