from B&H Photo and Video for $1,845 including a $250 rebate. It's available used on Amazon for as low as $1,400.
I have a 5-year-old Canon Optura PI that needs replacement due to a repetitive tape deck problem (likely due at least in part to wear and tear from our use).
I have decided I want a Canon, and prefer the miniDV format for quality and long-term storage. But, it seems their higher-end family camcorders no longer exist (I am willing to pay $1000-1500, but not into the range of the more professional video cameras). The Optura 600 seemed close to what I wanted, but it's apparently discontinued and not available anywhere. The older Optura XI and S1 both have good reviews, too, but are not available and discontinued. I am a fan of the Optura line, and never thought my parents' ZR camcorder, even though newer, took better quality video. According to review, the Elura 100 doesn't seem to do well enough in low light situations, but maybe the difference is not as big to the average user?
From what I can tell, Canon just came out with 3 new camcorders and none are in the miniDV format. I have 2 kids and another on the way and am having a difficult time being without a camera. Is there anyway to tell whether Canon will be issuing a better quality miniDV camcorder to replace the Optura 600 product in the near future? If I jump ship and go with a different brand, are there any comparable products you would recommend?
My most important features are the highest quality video and audio (a large single CCD chip would be ideal), miniDV format, very good quality image stabilization & widescreen capability. Reasonably good low light performance is important for indoor use with the kids. I am satisfied with a 10X optical zoom as my ability to chase kids and keep the footage steady at any greater zoom is unlikely. My concerns with the current offering of Canon miniDV format camcorders include poorer performance in low light situations, smaller CCD chips, and lower quality color & video.
Any input would be greatly appreciated!