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What can I get for ~$500?

Hi!

I'm Brazilian and I'm traveling to the US in a few days, which is a great opportunity to go shopping. Grin I was decided to buy a digital camera, but now I think I'm gonna get a camcorder instead.

So... I will basically use it for family events and for shooting amateur movies for school (nothing professional, at all). Video will be edited. HDD or flash media storage are preferred, because they're much more convenient than miniDV or DVD types. I still haven't got a HDTV, but I plan on getting soon. And I have a quad-core PC, so no problems on dealing with HD video.

My question is: which is the best camcorder I can get for around $500? I have a few models in mind, but I'm really confused and don't know what to get.

- Sanyo Xacti HD700
- Samsung SC-HMX10
- Canon FS100
- JVC Everio GZ-MG330
- Panasonic SDR-H40
- Sony Handycam DCR-SR45

The first two ones are High Definition camcorders (720p) and take good stills too (that's good). But they are more compact models, have smaller optical zoom and there are mixed reviews. I'm really interested in both of them, but I'm not sure about Samsung's low light performance and all these things.

I don't know if it is better to get a budget HD camcorder like the Sanyo and the Samsung that don't perform like those top of the notch camcorders, or if it is better to stick with a SD camcorder with nice HDD storage, nice zoom, image stabilizer (Panny)... for kind of the same price. (???)

I really don't know. Please, help me! Happy

Thank you!

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Since you did research and limit the selection,

In reply to: What can I get for ~$500?

I would suggest the only one on your list with a mic-in jack. I don't think it has manual audio control, but if you are not in extreme (real loud or real low) audio environments, the FS100 should be fine.

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You may have issues if

In reply to: Since you did research and limit the selection,

you connect the camcorder directly to a TV in Brazil. I *think* Brazil is PAL. US (and the camcorders sold here) are NTSC. If you stay in a computer environment, then yu will be OK - connect to a TV with analog/composite, there will be issues.

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I don't think I need the Mic input...

In reply to: What can I get for ~$500?

Yeah... The Mic input is very good for filmmakers, but I think I'll definitely not use it. I prefer to prioritize other things... like video quality. Audio quality is important also, but the quality that these camcorders offer are enough.

Oh, and Brazilian analog broadcasting TV system is PAL-M, but everything else is NTSC, like satellite TV, DVD-players (and those movies you rent)... TVs work great with NTSC. Happy The only thing that doesn't work is the European PAL system.

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