hi experts: my in-laws gave us a grant to buy a digital camcorder. i never ever owned a camcorder before and have absolutely no idea how to distinguish the good from the bad. what i found out so far is that (a) optical zoom instead of digital zoom is a distinguishing factor (but why do the cheaper models usually have a higher optical zoom than the more expensive ones?), (b) optical image stabilization is superior to digital, (c) the better the lens, the better the picture, (d) at least 1meg ccd resolution, and (e) progressive photo. i am not interested in special effects or any other gizmo to manipulate the picture that is wired to the camcorder, as i plan to do all this on my macintosh. therefore, i also need a camcorder with firewire (iLink, IEEE1394). i started to be interested in canon's optura 100 mc. however, this camera usually sells way above 1000 dollars. then there is sony, but they usually neither have (b) or (e). any recommendations? thank you very much for your time and help! olli.