I thought it would be good to take a longer term look at a few products, some of which will no longer be on the market but that will give an insight into the quality and concerns of different manufacturers. First up is this JVC mini hifi.
After a couple of years getting by with an ad-hoc combination comprising various wireless Bluetooth speakers I was sorely missing a 'hifi' box with good speakers and quality sound. After shopping around I settled on this product from JVC. I can't say the decision was very informed.
I remember seeing a very early Everio it did not have a hard disc but a MicroDrive I believe 4GB was possible. Here it has a full blown hard disc at 30GB that allows up to 37 hours recording.
Of course you would need numerous batteries to fill the disk on the new 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.
Not long ago all Camcorders recorded to tape, then some were dual tape and memory card. Now it seems that hard disc is all the rage.
I tend to see lots more digital cameras than camcorders, however this may have an advantage in that it is easier to see the developments as I only see two or three units a year. It is light at less than 400grams, the dimensions are 11x6.5x6cm, the width increases by 7cm with the TFT open. The 5x4cm screen is twistable through 270degrees meaning that you can still view when shooting at strange angles.
Having recently reviewed another such unit I immediately knew the difference between entry level and deluxe models, you do pay extra but you get so much more.
You notice the things you did not have immediately, then you realise other goodies
that your did not even think about. Basically this is a DVD and Hard Disc recorder and
player. On the DVD side it can record to DVD-R, DVD-RW and DVD RAM discs. However I
am sure most people will record in the first place to hard disc. This means that you
can view and should you wish to keep it you can then dub it to DVD.
This is big it is also heavy and the box it comes in would probably rate as deluxe accommodation by a homeless person. The main box does even contain the DVD player only its speakers and sub woofer.
Having looked at Video and DVD, DVD and Hard Disc, it seems a logical progression to look at a unit that has all three and that is what the JVC DR-MX1S is, now if only the name was something catchy.
No tape involved you can record to DVD either R or RW - or to the built in hard disc certainly a vast improvement on the quality associated with VHS tape.
Camcorders are not something I see a lot of, however for that very reason I can probably spot the differences easier than someone looking at them week in week out.
They are definitely getting smaller and lighter and now having a 'card' as well as DV tape means that still images can be stored separately. My knowledge is not so great that the manual can be disguarded without reference. I often know what I want to achieve but not the way to do it on the unit. Dimensions are 12.5x9x4.5cm and the weight is just over 500grams.
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.