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My two main requirements are full raster I-frame only recording and full resolution imaging devices. ALL video/DC cameras should have at least those two fundamental basics. Right now the cheapest HD camera that offers such is the $50,000 Panasonic HPX3000, and that ain't right. We need cameras costing ten times less to have those same basics that ALL cameras should have.
Recording modes should include 480i/30, 480p/30, 480p/24 (both standard and Advanced pulldown), 720p/30, 720p/24, 1080i/30, 1080p/24 (plus PAL equivalents for those cameras). 24p modes at all resolutions should also include a Native mode which records only those actual frames without a 30i carrier or such. Variable frame rates as we now get with 720p modes should be kept, and possibly added to the 1080p modes as well.
It would be nice if someone could design a scheme that allows us to fit one hour of 1080pN/24 recording onto a $5.00 solid state device. THAT would be a genuine replacement for tape. I might even say it should be two hours recording onto $5.00 card, because that was the standard for VHS. MiniDV kind of messed with that paradigm by being half the recording time of the accepted standard. The recording format should include everything into a single file - video, audio, metadata. Renaming files in any way should not break any functionality (including spanning, as metadata would handle that). MXF would probably work if properly implemented.
I'd like at least a 1/2" set of CCDs. 2/3" would be better. I'm less concerned about removable lenses, so long as the built in zoom shows no spherical aberration at any focal length, and has at least a 16:1 range. True mechanical zoom/focus/iris rings on the lens like real lenses should have are a must, with auto/manual everything and a remote port for all functions a la HVX200.
Half resolution/full color EVF and LCD are also a must for event work. The EVF should be switchable to B&W for the old timers who want it. A good sized EVF like on Pannys, plus a 4.5" LCD.
I find the basic DVX/HVX body design to be by far the most user friendly of any camera I've tried, so let's stick with that.
An MSRP under $5,000, with street prices even less.