I want to buy a camcorder, preferably one which records to DVD or mini-DVD. I'd also like to either directly transfer real-time images from the camcorder to my harddrive, OR be able to move images (recordings) from the DVD to my PC harddrive. I have no camcorder yet so if one brand is better than another for this type of thing please let me know. My PC is a Dell, laptop, 80 gig, 512 ram, running XP. I don't know if the USB ports are 1.1 or 2.0, but the box is about a month old so I'm betting 2.0.

I've read that I need a firewire connection but I'm not sure how I'd do that on a laptop - unless firewire cards are available for pcmcia slots. Anybody know if they are?

Then, on the other hand, I've read (on a M/S site) that Windows Movie Maker 2 will connect to the cam and accept realtime images. This makes me suspicious because everything else I've read says that the data-flood on the USB is so great you get frame skip or worse.

Well enough from me. You can tell I'm as new to this as they come. Any help you folks can provide will be greatly appreciated.