So, you want to buy a new camcorder...
Actually, these days they are all pretty much the same. Gone are the tape based and disc based camcorders - these are only available as used. What's available now is flash memory based cameras.
So, it's not what type of camcorder, but how much do you want to spend, and which is the better brand. Generally speaking, it's always best to buy from the major manufacturers: Sony, Canon, Panasonic, JVC - there are others, but these are the top brands.
It's always been said, and still holds true today: The LENS makes the camera. Having a professional lens on a camcorder or camera will make all the difference in the world. I've personally got a digital camera that has a small CCD imager - it's only has 5 Megapixels, but the professional lens makes the camera, and even today I can take better pictures than that of most pocket cameras, regardless of whether they are 12 or 16 Megapixels.
I used to like Sony branded cameras and camcorder and they were the best in reliability and build quality. Things have changed, and now the parts prices have skyrocketed. I know they are hurting, but raising prices is the last thing they should do. Of course, all they (and other manufacturers) want is for you to keep buying new, because the old parts are either no longer available, or they're too expensive, forcing you to buy new.
These days I think Canon is doing a better job than Sony is. The nice thing about Sony products is that you can buy components on the circuit board - vs Canon products that you have to replace the entire board, or assembly. Individual parts are few and far between. But overall, Canon's pricing of parts is far better than Sony at the moment.
JVC and Panasonic are tied - as Panasonic owns 51% of JVC... their products are always very similar.
So, Sony and Canon are tied for first place in build quality and reliability. Next comes Panasonic and JVC. Unless you're going JVC Pro, these are much higher quality than consumer JVC camcorders. If you are considering a JVC consumer camcorder, you might as well take a look at the minor brands: Samsung, Sanyo, yada yada.
Do remember this one thing: If you can afford it, and it's available, ALWAYS buy Japanese. Made in China is a dead giveaway that it's a piece of junk and will fail in short order. Why do you think there are so many auto recalls? Yep - cheap Chinese parts! Of course, Mexico's assembly techniques don't help either...