As long as MiniDV (digital tape) is cheap, stores using the least amount of compression which means best available video quality, and has a good long shelf life, it will be around.
Internal hard drive based camcorders (with the exception of some JVC cameras) store to highly compressed MPEG2 (or AVCHD for high def) video. Compressing video means losing data and lost data means reduced video quality. And the archive"extra step" for them makes little sense and takes the time you thought you saved transferring copying the video.
MiniDV tape IS the archive - so there is no extra step to make an archive.
The PV-GS320 is a good camera... but it would not make my short list because it does not have a mic-in jack. There aren't very many that do in that price range... The Canon ZR950 and ZR800 come to mind. The Panasonic PV-GS500 - if you can find one. Add manual audio control, and you start at the Sony HDR-HC7, HC9 or Canon HV20 or HV30.
Take the clue from the pros...
With the exception of the P2 cards Panasonic uses (and the HSC1U which is in the pro line because of $ not functionality) and the external hard drives (which require a miniDV tape based camcorder), tape will be around for many years...
I've searched over the forums to try to find the answer to my question before I posted another redundant question. Sorry if this has been asked too many times before.
I've been researching purchasing a new camcorder. I've finally settled on the Panasonic PV-GS320. I have an opportunity to purchase one for less than $300. I don't have a huge buget for a camera but wanted to get something that had a good picture and adequate features. My concern is the format. MiniDV sounds fine to me and also a viable format. According to some other sources the tape format is on its way out. I don't see tape going away. I would hate to think that this format will be obsolete in a 2 or 3 years and I'll be stuck looking for a hard drive model. I'm concerned about the longevity of the tape format.
I am however planning a High Definition tv purchase later this year. Should I consider a High def camera as well?
Thanks for the help!