Well, you are talking about best camcorder, right?
Thanks for your input. My eyes nearly poppped out of my skull. I guess I should have qualified my ranges. We are a smaller company and those models are most definitely beyond our budget.
Here is a more realistic breakdown of price points we can handle:
Mid-range: $1,000 - $1,600
High-range: $3,000 - $6,000
High range: Sony PMW-EX1 R or Sony HXR-NX5
Mid range: Panasonic TM700
Budget range: I wouldn't know.
I was pulling your leg a bit, but you picked up the hint rapidly. I think either the TM700, mid range or the NX5, high range would suit you fine.
Right on the line between your low/mid is the Canon Vixia HFS100 AVCHD camera I use with CS5 (I think the current model is the HFS200)
Read My CS5/AVCHD 1st Impressions http://forums.adobe.com/thread/652694?tstart=0 which includes a link to the computer I built
Similar to the Vixia but with better wide angle is the Sony HDR-CX550V: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=sony+hdr-cx550v&N=0&InitialSearch=yes
Either would give you flash-based recording and tapeless workflow. On a decent machine, CS5 can handle AVCHD pretty well.
For many applications, a wider angle is more practically useful than a larger zoom ratio or greater telephoto.
It's not a camcorder, but the Panasonic Lumix GH1 with kit lens fits within your mid-range spec and has a larger sensor than many pro camcorders. It can also shoot 720p at 60 frames/sec, which is very useful for smooth action and gives good 1/2 speed slow motion:
Here's a video intercutting between material shot with a Red One 3k cinema camera, a Canon EOS 5D MkII, and a Lumix GH1: http://vimeo.com/5981422?hd=1
The Canon 5D Mark II is at the low end of your high range.
Camera plus 24-105mm L Series lens is about $3300 at Amazon.
You'll want to get a tripod as you would with any camera you buy.
A good, sturdy one is the Davis & Sanford ProVista 7518XB
Plus you'll need a 16-32GB compact flash card.
Get a UDMA 4,5 or 6 and you're covered as far as write speed and downloading files to your computer.
As far as editing the Canon 5D Mark II .MOV files on CS5, no problem, real time playback.
I own a Canon XHA1 video camera and believe me, the change from 1/3 sensors to a single full frame 35mm film size sensor is dramatic. In addition, going from Canon XHA1 tape to Canon 5D tapeless is just great.
Hi, if your budget goes a bit higher, I would recomend the sony ex-3.
I have just purchased one for my business, and am very happy with it, workflow is very fast. and no issues using CS5.
I would recomend also the sony-vmount with d-tap togo with it, and a idx-x3 light.
I just got the Sony HXR-NX5U from of all places Newegg. As soon as Harm and I get this blasted PPBM5 benchmark off our backs I am going to enjoy spending more time with it. I have made a couple of practice runs getting familiar with some of it but needless to say I am extremely impressed with it. The 20x optical zoom means to me no auxiliary lens is generally required for any of my usage.
Thanks everyone for your input and suggestions. I believe I have enough info now to make my recommendation.