One of my cohorts at work asked me this week for my suggestions on video cameras for general home use. (I guess that I should stop toting my SD video camera around.) You know, cameras suitable for quick outings with the kids, capturing the fun at a company event or a visual catalog of your household just before the hurricane/ earthquake/ [natural disaster of your choice] hits…
If I was picking out a new camera for a reasonable fee (read "cheap"), I would still go miniDV (tape) as the DV codec is very rich, the devices plentiful and affordable. The Canon Optura 400 is a solid, highly-rated performer; for new purchases that can afford a little more, I’d recommend the new Optura 600 and Panasonic PV-GS250 as great choices with good form factors. If price is not an object, get the new 3-ccd model from JVC is great. (about $1K)
But a great new consumer form factor is miniDVD, especially if you just want to shoot the video and play it back (I do a lot of editing with Movie Maker 2 for the quick stuff and Adobe Premiere Pro for more complex projects). The best choices I’ve seen so far are the Sony DCR-DVD403 and Sony DCR-DVD92 – just avoid the funky Sony DCR-DVD7. Also look at the easy to use Panasonic VDR-M53 (under $550).
Check out http://www.pcmag.com/category2/0,1874,2347,00.asp, http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/CamInfo-Select-The-Best-Camcorders.htm and http://reviews.cnet.com/Camcorders/4521-6530_7-5021303-1.html?tag=dir.top for reviews and more info.