I would suggest you do thr


I would suggest you do three things:

1) Do some research to find out about the features & functions that are available. (this website and others: CamcorderInfo.com, cNet.com are all good ones).

2) Make a list (three actually) of the features you need, you want and would be nice to have.

3) Set a price limit.

Once you’ve done this, figure out what makes/models will give you most (if not all) of your “need” features for your price limit – then winnow it down going through your other lists.

Don’t forget to read both professional and customer reviews and see what message forums have to say (like this one).

FWIW – I would only buy an HD camera at this point as you are looking to the future and don’t want to replace it that soon. If you’re looking at place’s like Best Buy, stay away from salesperson recommendations right now (they will try to sell you what they have, not what you need) but if you’re looking at places like B&H Photo, salesperson recommendations can be helpful.

Also, don’t forget the editing/authoring software – Most of the major non-linear editors (Sony Vegas, Adobe Premier, etc…) have consumer versions – I use Sony Vegas Pro but they have a sub $100 version (Vegas Movie Studio) that will do most of what the pro package can do (you can download a 30 day fully functional free trial here: http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/download/trials).

Good luck.

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