One person's idea of affordable may be another's vision of bankruptcy, but in the world of 3CCD camcorders, only the bold and the wealthy survive. These may look like fairly expensive consumer items, but anyone familiar with 3CCD models will know that all the camcorders on offer here are actually pretty good value, and in the case of two (the Sony and the Canon), have even been used to record feature films that have enjoyed a cinema release. Success on the silver screen doesn't come guaranteed with these models, but at the low end of the 3CCD market, there's still plenty of thrills to be had.
For those who didn't pay attention in science lessons, a 3CCD camcorder uses three separate CCDs (charge coupled devices) to independently capture red, green and blue light entering the lens. This gives you a clear and vivid picture that trounces the more common single-CCD models that currently own the scene. If you buy one of these, you really are bribing your way into the next level of home movie making.
The Sony and Canon models are both semi-pro cameras that perform excellently in almost all lighting conditions. The Sony has the edge for resolution, it's an HD camcorder, while the XL2 has the advantage of an interchangeable lens (though it is possible to hack the FX1 by forcefully detaching the current lens mounting and custom building a 35mm film camera lens. Wave goodbye to your warranty though).
The Panasonic and JVC models have a significantly lower price tag. You'll still get great results from these, but your hopes of Hollywood success may be slightly reduced.