Even Pros Will Love the Cheapest Digital Video Camera

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As a would-be digital filmmaker and unabashed technology groupie, I've always paid attention to products from two companies: Canon and Sony. Their high-end digital video (DV) cameras including the new Sony VX2000 or Canon XL-1 come studded with add-ons like shotgun microphones and professional (and in my case barely used) settings for exposure and sound. After quickly becoming infatuated with the expensive cameras, I would then happily browse the cheaper Sony and Canon models and imagine they were just as good as the ones I lusted for.

In doing so, I unfairly ignored inexpensive cameras from rival Panasonic, which has quietly conceded the high end and midrange by offering only a single camera in that area (the PV-DV950), while offering five cameras at $1,400 or less.