Since you did not tell us what you want to capture to video and where you might be, the I'll go with an elimination process.
Internal hard drives drop off because of known vibration and altitude issues. Flash memory typically saves to the same formats HDD drives do, so stay with flash if necessary. Drop the HG-21 and HDC-HS100.
"Semi-pro" or "prosumer" closer to the consumer side should go away. Drop the HVR-HD1000U, HVR-A1U (small lenses/chips). For those remaining, the 1/8" mic jacks might need to be augmented using an XLR adapter like those from BeachTek and juicedLink.
High Definition cams can do both HD and Standard def. Suggest staying in the HD environment to have flexibility. Drop the XL2, GL2 and VX2100. Is HD necessary? No. Is that where video is going? Yes. Getting a HD cam allows you to go either way. Even then, you could record HD and release in SD. Most of the TV stations I've recently worked with preferred HD on miniDV tape - though one wanted 4:3 standard def.
Some are way outside your budget. Drop the HVX200.
Personally, I would drop anything that uses a LOT of compression as the first step - in this case, AVCHD. OK for final step - bad idea for first step. Drop the HMC70 and HMC150. If the file type were less compressed (DV and HDV) like the Panasonic P2 card cams do, then that is fine - but the HVX200 already dropped due to price.
The "short list" now is:
Sony Handycam HDR-FX7 (the prosumer version of the Pro Sony HVR-V1U)
Sony HDR-FX1000 (an upgraded HDR-FX1 which is the sibling of the pro HVR-Z1U)
Canon XH A1
You did not tell us which mics... Stereo? shotgun? Clip-on lavaliere? Multiples? You did not tell us how portable this needs to be.
To cover all bases, http://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-EW100ENG-Wireless-Lavalier-Microphone/dp/B0007IOYF2/ref=pd_bbs_sr_5?ie=UTF8&s=musical-instruments&qid=1223835734&sr=8-5
is most flexible and is very high quality. The base station can mount to the camera and is battery powered (as are the body pack for the lav and the plug-on transmitter can connect to any XLR-based mic. With the 1/8" cable to the base station, an XLR adapter is not necessary - but will provide better manual audio control than the camcorder's alone.
For miniDV tape based camcorders, you will also need an inexpensive firewire 400 cable to connect the camcorder's DV port to the firewire400 port on the Mac.
Video lights can be fun... NRG Research or Bescor + a battery belt pack. You will also want a good sturdy tripod (Bogen-Manfrotto), sturdy case (Pelican 1600 or two 1500s). A SpiderBrace turns a non-shoulder mount camcorder into a shoulder mount. LANC is very handy.
Hello CNETers. I need some camcorder-buying help from those of you who know much more than me. The company I work for has asked me to select a new camcorder (plus small light kit, microphone, etc.), but the budget they're giving me is making this a difficult decision. They've budgeted $2500 for the camera (I'm going to TRY to get it up to $3500). Most of the videos I'll be producing will be for the web only, but we need the option of delivering the video to broadcast-news outlets or on DVDs. We're using a new iMac with the latest Final Cut Studio to edit.
I'd love to go with HD, but is it really necessary? If so, what format?
My boss would like to go with a hard-drive or flash-card based camcorder, but is this the best choice for our budget? I'm used to MiniDV, but solid-state could make things simpler.
Is it justifiable try to squeeze more money out from them and get a prosumer camcorder like the Canon GL-2 or XH A1, or would we be better off getting a high-end consumer camera like the Canon VIXIA HG21, which is HD plus tape-free.
These are the cameras I'm looking at. Some of them push our budget to the limits:
Sony Handycam HDR-FX7
Canon XH A1
Sony Handycam DCR-VX2100
Canon VIXIA HG21
Thanks for your help, expertise, and advice!!!