JVC Everio S Dual SD Memory Camcorder Review
I purchased the JVC Everio S model GZ-MS120 at my local Walmart for $240. I also purchased a 16 GB SDHC memory card for $20. for $260 plus tax, it was more than enough for me. I was originally looking for a HDD (hard drive disk) camcorder but when I did the math, it was cheaper for me to get the memory card version. With the memory card empty in the camera, It states that I can get 3 hours and 50 minutes worth of video on the highest quality. That was more than enough for me.
My first impression was that the camcorder is small. It has the same footprint as it's HDD counterpart but it's about an inch slimmer and weighs a few onces less. I purchased the red version. It's a dark red color. Nothing too strong as to be gender specific. The camcorder feels a bit "cheap". I mean, it is a $240 camcorder so no one should expect 1080 p HD resolution. I like it. It's fairly a fairly small flip LCD style camcorder that does the job. One thing I found a bit disappointing is that it does not have a viewfinder. To me, this was not a deal breaker.
I purchased this camera to do one thing. To take decent videos of my friends and I boxing so I can view them later. On 16:9 aspect ration, it will take videos in 720 by 480 resolution. For some reason JVC formats their video in a somewhat uncommon file type known as .MOD. Doing a little research online, it turns out .MOD files are actually MPEG's with AAC audio encoding. For the less technically inclined, the format is a modified MPEG. One thing I did not like, the videos are interlaced. This means there are horizontal lines that distort the videos in order to be seem clearly on TV's. While converting my videos to MPEGs, I just use a softwarer to deinterlace the video. A somewhat minor inconvenience. I believe more video players like VLC already have an option built in to deinterlace. The Everio has a 35x optical zoom. It has a total of 800x zoom but to anyone, optical is the only thing that should matter. The picture quality is not so good in low light situations however it performs quite well outside in good light. Like most camcorder, the internals struggle to get a clear picture indoors. This is actually quite common for sub $500 camcorders. The quality of the videos are exactly identical to my friend's Canon Powershot SX-10. The Powershot is a picture camera that is just below DSLR quality and it also take good videos. The Everio can take pictures but it is really not meant for stills. For what I paid for, This JVC Everio will serve me well. The output is 720 by 480 resolution at 30 fps (frames per second). That good enough to captured our lightning punches. Ha.
I run Ubuntu (Linux) and all it took was drag and drop to upload my videos onto my computer. All I needed was a program to convert the videos. I use WinFF which is also available for Windows. It comes with a Windows CD however. I'm sure Mac users will have no problem as well. The Everio has a Youtube button which I have not tried. I believe it will stop videos at the 10 minute mark in order to meet the youtube time limit. The standard battery lasts about 2 hours of continuous recording. I purchased a battery upgrade on ebay for $30 and it would supposedly last me 5 hours. Anything thing to consider, I purchased the SD memory card version because it will last longer in terms of battery life. No need to use that energy to spin up the hard drive. It's just a standard SDHC flash memory card. Memory cards are getting so cheap. I figured buy one for now and get a new one cheaper later. I think 16 GB is more than enough unless you are going on vacation or something.
I purchased this camcorder for a total of $260 plus tax. I think this is a great camera. It's not HD but it will do me just fine. If you are not willing to spend $500 plus on an HD camcorder, then try this camera out. There are many competion in this line. The Sony Webby is a leading competitor. I was thinking about getting that but my girlfriend's brother has one and she says she doesn't like it. It's also slightly more expensive. I'm happy with my purchase. I went to Best Buy the other day and it was listed at $260 without the memory card. I bought mines at Walmart. Shop around, you could end up saving 20 bucks or so.
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