Kinda Wish I Brought A Laptop
How many of you have done something called Impulse Buying before? Well that's what I did with this camera. I am a Media Student at the moment at college and am currently creating a 10 minute Promotional Video for my college, and I will be going onto University in September of this year to become... a media student, which again means spending more time behind the camera.
In my eyes at the time, this meant that I NEEDED a camcorder, and of course when I saw this almost pink colour (it's called Red but is more Purple/Pink in my eyes) camcorder I knew I had to have it. I had just got my bonus and decided what the heck I'll splurge. A week later I regretted buying it, when I decided that the money would have been better suited on a friggin Laptop, which I am still unable to afford.
Anyhow, as I haven't reviewed anything in a while, you're getting my review on my baby, who I have of course called Bob. I have no idea how this review is going to go, my camera review that some of you probably read, was only supposed to be a small review and became something HUGE by the end of the day, so at this moment in time, you're in the dark just as much as I am.
The Boring Important Stuff
* 30GB HDD
* 35 x Optical Zoom
* F1.8 Konica Minolta Lens
* 640 x 480 Digital Still
* Micro SD Memory Card
* Laser Touch Operation
The Fun Important Stuff
Weight & Size
These two things are two of the best things about the camera, first things first; it probably weighs just a bit more than my Kodak digital camera, I have been working on a lot of different types of camcorders over the past few weeks and none of them have been as light and small as this camera. Yesterday I went on a trip and the camera I used was one of those old tape things (I go to a tight budgeted college), and this thing was huge and it weighed a god damn ton, so after two hours of filming, my wrist was feeling the pain, but you wouldn't get that with the JVC camera.
The size of it is minute as well, it fits snugly into the palm of my hand with extra space left over, there is never going to be any problems with someone saying that this camera is too big or too heavy because it is a light little bugger and it could very easily fit snugly into your coat pocket, even jeans pockets if they were baggy enough.
This product that I am reviewing is Red, but I am going to also talk about the other colours available very briefly as I'm sure it's nice to know. As soon as I saw this camcorder I knew I had to have it, mainly because of the colour, that is what made it stand out for me. It is a deep mahogany colour, more of a purple in my opinion than a red, but hey that's what they call it. The colour makes the camera stand out brilliantly, it's very eye catching and it does look very stylish which come on girls, is the most important thing, when it comes to cameras. The other colours include:
The camera is very stylish, because it's so small it doesn't look like your carrying an old piece of equipment around, it looks modern and sleek and I'm sure you'll be the envy of everyone.
The buttons on this camera are very different to normal cameras I have played around with, I will talk more about these under the Laser Touch section, but at the moment, let me talk about them in very little detail.
Your hand sneaks through the strap very easily and I'm sure even if you have little hands you should be able to hit the buttons on the top of the camera very easily. These buttons are the Zoom buttons and the snapshot button, I have found that it doesn't take a lot of pressure with the zoom for it to go spinning out of control, it's taken a lot for me to work out just how much pressure is needed. The snapshot button is an easy button to press, however every time you want to take a still picture you have to change it to camera mode which got quite annoying.
The record button is situated to the right of the battery and is a nice size and you should be able to hit it perfectly. If you open up the screen away from the camera, on the side you get 5 buttons, all of which do different things for the camera including the On/Off Button and the play back button.
The best thing in my opinion is the buttons on the LCD screen, these buttons are laser touch. All is required is the touch of your finger and it'll do what you tell it to do. This is a great accessory and it made my decision for me.
I drop things ridiculous amounts of times and this camera is brilliant, I have read somewhere that it has drop detection sensors which when activated (dropped) automatically shut down the system and save all your footage so you do not loose anything, this is brilliant however I'm a bit confused how it would work if you were on a ferris wheel or even a swing (don't ask but we have done filming on a swing) it'll do the same thing again, so it sounds good, but in reality it might
The Camera's Features
I believe this is the same on any JVC camcorder, but on the LCD screen it's scroll bar and buttons are touch sensitive, which means gliding your finger up and down the bar, and it even has a cool blue light which follows your fingers movement which looks brilliant, it is not perfect however the scroll bar does get on my nerves frequently, because it's not like you can hold your finger on the bottom and it searches through the list quickly, no you have to run your finger top to bottom and then go back to the top and down to the bottom again and again, this does get a bit annoying after a while I have to say.
