We’re going to be taking a trip to Germany in the near future and have been looking at updating our digital still camera with something that could actually take movies. And, all things considered, we would definitely prefer to have an HD camcorder, if the price doesn’t make anyone have a heart attack. This past weekend when we were at Costco we noticed the JVC Everio GZ-HM200 HD camcorder that says it has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 (that’s HD) and most amazingly it is just $469.99 (through Sunday at Costco.com maybe longer in the actual warehouses). And while that may seem pricey, and is certainly more than a non-HD resolution camcorder, it is about half the cost of the Sony HD camcorder which is the only other one I could find that does full 1080 HD. When I compared prices at Amazon, they had the black version of the camcorder for the same $469.99 price but I don’t think it has the same included accessories but it is hard to tell since they don’t tell you what you’re getting at Amazon like Costco does.
So, here’s a run-down of what comes on the JVC Everio that makes it so nice a possibility for the price:
- 2 SD/SDHC card slots, and it will automatically switch to the second card when you run out of space; can have 2, 32GB cards at a time for around 80 hours of recording time
- Facial detection
- Image stabilization
- Konica Minolta HD lens
- 20X Optical Zoom, 200X Digital zoom
- Auto illumination light
- 9,999 Digital stills at best quality (also 1920 x 1080)
- Remote control
- Quick start – just pop up the LCD cover and you’re ready in about 1 second
- Data battery so you can check remaining power and recording times
- One-touch export and backup to computer
- One-touch transfer to DVD
- One-touch upload to YouTube
- Direct HD playback
- As of January 2009, smallest & thinnest HD camcorder
And there’s some more stuff, but really, there’s quite a bit here for a sub-$500.00 HD camcorder I think. Of course, when you buy it at Costco you get a few more things that you probably don’t if you buy it someplace else. Such as:
- Carrying case
- 4GB SD card
- USB cable
- Shoulder strap
- AC adapter
- Audio/Video cable
So, the hard thing to determine is if this is really a good camera or not for us to buy. I’ve looked at the reviews at Costco, Amazon, and on the JVC website. They are certainly very favorable for the most part. Some say there are issues with recording in low-light situations but that’s about the worst of it, I think. Altogether, at Amazon there are no reviews giving it less than 3 stars and at JVC none less than 4 stars. However, at Costco someone gives it a 1 star but I am not sure they actually own this camera and one person gives it only 2 stars because they found it did a poor recording job in low light situations. Many seem really unimpressed by the software but I won’t be using that as it is for the PC and I’ve got a Mac, so to me that doesn’t matter too much. I don’t think I’ve ever used the software I’ve gotten with any of my cameras, come to think of it. Overall, it’s gotten really good reviews I would say; certainly the good far outweigh the couple of negative ones I read.
I like the idea of having just one camera that could truly take video, more than just a minute, and digital stills too. It’s always nice to carry less stuff rather than more, I find. But I still find myself waffling on purchasing this or not. We’ve been looking for a nice HD camcorder for quite some time but the prices have always kept us from really considering it. And while this isn’t cheap, by any means, it is priced very reasonably for what you get in comparison to other cameras I think.
I think I will go ahead and buy it so that I can try it out at home to judge the quality and ease of use for myself. I know that if I end up really thinking it’s a colossal waste of money and luggage space, then I can take it back within 90 days to Costco. Plus, we just got our Executive Membership rebate for the year, so I can go spend that on this new camera, right?
UPDATE, 2009.08.04: There’s currently a manufacturer’s instant rebate on this camcorder, through the end of August, that reduces the price to $449.99 ($499.99 – $50.00 rebate) in the warehouses. I’m going to be taking mine back and buying it again, so that I can get a refund for that extra $20.00+taxes that I paid buying it last week. By the way, this camera is no longer for sale on Costco.com at all.