MiniDV tape is passing, like the dodo bird. A tapeless workflow is the here and now.
FireWire is also passing away, and many laptop MoBo's do not offer it, or even an ExpressCard, where one could easliy add it, or FW-800.
Tapeless is here to stay, and if one has legacy equipment, they need to make arrangements for handling that.
I quite like tapeless - tape heads did become unreliable after a while - but why are no cards available for AVI capture if required please? Mpeg4 is good but AVI format is potentially better, if more bulky. It seems like progress is involving a downgrade in visual quality at the moment, which isn't actually progress at all; exactly the same was being said about the demise of 3CCD technology a couple of years ago.
Fewer cameras even allow for SD (Standard Definition) recording, and with the various flavors of HD (High Definition), the choice was made to go with a format, with higher compression, and usually some version of H.264 for consumer cameras.
With tape, one had two possible options: DV-AVI for SD, and then HDV for HD. Capture, per se, was only done from tape. With the H.264 material, and the flash cards, there has never been Capture. The files are just Copied to the computer, from either the card, or the camera's internal memory device. Those files are then just Imported into a Project. This is quicker, as Capture was a byte-for-byte recording process, and done in real-time.
Tip: if using a camera, that records to AVCHD, it is important to Copy over the full folder structure from the card, or camera, and not just the media files, though the media files are what will be Imported into the Project with Get Media. That full folder structure has some necessary side-car files, that PrE will read, when the media files are Imported.
In the near future, I think that H.264 might start to fade, like miniDV tape did, as H.265 has been approved: http://forums.adobe.com/thread/1142160?tstart=0. It will remain to be seen just how camera mfgrs. implement H.265. It might just be similar to H.264 with .mts files wrapping the H.265, but we might see some format changes too. Just something to look for in the future.
Note: for BD (Blu-ray Disc), the MPEG-2 BD, and H.264 in an MP4 will still be the output format/CODEC for BD authoring. I do not immediately anticipate that BD will change in the near future, but who knows, and Super BD might be in the works too?
Hope that helps,
It looks as if going with the flow is the only option right now. Yes, let's hope MPEG (MPEG5? 6?) will become the new AVI some day; the new H.265 codec sounds exciting
However - note of caution - there are some editors like Vdub which will only edit AVI, so MPEG will not work out okay in every single instance. You can (at length) convert MPEG to AVI but it looks like a lossy process?