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I recieved the JVC GZ-HD10 Digital Camcorder as a Christmas gift. Find that lacking a camera previously meant a lot of missed moments, the camera was the perfect present.
At around the £300 mark average the camera is great for beginners, not too expensive so if that you find you don't use it, it's not as bad as splashing out on something even more expensive. This camera is great for beginner's with plenty of functionality.
The camera its self uses a 1.84 mega-pixel CMOS sensor, the video captured with it is NOT HD although it is cunningly advertised as this as it does output full HD but does not record, when outputting, the camera up-scales the picture. In actual fact, the camera records in 1,440 x 1,080 AVCHD format, but does take stills in full HD.
Even at the non-full HD resolution the picture that the camera offers is superb with vibrant colours that aren't over saturated and good light levels. The amount of detail is good and all this from not even tweaking the picture settings. The zoom on the camera is standard although it could be improved with a higher optical zoom as sometimes you find yourself limited, and you can not also automatically switch to digital zoom after you have reached the optical limit.
Another couple of disadvantages that can be justified due to the cost is the manual lens cover that you must open and close everytime you are using the camera, this can become quite tedious although after a while I find myself doing it automatically; on some occasions I have left it open by accident though.
Another downfall is the included battery with the camera, it is hardly enough to record an hours worth of footage on and I have resorted to buying bigger, bulkier batteries to supply the power that I need. It would have been nice for JVC to supply a bigger battery with less of a footprint, the design of the battery space could have been better in my opinion.
The camera does however come with a decent built in microphone and the appropriate ports to allow connection of an external microphone for even better, more professional sound. Also included with the camera is a small LED light on the side of the lens, it's not the brightest but does manage ok in some situations.
The screen on the camera is good and the menus are simple and well thought out, being easy to navigate and tweak settings. You can also choose one of the three quality settings, the highest being video recorded at 17mb/s a second, matching much more professional cameras.