When your camcorder loads up, all you have to do is click on the far right laser touch button on the LCD screen and you get taken to the menu, here it lets you do a lot of stuff, I admit I haven't done much with most of it, as I tend to think if it's working fine now, why change it.
1) Register Event: Here you can tell the camera to give the recording a name, for example if you are filming the birth of your child, you can register that event.
2) Video Quality: Here you have a choice between the following:
a. Ultra Fine
Depending on which one you choose, your recording times change, so if you use the Ultra Fine mode, you get a minimal of 7 hours on the hard drive, however if you use economy you get 37 hours 30 minutes worth of footage onto the hard drive. It all depends on the quality of the footage you want.
3) Gain Up: I really do not have an idea about this, but mine is on at the moment and it says, it electronically brightens.
4) Select Aspect Ratio: Here you can select the video aspect ratio, you have a choice between 16:9 or 4:3.
5) Zoom: Select the max zoom ratio, you have a choice between the following:
6) Dis: The one thing I have had problems with is hand shake, my teacher keeps moaning about using a tripod, but sometimes it's just not possible, on this camera however this compensates for the hand shake.
7) Wind Cut: This reduces the wind noise in the background, we could have really done with this when we were filming our Principle due to the fact we were outside and it would have been a lot nicer. Mine at the moment is off.
8) Basic Settings (I'm not going to include everything here)
a. Quick Restart (Reduce Start Up Time)
b. Monitor Bright
c. Date Display Style
d. Drop Detection (Protects the HDD from data damage)
e. Demo Mode
The optical zoom amazed me the first time I got it, we have a pretty stunning view from our computer room, which covers all of the countryside around where I live, it is lovely and I now can see more of it with the amazing Optical Zoom that this camcorder provides, I have been able to see the houses on the top of the hill in brilliant quality. The camcorder uses a Konica Minolta Lens which gives the amazing zooming capability of 35 x magnification. It also lets you when using digital zooming go for 70 x and 800 x, however the effects of digital zoom is not always good and you're never really gonna need to use 800 x magnification to be honest.
30 GB Internal Hard Disk
The size of the hard disk is pretty large, I think a computer's hard drive, and well a normal cheapish hard drive is around 50-60 GB so you are getting half of that in the palm of your hand. My Maxtor external hard drive ways a god damn ton but this one barely weighs anything.
This Internal Hard Disk lasts for an amazing amount of time, depending on which mode you have it on, you can record from 7hrs 10mins to an amazing 37hrs 5mins which is just astonishing. If you really wanted more than that they have created a 60GB model which allows you to record and store 75 hours worth of video.
The Hard Disk Protection is just brilliant in my opinion, what it does is safeguards the hard disk from shocks, vibrations and drops, this is just brilliant because you are dealing with an expensive piece of software here and if you are recording something of importance then it is amazing that it recovers all of your data because my previous one, back when it was tape, we had so many problems with dropping it etc.
This section is dedicated to when you actually come to record something with the camcorder.
Pre Set Picture Title
I have yet to use this, so I can't really give the best little review on it, but I think it is a brilliant idea. When you are viewing or burning a DVD, you are able to insert something called a Picture Title pre-installed into the camcorder. There are a wide range of designed title images which makes your video looks very profession, who said you need a PC.
I was quite confused about the Quick Restart to be honest, it took me a while to realise what they meant by this. If you have your camera stored away and turned off, you are looking at waiting about 6 seconds before it loads up, however what it does mean is if you were wasting the battery by having the LCD screen shut but not having the camera off, then all you need to do is flip open the LCD screen and hey presto it's on. I think this is a bit of a cheat, because it takes way too long to turn on in the first place.
