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I was never really sure if a budget camera would suit me. I'd decided I needed to change my current camera, which I bought 3yrs ago for £1200. I didn't really want to spend that much again. And at a price of a shade under £200 this was a bargain.
As with most people, I wanted something simple, without features I would never use, cheap and of good quality. A friend of mine had this camera already and I had seen the footage off of it. Full PAL resolution, anti-shake features the works. Everything that I essentially needed and the cheapest camera around.
So far it's fantastic. The 25x Optical zoom works wonders (never ever use digital!) sound is good and it's coming in handy all the time. I'm using the camera for track days strapped inside my car and the footage off it is excellent, the anti-shake smoothes out the footage considerably from what I can tell.
The battery charges fast although it doesn't last very long. A Mini DV tape holds 1hr of footage; the battery will last with the screen out 1hr 5mins. I find that always a bit optimistic especially if you keep turning the camera on and off the battery is quickly consumed. With new batteries from JVC starting at £50 for the exact same on found in the box. I'm determined not to require one.
It's no use buying a cheap one off Ebay or somewhere. They are NOT PAL resolution and most likely your phone could capture better video. This is the real deal like all the high-end videos but comes with minimal extras and is ideal for the average user.
The controls are straight forward as always with zoom on top, on off to the side. This on/off switch can be hard when trying to select off in the middle between record and playback modes. The other buttons, which control selection of options on the screen, are large and straightforward to use, similar to a DVD controller.
This camera hooks up to the computer Firewire, works fine and I add in all the effects afterwards. It's a fantastic piece of kit. I couldn't find better elsewhere.
Only other downside was Comet. They may have offered the cheapest price around but Comet Customer Service AFTER you bought the camera is hell. Waited around an hour for them to get into their warehouse and get my camera out after I paid. But it was worth it in the end.
Any questions about my experience please leave a comment and Il let you know what I know incase I missed anything!