I have owned this camcorder for about 18 months now and I must say I am very pleased with it. I went for one with a hard drive as there are less moving parts to break while you are out and about filming. Also you are not messing about with tapes or discs.
The JVC Everio GZ-MG26EY is a very compact little hard drive camcorder with a 20GB hard disk, 32x optical zoom, widescreen, LCD display and many other features I will go into later. It fits nicely into a small shoulder bag and can be carried around quite comfortably ready to shoot if needs be. It feels very nice when strapped in to your hand and all basic fuctions are easily accessible with the one hand holding it. It is also quite an attractive little camera and can shoot digital stills as well as video if required.
What's in the Box
You get the JVC camera, a audio video lead to connect to a television, a charger and battery and a remote control which comes in handy. Also a lens cap and hand strap. You do not get a bag or holder of any kind so you will need to purchase one of these seperately. You also get a set of very easy to follow instructions.
This is a 2.7" widescreen for filming with and for playback if required, it will tilt both ways as much as needed and will turn all the way round if needed making it possible to film yourself if you want. It has a handy little joystick control on it which you use to navigate through the various menus and thumbnails of your video clips. The quality of picture on the LCD screen is excellent and is actually good enough to view your films on if you don't have access to a television. Note the screen is the only way of filming as there is no viewfinder but I found with my last camera , which had both, that I only ever used the screen anyway.
Filming and Zoom Facility
Filming with this camera couldn't be easier as I said earlier it fits in your hand very comfortably and I often walk around sight seeing places with it permantly strapped in to my hand. You operate the record button with your thumb as with most video cameras and the zoom with you first finger, and you can get your second finger over on to the power button to switch the camera on or off if you like, this all feels very comfortable.
Viewing what you are filming on the LCD screen is very easy and then zoom facility is excellent at 32x, although when zoomed in a lot it is very difficult to keep the picture still as each slight movement seems to move about a mile, but I am sure this is true of all cameras with good zoom facilities. I suppose you would be as well using a tripod if you wish to zoom in a long way. There is also a handy little light on the front which works quite well in close up night filming.
Storage and Battery
Everything you film goes on to the 20GB hard drive, you can set the quality at which you record and it will hold 9 hours of film on normal and 4.5 hours on ultra fine which is what I use it on. There is also an expansion slot for a memory card should 20GB not be enough. The battery is not that good really it lasts about 1 hour which isn't as long as you think really when you are out all day with it and watching things back etc.. You can however purchse a 5.5 hour battery which I haven't done yet but might do in the future as the standard one never lasts till the end of an all day do like a wedding for example. It takes about 4 hours to fully charge. You can use the camera for filming or play back while it is charging.
All sound is picked up by a small microphone on the front of the camera. This is actually quite good quality when played back although you do get a bit of hiss if it is windy, also the playback sound on the actual camera is pretty good.
One of my favourite things about this camera is the remote control. This is not just used for play back but you can use it to zoom in and out start and stop recording and to take snap shots. This is very usefull if you want to set it up and film a few of you and no - one is available to film for you or just for simply filming yourself.
Other features include Tele macro, drop detection, and a demo mode the menus are very easy to follow on screen with the mini joystick control you can alter the quality of recording to 4 different levels and can change aspect ratio from 16:9 to 4:3 if required.
The JVC GZ-MG26EY is very well made very good quality construction and is a very sturdy feeling little camera. It looks and feels very tough and you do not feel like you need to wrap it up in cotton wool when out filming with it like I did with my last one. The size is very good also it probably measures about 7" x 2" x 3" and fits perfectly in the palm of your hand. All the buttons feel sturdy and built to last. It has been on many holidays and dos with us in the 18 months we have owned it and we haven't had one problem with it yet.
An excellent video camera well worth the money ( I think we paid £300 for it 18 months ago) good make, excellent build quality very easy to use and handle, battery not good enough but better one available at extra cost, handy remote control good zoom facility widescreen all in all a must buy!!
Compact Everio GZ series camcorders are designed to simplify your life. Their large capacity internal hard disk drives mean you can record a great amount of video without a second thought. The up to 25 hour version records 7 hours of DVD-quality video on a 20GB hard disk. Additional modes let you extend recording time even further.