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When my Sony MiniDV camcorder suddenly gave up the ghost I needed a replacement quickly. Although I have a personal preference for Sony products, the price of this JVC MiniDV camcorder couldn't be ignored, so I bought it and have been using it quite happily for a few months now.
The surprising thing about this JVC compared to a similar Sony model is that not only is it cheaper, it also boasts better features. Two of the most important features to look for when selecting a camcorder is the optical zoom (not digital because it reduces the quality a lot), and also the quality of the LCD screen.
With the JVC you get a massive 35x zoom - that's going to allow capturing scenes that are quite a distance away, or zooming in very tight to close up scenes. This was more than 3 times the zoom I had with the Sony!
The important thing about a camcorders LCD screen is that it must work well outdoors and still be readbale in bright light. I'm not kidding when I say the screen on this was like night and day compared to the Sony camera that broke. Even in bright outdoor sunlight, this screen is amazingly clear and sharp, I was really impressed with this.
While the LCD is open, you can use a small thumbstick to control playback, it's really instinctive and I didn't even have to read the manual.
The motor on this unit is very quiet too, surprisingly for such a cheap model. Again, the Sony a poor second best in this respect too, as it's motor could be heard in playback, which was shocking really. So the JVC wins on this aspect too.
I really can't fault this camcorder at all. At this price point you might expect some compromises, but I certainly couldn't find any - every aspect was pleasantly functional, and in most cases surprisingly cool!