tape assumption is correct.
You have the Canon ZR960, Sony DCR-HC52, Panasonic PV-GS320 standard definition units from which to choose.
For fast action, when recording video, increase the shutter speed to get less blurry frame-grabs.
You will also want some sort of steadying device (tripod, shoulder mount - like a SpiderBrace, etc.). Do not shoot handheld.
Learn to use the White Balance. And use it.
Get an optional high capacity rechargeable battery from the camcorder manufacturer. None come with a good battery life in the box.
Your computer will need a firewire port to import the video from the tape. IEEE1394, DV, Firewire and i.LINK are all the same thing. USB won't work - USB-to-firewire cable/adapter/converter things won't work.
I am wanting to purchase a camcorder. I have very little knowledge about camcorders. The last camcorder I had was a RCA Auto Shoot, a huge beast that has out lived its days. I am looking for a camcorder to record my teen son's football, basketball games, vacation trips and if possible extract still photos from the video, again if that's possible. If not, I can get a camera for still photos. With the camcorder I would like for it to be able to zoom in enough to actually see the players on the football field. Basketball games shouldn't be an issue because the seating is closer to the action. My understanding is MiniDV is the way to go but again I have know idea if that is correct. Budget for a camcorder is around $500. Please give me your recommendations. Thanks.