It depends on what type of environment you shoot in. If you are mainly outdoors, go with one of the 3ccd, if you do any indoors, I would avoid them. (I assume you are talking about the 3ccd camcorders under $1000) If you want a very good 3ccd camcorder, you have spend about $2000 on a GL2 or VX2100. In my experience, a larger ccd has proven to perform better in indoor conditions than a 3ccd with smaller ccd's. I have a Sony with 1 ccd 1/3.4" and I think it performs well inside or outside. I have tried many, many other brands and never been as satisfied.
In trying to optimize picture quality, is one generally better to purchase a camcorder with a larger size (ie. 1/3") single CCD chip, or will a 3 CCD camcorder with smaller size chips provide better picture quality? I hope this question makes sense. I ask because in certain of the reviews it seems that single chip camcorders sometimes offer higher picture quality ratings than 3 CCD camcorders do - which confuses me somewhat. Thanks in advance for your response.