JVC GR-DX97 review

Price when reviewed

The GR-DX97 is the smallest camcorder on test this month, although not by a huge margin. We found it slightly uncomfortable to use; it’s designed to be a palmcorder, yet we often found a second hand was necessary to hold it steady while we operated the zoom rocker.

JVC GR-DX97 review

Unlike its GR-D230 cousin – and many of JVC’s other camcorders – the GR-DX97 doesn’t boast a megapixel CCD. Instead, it offers only 800,000 pixels, and JVC hasn’t used any interpolation either. Therefore, maximum resolution for still photos is 1,024 x 768; this will be adequate only for email or web use.

The palmcorder achieved perfectly acceptable results in our video performance tests, though. In sunlight, there was a small amount of blooming evident around bright orange or red subject matter, but nothing too drastic. Under artificial lighting, a little grain was visible, but otherwise plenty of detail was resolved and colours were reproduced quite accurately.

The GR-DX97 has a limited feature set. Manual controls are available for exposure and shutter, although the latter is provided by seven Program AE modes, so isn’t as flexible as a fully variable control. Manual focus is available via menu buttons as well. However, while a mic input is provided, there’s no accessory shoe, no headphone socket, and tapes are loaded from the bottom. But then again, this isn’t a camcorder aimed at enthusiasts.

While video performance was respectable, the lack of features relegates the GR-DX97 to purely domestic uses. It’s good value, and extremely easy to carry around, but anyone hoping to take their video-making a little more seriously should look elsewhere.

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