As the old saying goes, good prices come to those who wait. Back in March, I talked up the Canon HV20, a high-definition camcorder that seemed like a bargain at $699. Well, now you can scoop one up for just $449.77 shipped from Vann's. The only catch: They're refurbished units.
If you're still shooting in standard-definition, do yourself a favor and upgrade to an HD camcorder such as this one. The difference is just jaw-dropping. The HV20 stumbles a bit in low-light environments, at least according to CNET's review, but that's true of most consumer camcorders.
I like that it relies on standard MiniDV tapes, which I find preferable to memory cards or hard drives: They're cheap, easy to store, and compatible with most video-editing programs. I also like the HDMI output for easy connections to HDTVs.
You can learn more about the HV20 at Canon's Web site. Oh, and about that "catch"? Even though this is a refurbished unit, it comes with a one-year parts and labor warranty--the same as new models. I'd have zero qualms about nabbing this camcorder. Truly, I'm qualm-free.
Update: Rats! Looks like they're sold out already. The closest I could come elsewhere was $499 shipped at Willoughby's. Meanwhile, some outfit called The Camera Professionals has the HV20--new--for $329.99. Buyer beware: seems to good too be true.
Update #2: If you struck out at Vann's and don't want to risk The Camera Professionals (a shady outfit by most accounts), eCost has the Canon HV20 (refurbished) for $439 plus shipping.