Sorry - may not have
answered your question... "Best" will be one with large lens diameter, large imaging chip array (preferably 3CCD) and low compression capture and storage. Closest I can get will be the Sony HDR-FX7. Would prefer HDR-FX1 or HDR-FX1000. All are outside your price range. All capture to low compression DV or HDV format. External recording devices available if digital tape recording time is not long enough.