JVC Everio GZ-HD300 review

£590
Price when reviewed

Although it didn’t impress us that much when we reviewed it, the JVC Everio GZ-MG330 turned out to be the biggest-selling camcorder of 2008. With the Everio GZ-HD300, the company is clearly hoping to replicate the same success, but in HD.

JVC Everio GZ-HD300 review

The chassis is virtually the same as the MG330 – small, light, and available in three different colours, although this time they are red, black or blue. However, inside lurks much more potent hardware. The sensor is a 1/4.1in CMOS with 3.05 megapixels.

Video is recorded as AVCHD in Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) at up 24Mbits/sec, which is the highest data rate currently available with this format. Despite the HD300’s small size, it packs a 60GB hard disk, which is enough for 5.5 hours of footage even at the top quality setting.

With a 20x optical zoom, the HD300 has features that belie its size. But there isn’t much here for the enthusiast. It doesn’t have an accessory shoe or microphone minijack, and neither is there a headphone socket.

You do get a reasonable level of manual control, including independent adjustment of exposure and shutter speed. Manual focusing is aided by an assist function, which fringes objects in focus with a single colour.

JVC has even thrown in face detection, which attempts to adjust exposure specifically for faces. However, all these settings are accessed via JVC’s Laser Touch Operation, which is fun but not as easy to use as more prosaic systems.

So the Everio GZ-HD300 is very much a point-and-shoot camcorder. But that doesn’t mean it has inferior image quality. It can’t compete with the best premium models, but in good lighting it provides very good colour and the high data rate keeps compression artefacts to a minimum.

One area where the MG330 was particularly strong for its price was in low light performance. The HD300 continues this tradition. Although there are signs of grain, footage remains usable in quite poor levels of illumination.

Editing the footage won’t pose a problem, either, as AVCHD is now widely supported by mainstream software. If you want to watch your footage on a TV, there’s a mini HDMI port built in, although you will need an adapter to hook this up to a HDTV. It supports HDMI 1.3, too, so can output 1080p/50 with x.v.Color to a compatible TV.

This all sounds like JVC could have another market winner on its hands. Except for one thing – the price. Unfortunately, the weakness of the pound during the Credit Crunch has made newly imported camcorders significantly more costly.

When you can buy stunning 2008 models like Canon’s HF10 for the same money, JVC’s Everio GZ-HD300 isn’t going to be the budget success of its look-alike MG330 predecessor.

Specifications

Camcorder HD standard1080p
Camcorder maximum video resolution1920 x 1080
Camera megapixel rating3.1MP
Camcorder recording formatAVCHD
Accessory shoe?no
Camera optical zoom range20.0x
Camera optical image stabilisationno
Electronic image stabilisation?yes
Screen size2.7in
Touchscreenno
Viewfinder?no
Built-in flash?no
Light?no
Number of sensors1

Audio

External mic socket?no

Storage

Integrated memory60GB
Camcorder internal storage typeHard disk
Memory card supportNone

Outputs

Data connectionUSB
Composite video output?no
Component video output?no

Accessories

Remote control?yes

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