The "compatibility list" is not very useful and seldom updated. The absence of a camera can mean two things:
- The camera is tested and failed.
- The camera is not tested at all.
Most cameras fall in category 2, but works like a charm anyway.
Conclusion: Try before you buy.
- Stay away from cameras that doesn't support DV (Mini DV), most notably Sony's Micro MV/IP series and all DVD recording camcorders. These "MPEG cameras" take
lower quality video so, you do not want to use them anyway. MPEG-2
is not "ahead" of "older systems". The DV format
used by iMovie and most camcorders is of significantly higher quality
than a heavily compressed format like MPEG-2. MPEG-2 is lower quality,
period. Compressed formats like MPEG-2 are designed for distribution,
not editing. When you use MPEG-2 as source material, it must be decompressed
before editing and re-compressed for distribution. This results in
significant loss of quality. The advantage of MPEG-2 camcorders it
the ability to cram more material on less tape which allows for smaller
form factors. It has no advantages in terms of quality or editing.
Plus, Sony uses a proprietary implementation that forces even PC users to use only Sony's editing application. This is done for the purpose of selling there own PCs. Whether Apple will support the format in the future relies on Apple getting permission and probably paying licensing fees to Sony. And, there are general licensing fee associated with MPEG-2 in general.
Competing video encoding formats are used to lock customers into certain brands. This is a major nuisance to consumers, but it's been like this forever and is unlikely to change
- MPEG video from still camera is a pain to work with too. You will need to demux and convert this to DV before using it in iMovie also.
But how can I find out which is the best camcorder for me?
Well everyone's needs and willingness to spend money are a bit different. I looked for exact camera I wanted on eOpinions for a long time, made sure it was compatible in iMovie, then bought the camera, used, on eBay.