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I recieved the JVC Everio GZ-MS100 for Christmas last year and since then I cannot recall a moment I've been disappointed with it. I've long had a good relationship with JVC products and this has continued in a similar vein.
The first thing you notice when you pick this item up is just how light it is. Sure it's compact, but some still manage to cram so much equipment in, that the weight becomes an issue. Not so here. It has a flash drive for recording your movies and images and this substatntially reduces the weight at only 270g, making the recording much easier for owners no matter their shape and size.
It's major selling point has been it's Youtube connectivity, meaning no more uploading to files, converting etc, etc. Now you plug in and upload it to your Youtube account and you're in. Easy.
It comes with the F1.8 Konica Minolta lens. It also has a very handy 35x optical zoom. You can also switch to 70x and even 800x, but in a camera this size the quality is non existent.
Advanced features include options to customise brightness and also adjust shutter speed. Another nifty idea is the 'Register Event' system which enables you to tag recordings. Very helpful for quickly finding particular videos if you use a large memory card.
As with most technology these days it posseses a USB port for connection to other devices. Also included is a built in light which comes in handy. Alas, it does not have a socket for an external microphone.
The camera itself is hand sized coming in at 5.4cm x 11.1cm x 6.8cm. It also has a touch screen which flips out from the cameras left hand side measuring 2.7" with 112,000 pixels. From here you can control the functions of the camera and watch what you're filming.
It supports Vista, XP and windows 7 so PC connectivity is easy, and included is a standard rechargeable battery. The Youtube feature probably mark this out as being aimed at the younger user but that should not put anyone else off. It is an entry level unit and as such would be useful for teaching the tricks of the trade for someone who will be looking to expand further into this area. Then again for the casual user it does exactly what you need and at a decent cost.
My wife and I bought this for our honeymoon to the Maldives and also because at one point we figured we would like to start a family. I don't know what else you could want from a camcorder and it has so far been perfect for our needs. The camera is very compact and lightweight so it is easy to carry around. The technology is such right now also that you now get a Hard drive installed which means no more faffing around with tapes or discs, just keep your laptop in your room and download into its hard drive when it gets full, although to be honest, given the size of it, we used it quite extensively on a 2 week holiday and there was still plenty of room left in it. Overall it is easy to pick up and use and gives excellent quality play backl, battery life is fine although I would always carry a back up just in case. the only downsides are that the accessories are a little expensive but still cheaper than Sony, but also the still images are not great so don't get rid of you digital camera just yet and there doe snot appear to be a night vision toggle, which can be useful. Other than that, its a cracker and you could do a lot worse if like me you are an amateur photographer.