Gearing Up: Choosing a Camcorder

First up is your gear?and topping the list is your camcorder. This is an exciting time. For years video pros have lugged around shoulder-numbing Sony Beta SP and Ikegami broadcast-quality cameras. Their rich colors and low-light capabilities used to put "prosumer"(a step up from consumer but still not broadcast quality) camcorders to shame.

Not any longer. Some may quibble and say today's top prosumer camcorders are not true "broadcast quality," but only the most highly trained eye can discern an appreciable difference between the $3,300 Canon XL1S or the $2,300 Sony DCR-VX2000 and anything a $15,000+ broadcast camera can crank out. See Figure 1.1 for some high-quality prosumer camcorder models.

Figure 1.1. Top-of-the-line prosumer DV camcorders. Canon XL1S (estimated street price $3,300), Sony DCR-VX2000 ($2,300), and Panasonic PV-DV952 ($1,400). You can't go wrong with any of these models.

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