Most people like to take videos of things, be it of your kids growing up in there day to day lives, or that wedding that were invited to, or even your friends birthday party where everyone got drunk and kept falling over and there was a lot of projectile vomiting, (straight to you-tube).
But whatever the occasion having that perfect moment embedded onto a recording device for all to enjoy for the foreseeable future is something most people invest in a video camera for, (although some buy one to record themselves with there other halves in the privacy of there own homes, but each to the own).
Anyway, there are many different ways to record those precious moments, such as on a mobile phone or even a web cam, but in my opinion the best way to keep those memories as fresh as the day they were made is to use the old fashioned video camera which is designed to capture your days events and nothing else. It won't make phone calls and it certainly won't help you navigate from Lands End to John 'O 'Groats, unlike some of the gadgets on the market these days, it will simply capture your moving picture and store them for as long as you want.
So, as I like to take video footage of different things, mainly family holidays, parties, weddings, my kids school nativity plays etc etc, I am the proud owner of a video camera and have been for quite some time now, in fact I have owned quite a few different one from many different brands. The particular one I am using at the moment is from a well known company called JVC and the main reason I am using this particular model is the fact that I have been using a slightly older version for many years without any trouble at all.
The JVC camera I am talking about is in fact the curvy GR D239E, which is a few upgrades higher that the slightly less curvy GR-DX28EK that I had for many many years before.
When my old JVC GR-DX28EK started to behave a little funny, after dropping it a few too many times, I decided to stick with the same style of camera instead of going for the more compact, fashionable one, as I was so used to this modals features.
So when I tried to replace my old modal with the same one I was offered this more up to date version which had the same functions with a little more to bout.
So, after a bit of bartering and the offer of a trade in with my old camera I walked away with what I though was a bargain indeed.
When I got home and opened the well packaged box inside I found...
* The camera itself
* Power cable, this comes in two parts and is about 2 metres in length
* Connection cable
* Remote control
* Single mini DV cassette
* Instruction manual.
Which, after a quick read of the paper manual, I noticed that this camera's functions were indeed like my old one only a little bit more zoom).
** FIRSTLY...THE SPECS...
* 800X digital zoom
* 25X optical zoom
* Size of camera is 56mm wide x 94mm high x 112mm deep (with viewfinder and LCD monitor both closed).
* Weighs just over 500 grams when in use, (430 grams without battery)
* The lens is 2.2mm to 5.5mm 25:1 power zoom lens
* The LCD monitor is 2.5inch TFT active matrix system.
* The viewfinder is a 16th of an inch black and white only
* Between 3W and 4.5W of power, depending on usage style
* Uses a 80 minute mini DV cassette with a tape speed of 18.8mm/s in Short play and 12.5mm/s in long play.
* Built-in speaker,
* Digital noise reduction
* Auto power save
* Can be used as a Webcam
The single connection cable, (included) allows connection to...
* S-Video/audio/video output
* DVC (DV out)
And for the power, to charge or for long periods of use
* DC input
All these connection ports are situated to the rear of the camera and are protected by a solid feeling cover which is stopped from falling off by a single attachment.
** MY OPINION...
I was quite impressed with this video camera, even though it's not as compact as many on the market and is probably not seem as 'in vogue', as they say, to the younger generation. But as I am not young and don't particularly care about what's in fashion and what not I like the look and feel of this camera.
It feels a good size, being a good handful, making me feel that I am actually holding something in my hand which is doing what is is supposed to do.
As for its looks, it has a rather curvy shape, unlike a previous JVC I had before, the GR-DX28EK, which was obviously designed by somebody with a ruler, a pencil and no idea of how to draw a curve, this newer modal was designed without the ruler.
It's got that little bit of style whilst looking a little on the bulky side, compared to other camera on the market. The buttons are beautifully positioned along the side so as not to protrude out too much, giving it a graceful look and feel.
Who ever redesigned this particular model really sat down and thought hard about making it look more easy on the eye and a little streamline too.
There are just too many setting within this camera to mention here as it would simply take to long and would probably become a little tedious, but I will have to mention a few.
* Recording modes... ie Sports, Snow, spotlight, twilight, mirror and more,
Although I have only played with a few of these, such as the septia and classic film which can make a movie look something special.
* Shutter speeds... to catch slow or faster moving images
* Fades and wipes... giving you the chance to add little pieces of magic between your videoing clips.
All the setting can be found by entering the 'menu' section of the camera and experimenting with the many functions on offer, the more you try out different options the more you will become as one with this device, (so to speak).
The power switch lies on top with a small light which lets you know that the device is either charging or charged.
The actual power switch itself has four positions...
* Full auto... stops the use of some of the manual settings.
* Manual recording... gives you full control of all the settings
* Off... obvious really
* Play... lets you play back the video you have taken.
The recording buttons are situated in such places so that the camera can be used one handed, most of the time anyway.
To zoom in, or out, of your chosen target you use the zoom slider which is on the top of the camera and is easily manoeuvred with you finger, whilst having a good grip of the camera.
The record button is situated just to the right of the viewfinder and is easily activated with the thumb so that you can pause/ record with a single slight movement of your digit.
Really, those two functions are all you need when in record mode, as you would have already set up the camera's many other functions, such as the modes, shutter speeds and fades, so the other buttons, the play, rewind etc, and the important 'menu' button, are redundant during recording. This is why these buttons have been placed away from the one handed record position and lie just above the LCD screen.
** As for viewing the image you are recording this can be done two ways...
* Using the LCD...
This screen swings out from its mooring and can be twisted 270°, in three motions, that's 90°, 180° and finally 270°, and the image stays constant throughout, (but don't try and twist it any further as it will break).
And even with the screen swung out and the camera laid on a flat surface it manages to stay up right without any wobbling
As for the LCD screen itself, well, although not massive, being a mere 2.5inch, it is so clear you would think it was twice its stated size, with the images seeming to blast out at you with pride, giving the image you are videoing, or have videoed a certain clarity that other more expensive cam-corders fail to do, (although the footage does depend on the condition when taken).
* The viewfinder...
Which slides out with ease and, although looking a little small, fits well around the eye to give you a great view of what the lens is looking at. When you do slide out the viewfinder it cancels out the need for the LCD and in turn saves the battery power, giving you a little more recording time.
On the side of the viewfinder, once slid out, there is a tiny little wheel, this is for focussing the viewfinder to compensate for each individual users eye sights.
There is the option of connecting the cam-corder to a television, either during use or to watch the footage you have taken. This is done using the supplied cable and takes a matter of seconds to get your images onto the small screen.
The 'connection' cable comes with a spider of connectors coming from one lead, this saves carrying many cable around.
These connectors allow for connection to a television, a PC or even a recording device such as a VCR.
The built in stereo microphone, is cleverly situated at the front of the camera so as to pick up the slightest of noises, and just above that is the remote sensor and the 'In Use' light. The sound quality is remarkably good, (depending on the videoed situation of course), and there is a part in the menu which allows you to stop the microphone picking up too much 'wind' noise.
With the speaker being situated on the right side of the camera, towards the top.
On the bottom of the camera there lies the doorway to the cassette enclosure, plus the tripod mounting socket for those that wish to mount this camera.
The cassette enclosure is opened by a little sliding button on the base, (open/eject), you simply slide this over and, if the power to the camera is on, the cassette automatically ejects from the housing with a whirring noise as it goes.
To put another cassette in you simply slide the cassette into the housing and gently push down the casing, the camera will do the rest automatically, then push closed the cover and you're ready for action.
The adjustable strap is of good quality, being quite comfortable whilst giving you the feeling that the camera is held firmly in your hand. In fact, with your hand through the strap I can actually let go of the body of the camera and it will not move at all, allowing me to move my fingers in the case of cramp.
And there is a lens cap which can also be attached to the strap so that it doesn't get lost during use.
The battery pack fits onto the rear of the camera, just above the covered connection ports.
The battery itself takes around 90 minutes to fully charge and with that it gives over an hour of use, even an hour and a half if you only use the viewfinder and not the LCD screen
There are other batteries which offer longer use but these have to be purchased separately. (there is one battery which takes five hours to charge but can give up to 7 hours recording time).
It is the position of the battery pack that is the only thing that I am not too impressed with, the way it is just stuck on the back of the camera, like a baboons bottom. This did make using the viewfinder a little uncomfortable as my cheek did seem to be pressed against the baboons bottom a little to much.
I much preferred the older models where the battery was neatly placed on the side and looked like it was actually part of the camera itself.
Other than that I have no hassles about this camera and its abilities in making a great video movie.
I nearly forgot about the remote which I found to be a handy little device indeed, it is around 100mm x 43mm x 15mm in size and fits into most pockets without any hassle.
It has most of the functions that are on your camera, such as...
* Record start/stop
* Zoom button
* Single shot button
* The play back buttons, Play, pause, rewind, stop, fast forward and slow motion.
And a few more which will help with the settings of your camera from a far.
I have used the remote several time indeed, mainly for playback but sometimes for recording features, and I have found it to be a very useful little addition to this JVC marvel. It saves me getting off my big fat bottom whilst I'm so comfortable watching what I have recorded.
As for the price of this rather curvy looking model, well, when I bought this a while back I think I paid around the £120.00 mark, although this was due to the fact that I traded in my old GR-DX28EK with it. So it should be selling for around the £100-£150 region.
A little on the pricey side some may think, considering that for another £50-£100 you can get a more compact modal like the JVC GZ HM330, or even more compact than that, but if you can get this particular modal for around £100 you'll be laughing as it's full to busting with little tricks to give some cracking results.
And again, due to the fact I had owned this camera predecessors predecessor,(if you know what I mean) I already had a case which this one fits into, (good old JVC to make some of there camera about the same size). Although you can get a package, which includes a case and some cassettes for around £25.00
In all, maybe not one of the most 'funkiest' of video recording devices on the market but it gives some cracking results for you to treasure, (or upload to 'you-tube')