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Consumer camcorder mainly for interviews, good DOF

I'm starting a business and plan to record a few interviews. Typically, an expert in front of a camera giving advice, but also the occasional one-on-one interview.

In particular, I'd love something with great depth-of-field capabilities to show the subject in focus but the background blurred (a nice way to make it look half-decent).

I've been researching options and I've learnt a lot already, but I've never bought a camcorder and I'd love some advice.

Requirements...

Budget: $900 / 700 UK pounds at most, preferably half
Format: flash disks or internal hard disk
HD: yes
Features: good quality video, good DOF facilities
Audio: not an issue (I'm a musician and have good microphones)
Brands: Sony, Canon or Panasonic preferably
NOT required: good in low light, good out doors, GPS, face recognition

Having looked at a lot of models online, the best I've found so far seems to be the Panasonic SD700 - partly because of its focus ring. Equivalent of about $800 in the UK so it's top end of budget. But do I need something that good?!

Can anyone suggest some suitable models?

Can I achieve good DOF without a manual focus ring?

Might lower-end models be ok with some decent lighting?

Thanks for any suggestions and tips.
Tom

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