Can someone point me to the best place to learn about the latest Canon models and the various difference? Or better yet, can someone review my needs and suggest the best replacement for an HV-20?
I've been using an HV-20 for several years but recently I've been having problems with the capture process. The Firewire output blew out and I've been using a Haupepauge HD-PVR to capture into AVC-HD format video via component cables since then. I'm looking for a replacement but haven't been following the Canon models since (or any other manufacturers for that matter).
I'm looking for a decent HD camcorder with the best workflow for getting video off the camcorder, on to a PC, edited and then uploaded/sent to friends or archived for personal use. For the camcorder itself, my wife likes a viewfinder and I like using the flipout screen. We do a mixture of light levels from indoor to outdoor, so low-level comparable to the HV-20 (or better) is desired. I've always worked with a wide-angle lens added to the HV-20 since I found the standard viewing to be too narrow. If any of the newer models have a wider view, that would be great, but I can always add a new one.
For storage, on-board and/or added SD cards would be best. I supposed a hard-disk could be an option, but not required. In the past, for a long vacation we needed about 5 HDV tapes (e.g. 5 hours) and I'm not sure what that equates to in memory or additional SD cards.
We don't use the camcorder for still pictures. I'd like the option to add an external microphone, but if the built-in one is good, we'd probably choose that first. We seem to get a lot of wind noise when using the HV-20 outdoors; not sure if the newer models have fixed that or not.
Budget-wise, I'd rather not break the bank, but I also want something easy to use and that we can keep for as long (or longer) than we've had the HV-20. I'm thinking around $1000. Most of what we film is just family stuff so we aren't looking for professional grade.
Currently I have a quad-core 32-bit computer, that I plan to replace also. I'd ask more about video editing software updates, but I don't want to ask too much in the same thread. If it matters though, I've been doing a lot just with Windows Movie Maker (usually requiring an additional conversion to .wmv format) or Sony Vegas Pro 8.0 or After Effects. I was toying with the idea of getting Adobe Premiere and After Effects CS 5.5.
So with all that in mind, can someone help clarify the options and make some concrete recommendations?