I recieved a $300 gift card for my birthday back in april to buy a camcorder. I was interested in a mini dv, since I had hoped to do some vid editing later on. Did some research and decided on a Canon ZR200. Bought one, LUVED the features on it and how easy it was to use....until it ate a tape. I blame that on my wife, but she wasn't listening.
Anyhow, exchanged it for another one. We was using it to film ultrasound of our twins. Reviewed the footage and it sounded like there was a mac truck in the background. It recorded noise from the tape motor, which a lot of reviewers had in common.
Took that back and exchanged for a panasonic, can't remember the model number but it was the mid level with 26x optical zoom. Pretty good camera, not as many features as the canon, but filming quality was much better. Side note, before I returned the last canon, sent in the rebate form for free pinncale software. So I ended up getting $5 back from the exchange, free editing software and sold the extra canon acc. (free by the way, I'm sneaky) on ebay for bout $25. Think I made out pretty good!
So to sum this up, avoid the canon ZR series mini DV camcorders, while they have ALOT of nice features, it doesn't pay unless you own a mac truck....