JVC GZ-MG330 review

£254
Price when reviewed

As the second cheapest camera on test here – only the Sanyo VPC-CG9 costs less – we didn’t expect the JVC GZ-MG330 to offer the same features and quality as the pricier, award-winning Sanyo HD1000 or Panasonic HDC-HS9.

JVC GZ-MG330 review

Despite this, it looks remarkably good on paper. The 30GB hard disk is large, and the JVC’s modest maximum resolution of 720 x 576 will let you fit more than seven hours of footage on it. Compared with the £70-cheaper CG9’s stingy 40MB, this seems like great value, especially since microSDHC cards can be used to add to it if needed. We would have preferred to have seen SD cards used, but this is picking holes in an otherwise exemplary storage offering.

The camera also has a powerful 35x optical zoom, but unfortunately the electronic image stabilisation leaves much to be desired, so images can quickly become unwatchable unless you’re using a tripod when zooming.

And, once you begin to use the JVC, it becomes clear that the optical quality can’t match the impressive storage either. The 1/6in CCD is the smallest sensor on test here, and our low-light tests showed the impact this had on colour reproduction in darker conditions. The low resolution also looked grainy at times when compared with the HD resolutions offered by its rivals, while the larger sensors of models such as the HF10 and HF100, with their 1/3.2in CCDs, produced far more accurate colours and handled less favourable lighting conditions more capably.

There is also little flair in the design of the JVC. The body slavishly follows the styling of hundreds of camcorders that have gone before it and the silver finish scratched relatively easily, even during the couple of weeks that we used it. The menu is similarly unimpressive, while the “laser” touch navigation system – which requires you to run your finger down a column of blue LEDs to scroll through menus – is a frustrating gimmick.

Compared with the poor video test results of the CG9, the JVC represents a great leap in quality for a small jump in money, but unfortunately the same can be said for Sanyo’s HD700 over the JVC. For only £13 more you get an increase in resolution from 720 x 576 to 1,280 x 720 and far better image quality.

The JVC therefore seems like a poor choice amongst its competitors. Its vast amount of storage can’t make up for lower quality video.

Specifications

Camcorder HD standard None
Camcorder maximum video resolution 720 x 576
Camera megapixel rating 0.3MP
Camcorder recording format MPEG-2
Accessory shoe? no
Camera optical zoom range 35.0x
Camera optical image stabilisation no
Electronic image stabilisation? yes
Screen size 2.7in
Touchscreen no
Viewfinder? no
Built-in flash? no
Light? no
Number of sensors 1

Audio

Internal mic type Stereo
External mic socket? no
Quoted battery life 110mins

Dimensions

Dimensions width 51
Dimensions depth 119
Dimensions height 66
Dimensions 51 x 119 x 66mm (WDH)
Weight 356g

Storage

Integrated memory 30GB
Camcorder internal storage type Hard disk
Memory card support Micro SDHC

Outputs

Composite video output? yes
Component video output? no

Accessories

Remote control? yes
Dock? no

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