...is the one that gets you to shoot more and edit more.
I get lots of queries from friends and colleagues on the best video camera to buy. I always ask, what are you using it for? If you're a professional, the world has moved away from having just one camera. Camera prices have become more and more affordable.
Indeed, when I started in the biz, you shot with one camera. A broadcast quality, Beta SP camera that retailed for around $60,000. Nowadays, pros have a complement of cameras and use them like a golfer uses all the clubs in his/her bag. It depends on what the job requires.
WHAT I USE
For clients, I've been working with DPs who own the following SONY EX-1 with Letus Adapter, SONY EX-3, Canon 5D and 7D, Panasonic HPX 300, Panasonic AG AF 100, and the trusty Panasonic HVX-2000. I just tested the SONY PMW F3 and that looks to be a real beaut.
For my own personal stuff, I have a Flip, iPhone, a Canon HV30 (tape based!) and a Panasonic GH1. These cameras are simple to shoot with and easy to load into a computer and start editing. Of all three, I'm shooting more with my iPhone because that's the one in my pocket. But the Flip which is nearly the same size to my eye has better low light capapbility and more punch - I just can't check my email with it.
JUST GET OUT THERE
The point is... The best camera is the one that gets you using it.
Who knows what you'll encounter... I was driving to the grocery store right after a huge NYC snow storm. Right in front of me was the answer to the question, "Where do they put the snow?" I whipped out my iPhone 4.
I shot it from the car and the joggers ran into frame just as I was starting my "tracking shot." It all felt very Woody Allen so I went looking for some '40s band music.
If nothing else, I can look at this video come the summer time when temperatures reach 100 degrees. And weep.
A COOL RESOURCE
The music is Del Casino and His Orchestra from the The Prelinger Archives at the Internet Archive. Most of it is public domain, and the web site encourages you to take the content, mash it up and use how you see fit...
You are warmly encouraged to download, use and reproduce these films in whole or in part, in any medium or market throughout the world. You are also warmly encouraged to share, exchange, redistribute, transfer and copy these films, and especially encouraged to do so for free.
-- The Prelinger Archives
Worth a look.