JVC Everio G Camcorder (GZ-MG155)
Of course you would need numerous batteries to fill the disk on the new JVC Enviro MG155 in one session. However for most I suspect two would be enough. As for the 37 hours I would not be happy with that high a compression for anything important. The best quality -super fine- gives just over 7 hours. I also found the -fine- at 10.5hours quite acceptable for most uses.
To say a camcorder can fit into a pocket maybe a slight exaggeration but it is small at 11x6x6.5cm and the weight is only around 350grams. Transfer of data to the PC is simple via the supplied dock - this also facilitates viewing images on a TV via the various sockets on the back of the dock.
32x optical is something that digital cameras only dream of but is almost the norm for a decent camcorder. Not only can you record to the hard disc but the rear has an SD card slot so reasonable still images can be taken at huge magnification. Of course to get a good image you will need a tripod and the dock screw is also on the base.
This is a 16x9 (wide screen) camcorder and images must be framed in the 6x3.5cm display that can rotate up to 270 degrees. The only time this could be a problem is in bright sunlight.
I do not intend to mention all the controls lets just say as a comparative camcorder novice I managed to get it working and take lots of good videos without recourse to the manual. The unit is supplied with a demo video and if you leave it on for any length of time this will kick in. It has a light on the front that should help in low light conditions. However you may find that people find it off putting with a light shining on them.
As regular readers will know jazz is my passion and I have taken several sequences at my local club and the sound quality has been excellent. I was less enamoured with the picture quality in poor light. In good light it is excellent.
As stated transferring images to PC or burning to a DVD is easy. Two pieces of software are supplied an Everio version of Power Cinema and movie making product.
It is possible to burn a movie direct from the camera to a DVD via the Everio software. However please make sure that the camera is being charged when you do this or the process could fail. I found it safer to copy the files to the PC and burn the DVD from there. It only supports DVD-R - this I had to read the manual to find out - and only 12cm DVD's.
Not a quick process as it takes around 30-40 minutes for around 4GB of data. The simplest transfer is via the dock and this supports USB2 or FireWire for PC transfer.
The quality of images produced (in reasonable light) was superb and I was viewing completed DVD's on both a 20 and 22 inch panels. While the supplied hard disc can notionally support up to 37 hours of recording it is not great quality.
My main gripe - apart from the less than brilliant low light performance - is that the lens cover is a manual switch - if digital cameras can open the cover automatically why can't camcorders? - but overall this is super easy to use unit.
Doing my Internet searches found the JVC Everio GZ-MG155 at a best price of £329.98 from DABs on the first link below. If you intend to use for any length of time buy a spare battery as the supplied battery lasts less than 90 minutes.
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