Are you looking at the Sound Devices 722 for a specific reason rather than the Sound Devices 702? You REALLY don't need that kind of storage. An 8GB CF card will last you for at least a day for sure, even several. Plus, do you really want to have all your sounds on a huge drive, ready to get corrupt from running around chasing sounds or stollen from being in ...
I have a 722 and there's a few cool features I turn to that are helpful:
you can record simultaneously to hard drive and compact flash (menu setting 6: Rec: Media Select). Recording media rarely fail, but capturing on both media at once covers your bases
if you are recording stereo, you can gang/combine the pots for easier level control (28: ...
The Marantz PMD661 is nice. The preamps are quite good (although not quite as good as the Sound Devices), but for a fraction of the price. XLR and 1/4" headphone output. It may or may not suit your needs. It's hard to tell from the original post.
I think you'll find that it's really simple to operate. As powerful as it is, the routings and settings are supremely straightforward. Probably the biggest key concept to remember is that INPUTS can be mapped to TRACKS, and it's not always input L to track 1 and input R to track 2, but front LEDs indicate the track mapping, so again, it's pretty easy.
Nathan and Paul have already given you some great tips. Here are my thoughts:
Take the time to setup all of your monitoring presets before you go out in the field
I always record with the limiter on
Transfer your recordings off the machine after your session and format your drive, you don't want to be out in the field, run out of space, and have to ...
If you don't need the timecode and are on a budget, why not look at the Fostex FR2LE?
judging by this chart, http://www.avisoft.com/recordertests.htm The mic input noise is not far off sound devices and its way cheaper.
Not recommended to go too far - C.Link definitely won't do ya. And as far as I know, there isn't a signal strength booster/interference guard.
BNC should work for 50 foot runs though.
I had referenced an audio-tech sales employee about this for doing gun-range recording. Also, here is an online reference: