Decided to put in a new post as my questions have changed. Been doing a bit more research… sent an email to DogCam and they were very helpful.

The camcorder serves as a recording devise - get the same quality from my Canon ZR45 as would with a newer camcorder - the quality will more depend on the bullet camera that is plug in to the camcorder.

DogCam recommended a few different bullet cameras to look at instead of the Pro 550 zoom: Sony HQ1: Sony 580 HQ1 bullet camera & Vari-focal cameras (which have a optical zoom lens) Vari-focal bullet cameras Think I maybe leaning towards the HQ-1 Vari-Focal bullet camera: HQ-1 Vari-focal sony bullet camera

Having more options now in choosing a camcorder to purchase as not needing it to have to hook up to the bullet camera… not sure where to go Please help

Computer am using is a macpro and FCP for video editing – just learning but pretty sure it is capable of mixing and matching formats (whether I am is another question) if I go with HD.

In addition using my Canon ZR45, very nice friends have lent me: Canon XL1s & Sony handycam of some sort – don’t know the model #. Love the quality of footage I get from my friend’s Canon XL1, but for all my practical purposes it is a beast to haul around and definitely can’t be incognito when filming the dogs, not to mention anything like that is out of my price range anyway.

Budget for camcorder is $1000.00 +/- $500.00. Quality of video is important. If understand correctly best to stay with mini dv for the better video quality.

My subject: dogs interacting, in action, sometimes very fast action. The majority of footage is taken outdoors, in all types of conditions, and different times of day, etc. Some indoors at facilities, people’s homes – but no control over lighting etc. Shooting is done spur of the moment some of the time – I’ll see a situation and if I am lucky enough to have camcorder in hand I can point and shoot. Other times it is planned and can adjust the settings.

Finding though some of the best subject footage, not talking about the video quality, is those spur of the moments I happen to catch – which is making me realize that another criteria for the camcorder should be one that has a really good auto-setting – so am able to get good footage without having to make adjustments for those spur of the moment shots.

Goal is DVD - essentially a documentary on dog behavior. The movie will really be made up of many separate mini movies – very short video clips as well as stills. Most likely the movie will have multiple categories consisting of specific behaviors, some may even contain subcategories too and within each of those categories there will be many short video clips on examples of the particular behavior. With the video clips being short and separate maybe able to get away with inconsistent visual format?

Multiple people have recommended the Canon HV20 as well as the Sony HDR-HC7 - any other ones should I consider?

How much harder is HD to shoot than SD? My shooting skills aren’t the best but have much improved since first started and hopefully will continue to improve. Understand imperfections will be magnified using HD. Lighting more important. Computer needs a lot of hard drive space then if using SD, and, and… what else?

Also recommend: Sony DCR-HC96 - what other SD mini DV camcorders would be good for my purpose. 

Then there is 3CCD??? & CMOS??? What is the importance? Should I be considering a Panasonic?

Whatever I get - it will have to do for quite a while. Won’t be upgrading/updating anytime soon, probably not for a considerable number of years - which makes me wonder if I should go with HD??? … but if SD can do the job or better that works for me as not particular leaning toward HD – just wanting better video quality than getting with zr45. Also thinking need really good auto-setting – so am able to get good footage without having to make adjustments for those spur of the moment shots.

Looking for recommendations on which camcorder to purchase. Funds are available til end of year… running out of time – need to take the opportunity or forever hold my breath. As with most - want to get the most bang for the buck.

Rather have something I can grow into then will grow out of in a year or two – went that route with the computer purchase and I am very pleased and very happy I did.

Much appreciate what anyone has to offer. Thanks in advance to all. Need more info from me just ask. Look forward to hearing what you have to say. Cheers to all. Have a great day!