I am looking for a camcorder to use for mostly scenery and outdoor recreational footage. I enjoy mountain biking and other offroad activities where the camera will be exposed to bright light and extreme temperatures during rides through mountain parks in Phoenix, Arizona. I also want to capture sunrise and sunsets.
Small size, rugged construction, video quality, and budget are my major concerns. While I am a novice and I have only worked with automatic camera settings I am more than willing to learn to use manual settings and controls to produce better quality results.
After finding out that my roomates were looking to buy a camcorder we have decided to purchase one together. Pooling our funds we have $600 to spend. I have looked at a few models such as the JVC GR-D270US and the Panasonic PV-GS19. I am not sure if these models will function well in an outdoor environment. Any comments or suggestions about these or any other models would be most appreciated.
With the newfound funds choices are much more abundant. We know that we want to go with miniDV, and low light quality (indoor parties) in addition to video quality and extreme light performance are important considerations.