In 2012, it’s not enough to shoot high-def video through an optical zoom lens for viewing later on a TV or computer. Wi-Fi-enabled families want to be able to monitor the video live on their smartphones and tablets or transfer clips directly from the camcorder to the Internet.
Recognizing that connectivity is king, JVC is introducing three Wi-Fi-friendly full HD Everio camcorders: the GZ-EX250, GZ-GX1 and FZ-VX700. Though their hardware features differ, each works seamlessly with the free Everio Sync App you download into your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch from the iTunes App Store or into your Android-based cell phone or tablet from Google Play (formerly Android Market).
Still, Wi-Fi isn’t for everyone. For those home video enthusiasts indifferent to wireless networks and mobile apps, JVC is offering three models: the GZ-E10, GZ-E200 and GZ-V500. Though the video created by these cameras is self-contained until tethered to a TV or computer, the results can look just as stunning.
Every camcorder in this roundup records video at up to Full HD 1920 x 1080/60p resolution and is equipped with a mini HDMI output, so you can take pleasure in the picture quality on the largest electronic canvas at home—your big-screen HDTV.
When one of the Wi-Fi-capable Everio camcorders is wirelessly linked to your mobile device or a PC you can perform a variety of functions. In Wi-Fi Direct mode, they include a live video and sound feed from the camcorder, and you don’t even have to be in the same room. So, for instance, you’ll be able to monitor the baby from the kitchen. Also, you’ll be able to use your mobile device as a touchscreen remote control—one that doesn’t need line of sight. And you’ll be able to download video and still images from the camcorder into your mobile device.
In Access Point mode, the camcorder will enable you to email a short video clip or post to a sharing site like YouTube. You’ll also be able to exploit a Home Detection Monitoring feature in which a photo is automatically emailed when the camera detects movement.
The most affordable of JVC’s connected cameras is the GZ-EX250 Full HD Everio Camcorder with Wi-Fi. Like all the models in this roundup, the GZ-EX250 accepts an SD, SDHC or SDXC card in capacities up to 64 Gigabytes. But since it’s equipped with 16GB of internal memory, the EX250 is the only one that doesn’t require you to insert a memory card. Equipped with a 40x optical zoom, the camera pulls in a subject for closer capture in a video or photo. There’s a built-in microphone and speaker, as well as a 3-inch color touchscreen display. The EX250 also comes with a free 4GB SDHC Class 6 memory card.
If you want the same sensor, optics and touchscreen in a lookalike camcorder that forfeits the wireless connectivity and built-in memory, consider the GZ-E200 Full HD Everio Camcorder. Unlike the GZ-EX250, the E-200 is available in multiple colors: black, blue or red.
The first step-up model in wireless camcorders is JVC’s GZ-VX700 Full HD Everio Camcorder with Wi-Fi. Though the optical zoom is only 10x, the camcorder contains a 3.3-Megapixel (MP), 1/4.1-inch CMOS sensor (compared to the 1.4MP 1/5.8” CMOS sensor in the GZ-EX250 and GZ-E200 camcorders) and both optical and digital image stabilization. Also, its F 1.2 lens makes it more agile at capturing low-lit images than the F 1.8 lens in the EX250 and E200. Plus, the VX700 takes 10MP still images. The model’s non-Wi-Fi equivalent is the GZ-V500 Full HD Everio Camcorder.
JVC’s ultimate Wi-Fi model is the GZ-GX1 Full HD Everio Camcorder with Wi-Fi. Incorporating a 10MP 1/2.3” CMOS sensor and F 1.2 lens (with threads for a 46 mm filter) the camcorder is the one model in this roundup that enables you to attach both an external microphone and headphones. The camera even buttresses a hot shoe. Sporting a 3.5-inch touchscreen display, the GX1 contains the largest record/playback LCD touch panel in the pack.
While the highly-capable GX1 is the most expensive model here, JVC’s GZ-E10 Full HD Everio Camcorder represents the flipside in consumer camcorder comradary. It offers the fewest features, which also makes it the most affordable device in the bunch. You can’t call it a photo camera, though, since the E10 shoots video only. Nevertheless, as an entry-level model, the E10 captures full 1920 x 1080/60p video through a 40x optical zoom lens. The model weighs less than 7.6 ounces and is available in multiple colors: black, blue or red.
For both the GZ-E10 and GZ-E200, easy archiving is made possible by the Everio MediaBrowser 4 Software for Windows bundled in the camcorder, which you upload to your computer. Sharing is simplified via easy upload to YouTube or Facebook, though you do need to attach the USB cable to your Internet-connected computer first. All the other models include the Everio MediaBrowser 4 Software for Windows on a CD-ROM.
All of the camcorders in this roundup incorporate JVC’s Time-Lapse REC feature in which one frame is recorded at set intervals from 1 to 80 seconds. So, for example, you could place the camera on a tripod outdoors to capture the sun’s shadow moving across a landscape or indoors to spot suspected activity in your apartment for speedy review later.
Though framing with all the camcorders benefit from optical zoom (10x or 40x, depending on the model) and digital zoom up to 200x, JVC also offers an in between hybrid called dynamic optical zoom (15x to 70x depending on the model—see accompanying spec chart.) When recording in Standard Definition, the Dynamic Zoom function uses nearly all of the effective pixels of the sensor to achieve up to 70x magnification without any degradation of picture quality.
All the cameras incorporate face recognition technology that enables you to register faces of relatives or friends with their names so that the camera prioritizes their pixels for the picture’s focus and exposure. All the models contain K2 technology as well, for restoring sound details suppressed during compression for high-quality audio playback.
With six models to choose from, three with embedded Wi-Fi, JVC’s new line of Full HD Everio Camcorders has something for every home video enthusiast who has practical needs or perhaps a hankering for greatness.