JVC Everio 

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Is it a Camcorder, no. Is it a Digital Camera, no. It is a .WAV recording device, no. It is in fact all three. The Everio comes in two models the GZ-MC200 and the GZ-MC100, here I am looking at the latter, the former is likely to cost £100 more.

For a while most decent digital cameras have taken a stab at being a Camcorder although the quality was usually naff. Then more recently Camcorders struck back and added some still camera abilities, again in the majority of cases not that great. Here the Everio seems to cross the void.

JVC are more normally associated as being from the Camcorder side, the secret here is the storage method a 4GB micro drive, at least last autumn it was stated to be the largest commercially available unit.

Both models have the same abilities but are rather different shapewise the one I have is vertical 10x4x7cm and weights around 300grams. Back and front are shiny black with the sides, top and base matt silver. The front has the lens at the top with the flash unit under this then a slight protrusion that hides the USB, 2.5mm headphone socket and the power input to charge the solid battery. The base has screw for tripod fitting. The top of the unit has a grill covering the excellent stereo microphones and these are very sensitive. Left of the unit has the twist out TFT screen 3.6x2.6cm that you use to frame images both still and moving for capture as well as display of same on the unit. When the TFT is out there is a small slider button that flips the rear open to display the 4GB micro drive and also shows a SD slot (no card provided) that can also be used. So far I have mentioned no controls and these are all on the back. A total of eight items all quite close together but after a little use you are unlikely to pick the wrong one very often as they are a variety of types, shapes and methods of use.

The lens is described as a JVC video lens F4.5-45mm so it has 10x optical zoom. I am no expert with video but I was more than happy with the movies I took.

I found the 2mega pixel images taken in still mode exceptional and often better than those taken with dedicated still units with far greater mega pixels. Obviously they cannot be blown up huge but I got some excellent 15x10 images and only at A4 did the jaggies start to appear.

The bonus is a dedicated audio mode that I was blown away with so much so that I asked it to do unreasonable things and these were conducted far better than you could expect.

I got a 43 page A4 photocopied manual, I do not know if the retail unit will have to rely on the dreaded .PDF file on CD. Talking of software the only supplied software was a copy of Cyberlink DVD solutions for Everio. This I needed to play the movies within Windows. I could use either the supplied USB lead to store or transfer and Windows was happy to play the .WAV files and of course display the .JPEG files, but until the Cyberlink software was installed the movies could not be played edited etc. You could also remove the micro drive and place it in a card reader and transfer or play files in that way.

Now the only real drawback to an excellent multi use unit, the price, I know the first in any field is not cheap but at £799.99 I think that's a little excessive especially as a great deal was made of the cost of 4GB Micro Drive and since last autumn all storage has been in free fall.


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Comment by suzycue, Feb 14, 2005 17:07

Just to clarify a couple of points: The Everio does come with a printed instruction book and not just a .pdf file. Also, you can read the .wav files without the software as you can paste them onto the desktop and change them into .jpegs - not that you should need to as the software bundle comes with the camera when you buy it!

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