The Panasonic PV GS400 is reviewed as all-around better than my old DV953. lowest price = $959.59
Sony DCR-PC350 goes for $789.
Conclusion from CamcorderInfo.com:
The Panasonic PV-GS400 beats the Sony DCR-PC350 in my mind. While the camcorders are tied on video quality, with nearly identical reproduction, the PV-GS400 slightly beats out the Sony on low light performance. The Panasonic offers superior manual control, handling, and options. While I would pick the Panasonic over the Sony, I really should note that they virtually tie each other when it comes to performance. If you are a point-and-shoot user, and you don't prize manual control and want a camcorder that's easy to use, the Sony DCR-PC350 is a much better choice.
Consider this HD camera:
Sony HDR HC1 for $1439.95
Boy I'd love to get that one, but HD still suffers from several problems: you need $13 tapes to avoid framedropping, and Pinnacle doesn't support the HDV editing format. I can probably upgrade to HD-capable software, but you still can't burn to a disc.