Have to agree with the


Have to agree with the posting above: nowhere near enough budget to shoot theatrical material.

What I'm going to suggest will be considered heresy by some, but I would buy a used Sony PD-150 or 170. These cameras won't shoot HD, but are excellent in low light situations, come with a good shotgun mic and lots of audio control if you're able to connect to the theatre's sound board. Having an external microphone is absolutely essential and I doubt seriously that you'll be able to find an inexpensive consumer camera that has a microphone  jack. Moreover, you'll have full manual control of focus and exposure during your shoots. The cameras are readily available used on eBay within your budget range. You'll be recording to tape — 83 minutes max — in the AVI format which will be easy to edit in most NLE programs and you can play back from the camera into your computer.

Once you've gotten the hang of using cameras such as these and have produced some income from your shooting you can think about moving up to a good prosumer HD camera in the $1200 to 1500 range.

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