"Dirt cheap, good for average holiday video's"3.0 starson by ProDigit
laser led touch sense on the left of the screen,
wind noise reduction (audio)
Good handle ability, even with larger hands
Cons: Short battery life (we got upto 1,5Hrs)
Creates MTS files need recoding to .wmv 720 or 360p.
some functions like higher than 80x digital zoom make little sense
Photo's are low quality (upto 2 Mpix)
software suit loads extremely slow!
Summary: We purchased the cam because of it's pricetag (Sub $299 @ our local store).
The analog zoom of 20x works pretty ok, you can add zoom digitally to 200x, but at that zoom size you only see the pixels of the CCD sensor chip on your screen.
I found out, at 1080i, the cam zooms in to 40x pretty ok!, and the image is pretty ok with visual artifacts at 80x. Anything beyond 80x zoom looks pixelated.
It has digital anti vibration, with 3 settings (off, AV, and green; where green equals double AV. Single AV makes little difference in recording) which you can only enable in video to take zoom shots (for photo's; you can not enable this within photo mode, have to go to video mode).
Recording in zoom modes beyond 40x without anti-vibration is not recommended. Recording faraway objects at 80x with anti vibration at 2x is hard to do, you need a steady hand or stand for that.
It has a playback, video recording, and photo recording mode.
The menu structure in the camera is not very optimized. It took me (a techie but without video camera knowledge) about 30 minutes of browsing and testing before I found out you could set the cam to 480i. Instead of having the video quality and video resolution in the same menu (or even submenu), they are located in 2 completely different places).
Video Quality within the cam can be set to UXP. XP, SP, and EP.
EP being the lowest quality allowed me to record a video of upto 1,5hrs on a 4GB card.
The only other I would select is SP. XP and UXP waste too much disk space; while EP might use too much battery in trying to compress the video too much.
The difference between UXP, XP, and SP was not noticeable, and the difference between UXP/XP/SP and EP is so minimal that unless you compare both side by side, you won't notice any difference.
The software suit (provided on the CD ROM) when opening it up takes several minutes (of seemingly both disk and CPU being inactive) before it passes the splash screen.
Many times we thought the software crashed, and rebooted it, only when we gave up on it, 3 minutes after starting it, we saw the actual program boot (this is on a Core2Duo 2Ghz computer with 4GB of RAM, and Windows Vista latest SP installed). Here JVC could do a MUCH better job!
On average it took me 3 minutes just to load the software!
The software is not easy to handle, and in their effort to make it easier, JVC or everest or whatever, actually made things much harder! It took me nearly 30 minutes to figure out how to backup the video files, and nearly as long on how to convert them (menu structure and button layout are not on a very common place).
Video's on the cam recorded at 1080i or 480i can only be recoded to 720 or 360p .wmv video; all with loss of quality!
Instead of supplying the software suite with a way to convert 1080i to 540p, or quickly recoding 480i to 480p which would make more sense, or providing a small app to convert the headers of the mts file to avi. It records in AVC video format, audio I don't know, but presume .wav format.
Video quality is good enough for most non-low light situations. Candlelight dinner recordings will appear grainy and dark on the cam.
The camera bag provided with the cam, actually can fit upto 3 of these camera's (when stacked vertically, 2 when stacked horizontally). The bag looks good enough, unlike the strap on the cam looks a bit cheap and thin.
Camera comes without external LED for recording in darker areas.
You can buy a higher capacity extension battery at a pretty high price (I'll probably go and see the grey market for one).