The best performing digital camcorders are often the largest and if camcorder has the Full HD logo, it is easy to conclude that the recording quality is top notch and the videos will look great on large screen HDTVs. Settling down for a smaller package may put a dent on the overall quality, but the JVC Everio series were able to downsize their camcorder design into something easy to use while retaining the quality features to pair up well with their latest home electronic devices. The JVC Everio GZ-HM200 is the most affordable HD digital camcorder that relies on flash memory for its storage.
The JVC Everio GZ-HM200 comes in three colors, blue, black, and red. With the viewfinder closed, the GZ-HM200 fits the palm of a hand and isn’t very heavy. The size comparison between larger digital camcorder models really shows how well all of the components are placed inside the small body. When the viewfinder is open, the HD logo glows on one side while on the other side is a 2.7″ 123,000 pixel color LCD display. Opening the viewfinder also reveals some buttons on the side of the camera including 3 “One Touch” buttons that can upload, export or burn directly to DVD which can be very useful for non-technical users. The YouTube logo found on top shows that videos can be uploaded directly to YouTube. On the side is a collapsible hand strap that can adjust to any hand size thanks to the nylon lanyard for comfortable and stable recording.
The JVC Everio GZ-HM200 brings dual SD card recording to the consumers. This means that two SD cards can be inserted in the camcorder more space to be utilized. Long recording sessions can be made even if the first memory card becomes low on memory since the dual SD recording automatically shifts to the next card when needed.
Its 3.05 megapixel CMOS sensor can record video in maximum HD resolution at 1920 x 1080 at 60 frames per second for optimum performance when viewed on HD displays. The same technology that the JVC HD televisions use (known as GENSSA processing) is applied to this model to keep the video natural and free of motion judder. It also incorporates the x.v.Color technology to enable around twice as many colors to be displayed compared to the traditional sRGB. The GZ-HM200 has a newly developed Konica Minolta HD lens which gives it its 20x optical zooming power. When using full zoom settings, the visuals still remain clear without the jaggy lines on the angles and moirÈ patterns.
The HD Gigabrid Premium video engine does the rest by boosting the speed of creating DVD discs by up to 2.5 times in AVCHD format. It also reduces the power consumption by around 30% to further allow longer videos to be recorded. Great image quality is achieved with this processing engine as well.
Actual user review:
“It’s been a number of years since I had a camcorder. A few years later, things have really changed. I received the Everio GZ-HM200, snapped in a couple of 8GB SD cards, charged the battery, and I was ready to go. We took a day trip to Mount Rainier; the weather was perfect, and I took a lot of video of photogenic glaciers and waterfalls. The Everio comes with software for Windows PCs, and Mac users are hardly mentioned in the documentation. I had searched the various on-line discussions of Mac video, and there were many cautionary tales about compatibility issues with the Everios. I anticipated problems. I was wrong. I connected the USB cable to my Mac Mini, started iMovie (part of iLife ’09), and opened up the camcorder. The USB menu opened, and I chose the “Upload” option. iMovie detected the camera and then imported the video clips. It was trivially easy – just the way I like it. The Everio has a “Snapshot” mode to take still images, and I had tried it out. This meant that while I was working with iMovie, iPhoto also started up and offered to import the photos I’d taken. My verdict: it’s OK for casual 1x use, but no substitute for a real digital camera. The problem is that the Everio’s autostabilization mode only works for video, not for still images. This meant that a couple of 20x zoomed images, while impressively magnified, were hopelessly blurred. I’ll stick with my Panasonic DMC-TZ4 for the still shots. The JVC Everio is a tremendous little camera: compact, easy, light, and producing excellent HD video. The dual slot SD card design is excellent; the camera will automatically switch from one card to the next during recording, and you can swap cards on the fly. In XP mode (17 Mbps VBR 1920×1080) 16GB is good for 2 hours of recording, which feels about right. There are tons of additional features in this camera, and sometime I may try them out. But for the basic job of plug-and-play HD video, this is hard to beat. Recomended.” – G.M.Arnold (CA,USA)
Other technologies include a face detection technology which works similarly to digital cameras by naturalizing the facial tones, focus, and exposure settings for a more natural video when recording people. Noise reduction and better sharpness can be achieved by turning on the AVCHD UXP mode for a 24 Mbps bit rate which can be later storied to a larger hard drive or Blu-ray media.
Another unique feature is the Digest Playback mode which uses a special algorithm to play back highlights of all the content stored in the memory card in a “trailer” fashion. This can be useful for making sure that all of the recorded media is present.
Data can be transferred using the included USB cable and Everio MediaBrowser to prepare the movie for burning or uploading to YouTube. It can also be exported to iTunes or loaded in the Everio MediaBrowser itself to perform post-production functions such as video cutting or “Decomotion” to add special effects.
The JVC Everio GZ-HM200 nearly costs $500 and it has lots of wonderful features that any high definition lover would enjoy. The size is smaller than most and very easy to use and handle with the elegant design curves and Laser Touch Operation for scrolling and browsing through the interface. The 20x optical zoom allows even more flexibility than many of the other camcorders out there.
Average User Rating:
- “I had been looking for a digital camcorder for some time, waiting until the “right” device came along. I saw this one advertised in Sports Illustrated, looking not much bigger than a baseball. True 1920×1080, plus up to two 16GB SDHC cards, plus 20x optical zoom with a good-quality lens – all these added up to being irresistable for me. Ordered from Amazon, along with two 16GB SDHC cards and a spare battery. Unit came with one free 8GB SDHC card. Spare battery arrived first – it is TINY. Then the memory cards arrived. The camcorder itself arrived a few days later. Surprisingly small box. Charged it up – 2 hrs for the initial charge, put in the memory cards, reviewed the quickstart guide (very clear). And hey presto! Works like a charm. Extremely lightweight. Nice LCD display. Menus fairly intuitive. Face recognition works very well. Image stabilization works as well as you could expect for optical IS. Then I hooked it up to my HDTV for playback – and discovered there is no HDMI cable included. Image quality using standard RCA video jack supplied was so-so. I am really hoping the HDMI cable will increase sharpness dramatically. Overall, I am quite happy with this device. Great for baseball or softball games when only one parent can be present due to work, etc.” – G.Blair (USA)
- “This camcorder is so small and I love it for that reason alone. Its tiny size makes it easy to fit in your purse or briefcase. I find the outdoor quality of filming far superior to indoor quality. It must be something to do with the amount of light available because the indoor video does tend to be a bit grainier and this is more obvious with less and less lighting. If indoor filming is your thing, I would not recommend this camcorder to you. When filming outdoors, the quality is top notch. Intricate details in moving images from a home camcorder always seemed unimaginable, but you can make out these details with this camcorder. The “laser” touch menus are easy to operate, but there are so many options, it will take you a long time to become familiar with them and some of the options aren’t easy to understand. I don’t feel the still image quality is as good as it could be. I find myself wondering when these camcorders will truly be all-in-one? I love the use of memory cards. The cards make this really easy to hook right up to the computer. Battery life is fair. Mine lasts anywhere from around 2 hours – 3 hours depending on outdoor temperature. If you want to film amazing outdoor videos, particularly majestic landscape/wildlife movies, you will love this camcorder, but if you are looking for a camcorder purely for home videos you should try a different camcorder.” – M.Santos (TX,USA)
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