Video / Hands-on Review

The New JVC Everio Camcorders


The northern hemisphere is currently deep in the heart of winter, but that isn't stopping new camcorder models from blooming like fresh spring flowers. JVC has announced the new 2011 lineup of HD Everio camcorders, which offer excellent performance and some handy new features. In this post I'll clearly explain what separates these camcorders from the competition.

The 2011 HD Everio series comes out swinging with entry-level models that feature 720p HD recording, time-lapse shooting mode and Eye-Fi Card compatibility. The mid-range models get into full 1080i HD recording, 24Mbps high bit rate recording and touch-panel LCD screens. The higher end of the range features options like 64GB of built-in flash memory, larger 1/4.1" 3.3M CMOS image sensors and low-light shooting capabilities.

The HD Everio series starts with the affordable GZ-HM30 and GZ-HM50. While all of the cameras in this series have been designed to be easy to use, the main difference between these two models is memory. The GZ-HM30 requires an SD Card to record video. The GZ-HM50 has an SD Card slot as well, and 8GB of built-in flash memory.

Most of the controls on these cameras can be found when you open up the 2.7" 230K pixel LCD screen. The camera powers up when the display swings open and you can start shooting video right away. Its Intelligent AUTO functionality will select the proper shooting mode for you to achieve the best video quality. The Face Detection function will automatically adjust the camera's settings to pick up the expressions of the people on screen.

These cameras can be set to record in Standard Definition, or in "AVCHD Lite," which is a codec that gives you 720p HD video. It's useful to have these different video quality options. If you're just shooting something for the Web, and you intend on editing the video on an underpowered computer, then Standard Definition will suit your needs well. If you want to step things up and create a video with more detail, you can choose the AVCHD Lite option.

There's a mini HDMI output on all of these cameras, so when you connect the GZ-HM30 and GZ-HM50 to a large HD TV they can output an up-converted 1080/60P video signal to make the best use of the large screen. The GZ-HM30 is available in black, blue, red and silver. The GZ-HM50 is available in black, blue and red.

The next step up in this series are the GZ-HM440 and GZ-HM450, which feature the same image sensor, Konica Minolta HD lens, 40x optical—70x dynamic—and 200x digital zoom as the entry level models. As I mentioned earlier, these models have full 1080 HD recording, 24Mbps high bit rate recording and touch-panel LCD screens, but the additional features don't stop there.

There is a Smile Shot feature that measures how much the person on camera is smiling. When their smile reaches 100%, the camera automatically snaps a still photo. Another cool included feature is called Face Sub-Window. It's a mode that enables you to superimpose a close-up shot of someone in the corner of the screen. So if you have a group of children in a shot, you touch the face of the one on the LCD screen whose close-up you'd like, and that face appears in a window in the corner of the screen. The GZ-HM450 comes with 32GB of internal flash storage and a single SDXC card slot. The GZ-HM440 doesn't have internal storage, but it does have dual SDXC card slots.

The higher range of this series includes the GZ-HM650, GZ-HM670 and the GZ-HM690. All three of these models have the "Super LoLux" feature, which enhances the camera's ability to shoot in low light. All three cameras also feature a built-in video light to assist shooting in dark environments. The differences between these cameras, again, comes down to internal memory. The GZ-HM650 has 8GB, the GZ-HM670 has 32GB, and the GZ-HM690 has 64GB.

Every camcorder mentioned in this article is equipped with the bread-and-butter features that you pretty much expect any small video camera to have: Advanced Image Stabilization, Intelligent Auto Settings, Face Detection and an HDMI output. Thanks for checking out this B&H Insights article! I hope it has been helpful. If you have any questions at all about these JVC HD Everio camcorders, we encourage you to post them in the Comments section below!