Hello all,

I really hope somebody can help me, because I am going around in circles trying to buy a good camcorder.

I have no more than 2,000 to spend, and ideally I would spend no more than 1,500 if possible.

I will be using the camera to shoot video business reviews (restaurants, estate agents, car dealers etc) as well as maybe making some short films, and shooting the occasion wedding or party.

I think the camera needs to tick the following boxes:

Professional or Prosumer
Easy for me to download footage onto my Mac mini (USB or card ideally)
Good at shooting in low light
Have manual focus
Ideally a three chip lense
10 + optical zoom

I was looking at the Sony HVR-A1E - am I on the right track?

I'd really appreciate advice from owners of this camera, or people in the know. The only thing putting me off is that the A1E records to tape ... is it easy to upload from tape to a mac, or would I be better going for a camera with a hard drive?

I also need a decent tripod to go with the camcorder that I go for, although I don't want to spend a fortune.

I hope somebody can help - I am very excited about getting into shooting video.