You can pick these up for around £700 on Ebay as theres now a better nicer one with a great look. The camera is broadcast quality and often used as backup for broadcasters and those dodgy jump-in-the-hedge waste of space programs aimed at the target audience of alcohopop-ers with wrong-way round baseball hats.
The camera is a nice shape. The first thing you will probably notice is the big lens, this is great because the bigger the lens (It has to be good quality too) the more light gets in, thats why those megapixel phones are not that great as you can only put a small lens in, so even though they have a high megapixel value they really dont take decent photos.
Theres a lens cap on a string, the clips to keep it on the camera are a bit flimsy and slack so take some playing around with to get the cap to stay on, theres also a lens shade which keeps the sun away, best to keep this on all the time unless you are putting another lens or filter on that doesnt allow the shade to stay on.
The tape is DV, using a firewire PCMCIA card on my laptop allows very quick and easy transfer of captured video on to the computer, if you have a built in firewire port all the better. Just turn the camera on to VCR mode, then plug it in, if yu have Vista this will be picked up automatically and an option to download will ensue, along with the destination on your computer and target file format.
Theres a nice little viewfinder with rubber around to keep the sun out, this pulls out away from the camera.
Theres an LCD pull out viewfinder on the side of the camera, although not great its useable and it good for steadier handheld shots. The screen isnt touch-screen, this is probably because its an older camcorder, but the controls for play, pause etc are on the top under a long flap.
The camera sports a brilliant 20% optical zoom lens, dont mistake a digital zoom for optical zoom because the digital zoom basically zooms in on the pixels rather than the actual object, the lens is of course great, providing you use a decent tripod you'll be able to take some decent close-ups of birds in the trees, if you like that sort of thing.
The camera has a manual focus ring behind the lens which works great and is very useable / functional.
The camera is 3CCD, this is supposedly the base requirement for broadcast cameras.
I have a HD camcorder also but found that HD is not widely compatable, the format basically has to be transferred to WMV ro similar format and plays really slow on older computers, my computer has 1GB or RAM and plays HD content very slowly, so i think for now avoid and stay with standard (SD), the XM1 is great!