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Help with picking a semi-pro camcorder

Hi i work for a press agency as a photographer but we're looking into getting camcorders for our reporters.

I'm pretty new to video but we're looking for something that

-can produce video quality good enough to air on TV
-can take decent resolution pictures
-compatible with mac os and windows
-quite small to be carried around in a bag

Not looking for the most expensive top of the range as the reporters will only get confused with it and possible lose it so a happy medium would be good. If anyone can tell me what important specs i should be looking at and any models they might have in mind then any advice would be much appreciated, thanks.

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budget?

read through the camcorder forum sticky. The same principles apply to pro-sumer camcorders.

Likely best bet will be miniDV tape based machines. Windows computers may need firewire ports added.

External mics need to be researched.

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Mini DV vs HArd Drives

How would you describe the difference in quality of mini DV to that of the latest direct to hard drive format? In your opinion, which is better?

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