I have been an editor for almost 3 years, but have tried to stay away from filming myself because I haven't had the money to invest in equipment. I am now at the point where my work will require me to film my own footage.
I do a lot of contract work for churches, bands, etc. and I am also beginning to tape depositions for law firms.
My budget is between $4-6k. Because of the deposition work and the importance of the format not failing, and problems I've had in the past with DV tapes, I would like to use something more reliable than tapes if it exists.
I am new to cameras and am unaware of what is the top in the market that's going to be in my price range. can anyone point me in the right direction?
One place we use to do research is BH Photo because their information about cameras is second to none. We also search these forums because there is a to of real world advice on these boards as well. Try doing a simple search or peruse thru the threads and see if you don't come up with a few more pre-purchase questions after you have your head around some camera contenters.
You have to first figure out what you can afford and work backwards. Instead of looking for a format that never fails, I would look for something to give you a back up. I shoot my important footage on both tape and firewire drives (firestore). This way in case the digitial footage has a hickup, you have a backup. This saved me a few times shooting action footage. New memory card storage is even more secure.
I would look more at your recording formats than camera bells and whistles, if recording is more mission critical.
Your clientele seems they'd be happy with anything, but law firms don't want to hear "i missed it". (For that I would also shoot with a second, cheap, minidv camera JUST IN CASE)