My default choice has been the Panasonic NV-GS400 3CCD and the Sony low-end high-def camera
Here’s what the poster said:
I KNOW that people with a HDV camcorder will want to use it only in HDV but if the rest of your equipment just won’t keep up AT THIS MOMENT there is nothing wrong with using it as an alternative to the other two camcorders mentioned. The HC1 has better low light then either of the other two. And the SD will look stunning too. An advantage is that you can save for better other equipment and then you can still start using the HDV.
Here’s a post by Dennis Vogel about lux/low light ratings. .
I don’t know what to think of this, nor how much the accessories and components cost, so I’ll reserve judgment. But this price range ($1600) certainly seems not out of my range (especially considering that the Panasonic was going to cost me 1100-1200$).
I probably will still end up going for the Panasonic (begrudgingly, of course). Update: someone has recommended JVC DV300U. OUch!