Answer Best answer as chosen by user skyfire_1
a "pro camcorder" will not be found in a consumer electronics store. Since we don't know where you are, it is difficult to know what might be nearby. B&H Photo in New York has a good selection - as does their online version of bhphotovideo.com. Adorama is another. Before we go too far, let's get on the same page and define "pro camcorder".
In my opinion, a large lens filter diameter (70mm or larger) and large imaging chip array (1/3" or larger) in a 3CCD (or 3CMOS) configuration, low compression video format and use of XLR connectors for audio in are the starting point. When the camcorder has these three things, all the other stuff (manual focus ring, manual zoom ring, manual audio gain control and a bunch of other useful and easy to reach manual controls on the outside of the camcorder - not buried in a menu) are included. I *think* the entry point is the Canon XHA1 - and about 2x more than you want to spend.
There are a few "prosumer" camcorders that fit - basically, trade the XLR audio connectors with a single stereo 1/8" (3.5mm) audio input. Use of an XLR adapter like those from juicedLink or BeachTek allows for XLR mics. The Sony HVR-HD1000 and HDR-FX7 (their lenses are a little small) and the Sony HDR-FX1000 (about 2x more than you want to spend). Manual audio gain control is on the outside of the camcorder - not buried in a menu. These are miniDV tape based (as is the XHA1), so your computer must have a firewire port - or the ability to add one.
As for your specific requirements, there are several upper end consumer cams which work - but are nowhere near "pro" grade... Anything from the Canon HF G10, HF M series and HF S series and anything from the Sony HDR-CX700 series and HDR-CX900 series. Their lens filter diameter is in the 58mm range and a single CMOS won't get the low-light levels of the cams with larger lenses and imaging chip arrays - but they do have a 1/8" mic jack and the manual audio control is either in the menu or can be assigned to the thumbwheel that is a "shared" control" near the lens barrel - though I think most would use that for manual focus. Also, these are flash memory camcorders and record very compressed AVCHD format video to MTS files - so your computer environment for editing needs to be studied. Panasonic and JVC have a few that compete in this space, too.
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