When you buy over the internet, you can get some very attractive deals. Then again, those deals could be scams just waiting to take your money. You must be very careful which company you buy things from online. I have heard many horror stories from people who bought an item and either never received it or it was broken, etc. If you feel safer purchasing it from a retail store or a place where you can actually have it in your hands once you buy it, go ahead. If you are looking at any particular website to buy from, check to see that they have a physical address (street, city, etc.) which 'usually' means they are a legit company. Before buying, check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)(www.bbb.org) to see how the company fared in their customer satisfaction.
Now to the camcorders, I assume you will have a computer like you said on which you can empty your recorded video once (and if) the camcorder's hard drive fills up? That way you can keep on shooting. I would highly recommend to stay away from JVC's line of Hard Disk Drive (HDD) camcorders. They have not done well in video quality and the format of the videos are in .mod which is a very difficult file extension to edit on the computer. Perhaps, a Sony might fit your needs a bit better. I would either recommend the Sony DCR-SR52E or the DCR-SR72E.
DCR-SR52E: 1MP CCD sensor, 25x optical zoom, 30GB HDD---Price not yet set
DCR-SR72E: 1MP CCD sensor, 25x optical zoom, 60GB HDD---550 GBP
I think the SR52E will be much closer to your price range. The only main difference between the two listed is their HDD capacity. About 7 hours of video can be stored on the SR52E or about 13 hours on the SR72E. There is also a DCR-SR32E, but I wouldn't recommend it because the video quality is not nearly as good as on the other two listed above.
About megapixels in camcorders: Basically, a video is a series of still frames stitched together to form a moving image, correct? Many electronics have a limit on how much can pass through their "brain"(processor) at any given time. If we tried to pass 5MP video through the "brain" of a camcorder, it would be way to much data for the camcorder to handle. That is why standard definition video is less than a megapixel per each frame of the video. High definition on the other hand is about 2MP per each frame of the video. Here is why we can't compare a still camera to a camcorder because still cameras which can take 5-10MP stills only take one or two at a time, whereas, a camcorder which can take .3MP stills will take 60 per second. At the moment, all electronics have their limits and we will probably never be limitless.
I'm glad I've found this forum. I'm all confused looking aroung at camcorders. I'm due t ogo on holiday to Bangkok and Singapore in April and would like to get a camcorder for our holiday footage. I did think about buying in singapore, but I thought with the internet now, It may be just as cheap to buy at home (UK) - Is this right?
Anyway, I have looked at mini-dv in the past, but I have now pretty much decided to go for hard drive version instead and I will edit and burn from my PC.
I have looked at the JVC range mainly - the GZ-MG57EK looking quite good to me. Then again, what do I know! I'm not really bothered about a top of the range as my budget has limited me. I'm looking at spending between