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One thing to consider is housing availability. Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think the EX1 has any sort of Lanc/Remote jack so the only housings available will be mechanical. Gates is showing one now on their website.
If you want electronic controls, look at the Sony HVR-V1U or the new HVR-V7. Both shoot HDV though so depending on your application might not be the best choice. Amphibico is building a Phenom for the V7. Amphibico houses both the HDR-FX7 and the HVR-V1U since it's the same camera. So does Gates on the mechanical side. Not sure if you can still buy an FX7...
If you want a 3CCD camera, there's the HDR-FX1 and it's pro sibling the HVR-Z1U. Sony still sells the FX1 on sonystyle.com. And Amphibico and L&M house it.
With the budget you have, I wouldn't seriously consider any of the HDR-XXX series single CMOS cameras. They're pro/consumer models designed to meet a price point of under $1500.
Not that the quality is bad (I shoot one) but 3 chips are so much better at imaging.
My personal opinion - If I was housing a $3500-9000 camera, I'd only consider Gates, Light & Motion or Amphibico. I have an Amphibico Evo, it's built like a tank. So is the Gates.
HVX-200 + citidisk hard drive fits in a gates housing. This means REAL HDCAM HD quality, not HDV or any other prosumer format. I believe this will put you in at a bit under 10K for the camera and citidisk.
The only trouble is that if you want digital controls, you are out of luck with panasonic. Personally, I'll take the manual mechanical controls and panasonic's CCD and higher quality in HDCAM.
I'm willing to spend 8k or 9k on a good underwater video camera alone....
am i best going with a HD video camera? if so, which is the best? =D
So, what do you want to do with video, what type of diving do you do. Do you want a smaller camera, because something like a Sony Z1U or EX1 is a much larger system to shoot with. Plus if you do go with an EX1 you will be controlling the camera Manually. Looks like you dont know much about cameras so that could be a challenge. Plus the Ex1 doesn't record onto tapes. You put 2 sticks into it about 16gig each that cost around $800-$1500 each. Oh and then you have to have a decent editing system and LOTS of hard drives to back that media up or a tape deck to dump it to tape.
I agree with Becky 120% on what types of post production considerations have to be made. Panasonic over Sony? Sony has really flooded this small market with product but that doesn't necessarily mean that they're the better choice. Its all personal preference. I'm not a sony guy and chances are I never will be, personal choice. With that being said they're not the only dog in this fight. I'd either get a Panasonic HVX200 setup or hold out to see what happens with the Red Scarlet. So if time is on your side give it a little. Something revolutionary is on its way, at least from what I hear.