a bit deeper research would be useful.
According to the manual on the Sony DCR-HC28, page 44, it does do 16:9 and 4:3...
Download and check for yourself...
I expect the HC38 to do the same. Both the HC28 and 38 have 20x zoom (disregard digital zoom numbers - that should be turned off when you get the camcorder, anyway). They both have that funky night shot monochomatic no-light feature.
The Canon MD120 and 160 do 35x optical zoom. They use an LED for a "nite shot" that might work if the subject is within 2 feet of the light (and the camera) - so consider this "feature" useless.
For that matter, I expect the Panasonic to do 16:9 and 4:3 both as well - and does 30x zoom. This has a similar useless LED...
I would suggest the Canons and understanding the differences between them to make your decision + a 3rd party external video light (like the inexpensive ones from SIMA... mounted to a little camera bracket). The zoom range got my attention... too bad none of these has a mic-in jack...
Since transferring video from miniDV tape based camcorders to your computer (for editing) will need a Firewire cable connected to the DV port on the camcorder and a Firewire port on the computer... well, do you have a Firewire port on your computer (USB is used only for transferring stills from the memory card if the camcorder is so equipped).
I am in the market looking for a basic entry level miniDV camcorder. I need a camcorder for family gathering, birthday, etc. Having done some googling, i have narrowed down my options to:
They are all in the range of prices that fit my budget. Which one would you recommend? Both Canon support 16:9 format while the rest don't.
I also welcome any other suggestion (brand/model) if you know something better than those. Thank you very much for your info.