Still Image Quality
When it comes to the Still Images, I have heard quite a few people moaning about the still image quality, you are looking at 1.3 mega pixels and my camera on my mobile phone is a lot better than that, I have always been confused about using stills on a camcorder as the footage that you get, you can take a still from anyway. Anyhow, there is no point buying this just because of the still camera on it, it's not really good at all.
Recording could not be easier, there is no lens cap, so you don't have something dangling down near your arm when filming, it's all put fixed into the camcorder, and all you have to do is flick a switch at the side of the lens and hey presto you can see. Make sure you turn the camera on, and then point, shoot and press the button on the back with the red line. This is also a pause button as well, to be honest it really couldn't be any easier, which is brilliant because I am still a novice.
To view what you have filmed, is just as easy as it was to record the images in the first place, I found this one to be so much simpler than the one I have been using at college, I've been working on it for the past three/four weeks and I still have no idea how to do video playback on it. With this camcorder, open up the LDC screen on the side is a button which says SELECT Play/Rec and use the Laser Touch Scroll Bar to go through the thumbnails until you find the one you want to view and then press OK and your viewing the footage. Just brilliant and so easy to do, I really wish I had took this on one of our filming sessions, I am now having to wait till we come to edit to see how it went.
With the Everio Camcorder you get a disk which is software which allows you to edit, view and just deal with what you have filmed to be honest. It couldn't be easier to upload your camera to the computer, the only thing I had problems with is finding the bloody USB compartment as they are so well hidden. The USB compartment is underneath the lens and just to the left of the speakers, it really is well hidden and it took me a while to find this.
All you have to do is plug one end of the cable which is provided into the slot and then into your USB on the computer and it should automatically connect. If you want, stick in the disk and you get complete and brilliant control over the footage that you have taken.
Battery Life/Battery Charge up Time
It really doesn't take long to charge up this battery, I can't seem to find anywhere on the camera which tells you how far it's got but anyhow, it really doesn't take too long to charge up the battery and it lasts for a good two hours maximum when you've used it. I managed to use my charm and get a free battery with the camera and considering I got it with £50 already it was a bargain. I would recommend having a spare battery, as it only lasts for 2 hours full filming at most, so if you want to do more, then you're screwed.
With the camcorder you get a disk which has something called PowerCinema on it, this allows you to view, edit and just deal with your footage in every way possible, I really haven't had much in the way of time when filming decent footage with this camera but I have to say, I can see that this software is going to be brilliant and I'm sure it'll help me out greatly.
Now onto the Instruction Booklet, I have looked everywhere and no where does it include an instruction booklet, which really didn't help when it came to writing this review, the most I could get off the Internet including their website, was from amazon and then it wasn't much in the way of explanation. This is a great disappointment as you really do expect some help, it may be a simple camera, but I'm sure I'm missing out on some of the features because I do not know if they exist. A great disappointment and I really wish that they would bloody well create one even if it is on the website.
I amazingly found myself quite a good deal when I brought this camera, I was a bit pissed off when I saw the same deal in Argos but with a cheaper starting price, but hey, it always happens. You are really looking at paying in the range of £230 or above. I managed to get mine for about this price, but I got a bag and extra battery pack with this as well.
Ease of Use
Do I find the camcorder easy to use? In reality it is an easy camera, the only thing that I find annoying is the fact that there was no instruction manual provided with the camcorder so there are probably countless things that I am missing.
Charging- It really isn't hard to charge up the battery, the battery slots onto the back of the camera really easily and it just requires you plugging the cable into the AV compartment and then into the mains and it should have you charged in no time.
Holding- This is something that the camera is brilliant with, I have been working with some really bulky cameras and this camcorder is vastly different. It fits into the palm of your hand and you are able to reach all of the buttons easily.
Recording- It really doesn't take a lot to record with this baby, it's pretty much point and shoot (press one button) and hey presto your recording, anyone can do it and it's one of the reasons why I do like this camera because it is incredibly easy to record.
Playback- This again is incredibly easy, I've been working with a camcorder where I can't work out how to playback the footage I have filmed. This camera takes two, three steps to get you to the playback section and you can watch it in seconds.
