I know you don’t want adobe,

#209193
AvatarJoseph
Participant

I know you don't want adobe, to each their own, but you can subscribe to Creative Cloud for the duration of your project. It's a short term fix but might allow for a bump up in your camera budget.

 

The Canon XF100 has a form factor you might be most comfortable with since it's got more external buttons and is an actual camcorder. It runs a few hundered over your budget, though.  It's got 4:2:2 color space which is helpful in post.

 

The XA20 or HG30 are closer to and below your price range respectively. They have menu based controls, but should give you a camcorder experience that won't break the bank while also giving you a lot of bang for your buck – image wise.

 

You could go with a used camera but nothing gives you piece of mind like a warranty.

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