I'm looking to buy a digital camcorder to use primarily for filming airplanes, both from normal outdoor spotting locations as well as inside the airplane, such as through the window on takeoff/landing. I have never used video before, so this is a totally new arena for me. Thus, I was hoping that I could get a few recommendations from people who shoot video.
Here is what I think I would like in a camcorder:
1) Small and lightweight
2) High quality video, which will be suitable both for web playback as well as on a DVD player at home
3) Excellent sound recording -- this is particularly important to me
4) Functions well in low light, etc. (such as filming nighttime takeoffs/landings out the window of an airplane)
5) Easy transfer to computer for digital manipulation and playback (I think I would like to be able to string together different videos and put them together to make a personal "Just Planes" type of movie for myself)
6) Versatile optical zoom range, since some of the places I currently shoot photographs from require 300-400mm focal length (without the digital crop factor)
While I am willing to spend a little bit to get a good camcorder, I don't want to spend thousands of dollars either. My primary focus is still going to be photographs, and the video would just be something to have a little fun with here and there (particularly for filming takeoffs/landings when I fly).
I took a quick look on Best Buy's website, and I couldn't really make heads or tails of the differences in the different types of camcorders. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!