Alrighty having just purchased one myslef and having the same dilemna, ultimately makes me sort of experienced at it... Anyways first off whether or not to go with MiniDV or DVD or HardDisk.. its your choice but here are the pros and cons
Pros - Records in MPEG4 (often best quality if your looking for Standard Def Cameras)
Pros - Quite a bit of filming up to 80 min from each casette.
-Need to interchange casette
-Need Firewire (IEEE 1394) Port To Transfer Movie to Computer)
-Straight from cam to tv or computer.
-Limitted amount of recording time (Less Than DV)
-Quality is lower than standard def.
-Large capacity (can store alot)
-Your choice of encoding (But the higher the quality is set, more room it takes)
-If harddisk fails...very costly to replace..often entire camera has to be replaced.
Now whether or not to get standard def or High def.. Basically standard def is now "quote" not so hot anymore.. Everything is going High Def. So the high def cameras will give you widescreen video, surround sound quality sound... But what you do want to look for in a High Def camera is that it was 3 indipendent CMOS image chips (Basically like a digital photo camera they capture each individual colour separately (Blue, Red, Green) instead of one chip capturing everything...