Upload- It really is easy to upload the camcorder to the computer, even a computer technophobe could easily do it and it takes seconds to do, this is brilliant as you really don't want it to be too complicated. Just remember to have the camera on though, or it will not connect.
Zoom- The zoom on here is just magnificent, I have been using it whilst reviewing the product and I can see things in the distance which are just blurry to my eyes normally. It is simple to use the blur, it's probably best to get used to it before you use it within your footage as you can go in too quick and ruin the moment.
The camcorder is just brilliant, there is no doubt about it, I do have my qualms however, but I'll break it down here.
Lightweight: The camera is incredibly light, if you have baggy jeans you could easily slot it into a pocket and carry it around with you and not find your jeans around your ankles because of the sheer weight of the thing.
Small: The camera is very compact and it fits into the palm of your hand very easily, this for me is important as I hate having to carry around something heavy and bulky.
Colour: The colour makes the camera so stylish in my opinion, it's a deep mahogany and it really does look lovely, I am really glad I brought this colour.
Easy: The camera is incredibly easy to use, there is not much in the way of knowledge needed when using the camcorder and it really is a case of trial and error and once you get used to it, you should become an expert on this camera.
Battery Charge: It is amazingly quick to charge up the battery, I have found camcorders before to take hours to charge up even just half way.
LCD Screen: It's brilliant, I haven't really talked about this in the review but I really have to say that I think the quality of what you see on the LCD screen is just brilliant and the fact that it swivels around so that you can point the camera at yourself and see yourself within the LCD screen is brilliant.
Laser Touch: This is also a downside in my opinion, it was the reason I brought the camera in the first place and the buttons are brilliantly easy to use and there is no real problems when it comes to that, however the scroll laser touch does get on my nerves.
Optical Zoom: The Optical Zoom is just amazing, I can really get quite far and see things clearly which to the naked eye just look like blobs this is something that is fantastic. The camera I have been working on recently, even though it's supposed to have a good zoom blurred very quickly, where as this camera does not.
30 GB Hard Disk: This is just brilliant, I don't think I'll ever need this amount of storage but the camera does provide it, what amazes me even more is they've enclosed it into such a small container.
HDD Protection: This saves your data when the camera is dropped, what more could you ask for?
Quick Restart: This is just a bit ridiculous to be honest, every camera I've worked with even the tape one has the same thing, so it's not really a great add on. Maybe a quick start upload would have been a lot better and worth the money.
Still Image Quality: You can probably get better still images from your mobile phone; do not buy the camcorder because of the still images because you'll be disappointed. They are not brilliant quality, however because the camcorder itself is great quality, you can take stills from the video footage.
Instruction Manual: Or should I say lack of one, this enraged me quite a bit as you really expect them to put a bloody instruction manual within the box as come on, if you don't know much about cameras they could really help you out.
Price: You are looking at paying over £200, this is A LOT of money and considering the amount of times I'll probably use it, I wish I saved my money for a laptop or something that I'll use time and time again.
Low Light: It doesn't fare well in low light and the pictures become quite grainy which is a right shame as I thought it would work brilliantly well in low light.
This review was from the perspective of someone who doesn't know too much about camcorders so sorry there isn't much on the techy side of things because seriously I would have had no idea. I think the JVC Everio is a great little camcorder and I think that if you want a basic camcorder then the Everio is for you.
If you are looking for a camcorder which is light, compact but still does a good job then this camera is most definitely for you, but the price is what scared me off a little and still does, because I really don't need the camera at the moment and I really wish I had spent the money on something more productive. However I have another filming session on Monday, and I will be taking my lovely camcorder with me to see what footage I can get out of it, and see if it's better than the crappy one that my teachers been boasting about.
Overall if you have the cash spare then this camera is for you, if you don't, buy something that you're actually going to use other than on holidays or something like this, I just pray that I need to use this camera at Uni or it really is going to be a waste of money.
I hope you enjoyed this review; I have been struggling to find things to review and was amazed I hadn't reviewed this already. Please comment, as they make me smile :D