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Looking for a camcorder with these specs

I use a MacBook Pro and pretty much everything I record will be edited in iMovie. My understanding is that a miniDV camcorder is best compatible with macs, so I have been looking for miniDV camcorder. My budget is less than $500, but I will most likely be buying from eBay, so if it goes over that price a little bit, it should be okay.

I do not want a touchscreen, so I haven't been looking at Sony. I want to be able to take stills and I'd like to have a mic input as well as a headphone output or built in speaker. I'd like to have good video quality with O.I.S. and decent night shooting. I'd also like at least 18x optical zoom.

Any ideas?

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Um... a few suggestions

In reply to: Looking for a camcorder with these specs

Canon ZR800, ZR900, ZR930. They have audio-in, but no manual audio control.

If you are really doing eBay, the Panasonic PV-GS500 or PV-GS400 are really good and I *think* meet all your requirements.

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reply to suggestions

In reply to: Um... a few suggestions

I did look at the PV-GS400 and 500 models, but the optical zoom isn't that great.

I was looking at the Canon ZR 900 and 930, but they don't have the ability for stills, and the 800 has poor low light shooting.

If I had to forfeit one of my desired aspects of the camera, it would be the ability to take stills. In that case, it looks to me like the Canon ZR930 would be best.

I'm still open to suggestions before I go out and buy it though.

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The PV-GS400 and 500

In reply to: reply to suggestions

may not have great zoom, but - and you REALLY want to check all this by downloading their manuals from's support area - I *think* they have a mic jack and manual audio control. And... I *think* you can add a 2x tele lens... and I *think* they have a headphone jack... but, the ZR930 is a fine camcorder...

Regardless of the camcorder you decide, ALL miniDV tape based rigs use firewire for transfer, so you'll also be needing a 4-pin to 6-pin Firewire cable (they are generally not included in the box with the camcorder). This will connect the camcorder's DV port (4-pin) to your Mac's firewire400 port (6-pin).

Good luck!!!

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