As far as I can tell you're looking for a fixed blade knife, not for a folder, correct?
Requirements for hunting and camping knives also vary. Hunting knives are optimized more for light/medium cutting. Camping knives can be used for rougher jobs including chopping and prying.
Given your budget, you could get a very good medium size knife 5-7" long.
As for the brands, as others mentioned Benchmade and Spyderco are very good choices. Becker also makes good field knives.
All three use modern steels and quality materials.
Benchmade and a few other fixed blade reviews here - http://www.zknives.com/knives/fixed/prod/index.shtml
Alternatively you could consider Fallkniven - http://www.zknives.com/knives/fixed/prod/falknvna1.shtml
If you really want high performance knives you should check out Swamp Rat Knives - http://www.zknives.com/knives/fixed/srkw/index.shtml
Made from SR-101 steel, which is modified 52100 steel, they have exceptionally good edge holding and toughness.
Even better, but more expensive Busse Combat Knives - http://www.zknives.com/knives/fixed/busse/index.shtml
Cold Steel, Gerber, CRKT are ok, but lower class compared to benchmade and Sypdies. SOG belongs to this group as well. They stick to AUS8 or AUS6 steel, donno why but they discontinued their field knives made of Latrobe BG-42 steel. I got two of those, they held much better edge than AUS8.
Chris Reeve Knives are quite expensive, made of A2 tool steel, which is one of the toughest steels, but there is an endless debate about them heat treating A2 steel below its optimal hardness, thus compromising toughness and edge holding ability.
And, finally if I were you,and looking for the high performance, non-custom blade I'd look for modern knives. As time goes on steels used by manufacturers improve (mostly) and metallurgy moves forward too. So, it's very unlikely that 30-40 year old knife will be anywhere near today's knives. Bakc then 50-54HRC was considered high. Today 58-60 is more or less a norm and better blades go higher. Hardness alone isn't an indicator of knife quality, but better steels can be hardened higher.
You might want to check knife steel FAQ too. Link below.