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The pocket video camera market is pretty crowded; legions of companies such as Flip, Kodak and Samsung are vying for your business with their dedicated camcorders, not to mention the many new smartphones boasting 1080p video recording as a feature. Telling camcorders apart can be a challenge, since many of them tout nearly identical features at very similar (and sometimes very different) price points.
JVC threw its hat into the pocket camcorder ring with its Picsio line and now, with the release of the Picsio GC-FM2 (above) and the waterproof GC-WP10 HD pocket cameras, it's trying to separate itself from the pack with some unique features that haven’t made their way onto its competitors' camcorders…yet.
Like other similarly priced camcorders, the GC-FM2 and the GC-WP10 are about the size of a cellphone, (the GC-WP10 is slightly larger) and have 1/3.2” CMOS sensors that can shoot 1920 x 1080p video at thirty frames per second. If you drop the resolution to 720p, you’ll be able to get sixty progressive frames per second, which many people find helps footage look more natural and allows motion to appear smoother than at 30p. Of course, this is just a personal preference, and your needs or tastes may differ. Both cameras have built-in image stabilization, which comes in handy since video shot with most pocket cameras can be very shaky. The camera includes a 4x digital zoom, but know that because the zoom is digital, the image will degrade as you zoom in closer.
These camcorders can also take 5-megapixel JPEG stills, and have a built-in 10 second self-timer for taking self-portraits. The GC-WP10 even has built-in face detection and touch auto exposure.
Both video and stills are recorded directly to SD cards and the cameras are compatible with SD, SDHC and SDXC cards. The cameras come with only 128MB of built-in memory, so using an SD card is a must if you want more than a couple seconds of footage. When you’re ready to watch your videos on the big screen, you can use the HDMI out or AV plugs to attach the cameras to a TV.
What really sets these cameras apart as great everyday pocket camcorders is their 3” touch panel. Instead of navigating through menus with click-wheels or buttons, all the cameras' record and playback functions can be accessed by pushing icons on the touch screen and because the touch screen is resistive, it will even work if you have long nails or are wearing gloves—handy if you’re filming in cold weather. This camera is perfect for the ski slopes. And the 3” screen is much bigger than the current crop of its competitors, giving you a bigger screen to view and play back your videos at full screen.
Both cameras have a time-lapse feature built in, which allows you to take snapshots at any interval you choose, for some cool effects. The GC-WP10 camera also allows you to record stereo MP3 audio.
At a friend’s place and want to quickly upload a video you’ve just recorded? The GC-FM2 and the GC-WP10 both have the LoiLoScope EX video software for Windows built in to the camera body. The software allows you to upload to all sorts of sites like YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo or even burn your footage to DVD. You just plug in your camera and the software is ready to go. And for all us Mac users, while the LoiLoScope software is Windows only, the GC-FM2 and the GC-WP10 have an iFrame recording mode, which is optimized for use with iMovie.
The GC-WP10 is waterproof up to 10 feet (~3m), which really makes it a take-anywhere camera. Get it as wet as you want, this camera won't mind. While the camera is submerged, the touch screen wont work, so you’ll have to stick with button operation, but I think that’s a fair tradeoff for the ability to film underwater.
The GC-FM2 is available in Black, Blue and Yellow.
The GC-WP10 is available in black with a blue trim.
Have you tried these or other camcorders in the Picsio line? What was your experience? Let us know in the Comments section below.