Ask yourself what options are on the "pro-sumer" level that you absolutely NEED.. if you write a list of must haves and they don't include the features, don't spend the money.. there are a TON of options out there (including refurbish directly from the manufacturers for 50%+ less than retail)
Remember that $1,500 should also have room to grow for lenses, filters, memory cards, software, tripods, monopods, etc... the list goes on.. make sure you know what you NEED and add those costs FIRST. Then see what you have to work with.. the bottom line is you might be able to purchase something that is capable for 1/3rd of $1,500 minus accessories and consider the next level of advancements in the next two to three years down the road. Right now there is an incredible sweet spot for any HD camcorders. Don't just buy the "latest and greatest"
I'm not knocking the Canon suggestion (it's a REALLY nice camcorder) because I own one, not that model, but I feel I got an incredible deal on my purchase and in two years I could consider using this one as a backup and buying another one that could be a year or two behind the current tech for 1/3rd the price.
Just ask yourself, does the cost of current tech warrant the price and what are those features for that cost? Are they necessary? We always tend to want the more but sometimes it's just not the best decision.
Good luck and let us know what your must haves are and people can hopefully give you fair advice and constructive criticism between models etc...