MiniDV tape–based camcorders are the oldest form of digital video. Currently, every major vendor offers at least one MiniDV model, but support for the format is beginning to wane. However, tapes will continue to be manufactured for many years to come, so you'll still be able to get plenty of use from these cameras in the future. MiniDV camcorders are currently the most affordable format on the market — expect to pay less than $400 for a budget model. Premium high-def models are also available, though these are obviously a lot more expensive.
Best MiniDV camcorder (standard-def): JVC GR-D750
Best Mini DV camcorder (high-def): Canon HV30 Sony MiniDV 5-pack (RRP:$28.95).