We just bought a camcorder last week and it is fantastic!!! My husband did alot of research beforehand as we were spending quite a bit of money and wanted to make sure it was worth it. He researched in magazines (specialty camcorder ones) and also the internet. From this, the best brands for value for money and quality were SONY and CANON.
We ended up buying the CANON MV700i model which retails for $1100 but we managed to find one on sale at Myer last week for $850 (they had a sale 15% off all comcorders) and then when we approached Harvey Norman they price matched and discounted to $800 - a real bargain.
The camera is really easy to use (even for me - I am technically hopeless!) - I am using it all the time. Picture quality is superb. You can also dowlnload and edit on your computer and it takes still photos as well. I highly recommend it.
If you are after something cheaper I don't recommend the Hi-8 cameras (these retail for around $300 - 600) as the format is old and the picture quality is not very good.
Anyway, sorry for rambling on. Hope this helps!
Gabriella, Chiara & angel called home