JVC HD Camcorder – To Buy or Not To Buy?

July 24th, 2009 · 9 Comments

JVC Everio HD Camcorder

JVC Everio HD Camcorder

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.

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9 Responses so far ↓

  1. 1 This Week at Costco – August 16, 2009 | Addicted To Costco! // 2009.08.22 at 9:48 am

    […] them having a $11.00 instant rebate we thought we should pick them up. We were buying them for our JVC Everio HD camcorder.  Class 6 SDHC cars are recommended by most users online for the best movie capture mode.  […]

  2. 2 This Week at Costco – August 9, 2009 | Addicted To Costco! // 2009.08.15 at 9:03 am

    […] was a pretty typical shopping trip to Costco this week.  Of course, we did have to buy a new JVC Everio HD camcorder, so that we could immediately return it to get the new, $20.00 lower, price of $249.99.  It had […]

  3. 3 Dave // 2009.08.09 at 3:28 pm

    @Rick: I think you are the one comparing apples to oranges. Everyone we talked to prior to our purchase wants HD, not just wide-screen. An affordable 1080p camera (which the JVC Everio mentioned in this post is) is kind of the holy grail for my co-workers with young children. Oh, and the pixel difference is 6x, not 4x. Wide-screen standard def is a 720×480 resolution which is a total of 345,600 pixels, while 1080p HD is 1920×1080 which is 2,073,600 pixels.

    I just did some quick research, and while Apple is not including BluRay writing DVD drives in any of their machines (I looked at MacBook Pros and Mac Pros,) there are a number of add-on devices you can buy. For instance, here is an external, USB 2.0 drive which means it can be used on almost any notebook or desktop: BUFFALO Black External Blu-ray Burner USB 2.0 Model BRHC-6316U2. Additionally, if you want something internal, here’s a list of all the BluRay burners available through NewEgg.

    By the way, there are *many* ways to distribute HD video besides burning it to BluRay. First, you don’t need an HDMI output on your machine to hook it up to a TV. A cheap $10 adapter bought on the internet will convert DVI to HDMI, though I’m sure it costs more at BestBuy (if they even carry it.) Any machine bought within the last 2 or 3 years should have a DVI output. As for other examples, I could burn it as data to a regular DVD and send it to family or friends who could then play it on their computer. Or I could just distribute it via a network connection. Watch it on my TV via TivoDesktop, etc.

  4. 4 Kimberly // 2009.08.09 at 3:05 pm

    Well, Rick, I completely disagree with you (obviously because I bought one.) I have an HD-capable television and would prefer that any videos I take from now on be in HD.

    I also find that your information about software is not too current or well informed. I did a very quick search for HD video editing software at Google and found tons of useful resources that you can use to gain more information on this topic. But the summary is that there are *several* HD capable video editing suites available for either Windows or Mac based computers, including the Adobe Premiere software that you claim does not support HD. And yes, I do mean both import and export of HD quality video. Also, you can currently burn a Blu-Ray DVD from a computer to put your newly shot and editing HD video onto a DVD to store. Now, here are just a couple of the places you can find out more about HD video editing software:
    PC Magazine Review: The Best Consumer Video Editors
    Wikipedia: Comparison of Video Editing Software

    Also, I was so shocked that Best Buy would have this same camcorder for that much less than Costco that I had to go check it out. And what I found is that you are not comparing the same cameras. Best Buy does have an Everio for just $399.99, however, it is NOT the HD version and the digital stills are only 640×480. The HD version of the Everio that is sold at Best Buy is currently selling for $527.99, that’s quite a bit more than the $449.99 that it is selling for through the end of the month at Costco.

  5. 5 Rick // 2009.08.09 at 10:45 am

    I’m not sure if HD really matters for the home video enthusiast at this point in time due to the other factors involved with Hi Definition video. Something to consider is that currently programs such as Adobe Premiere do not support high definition video. As a result, the hi definitiveness (is that a word?) is lost in the editing process and you end up with standard video anyway. Another consideration is that even if you DID have the software to edit HD video, you need an HD DVD burner to put said video on DVD. I don’t think anyone has those on their computers either. I don’t, and I have a new Apple MacBook Pro. So if you have the right software, you’re limited to watching the HD video on your computer or using HDMI cables (assuming your computer has HDMI output) to connect the computer to your Hi Def TV. I admit I had my eye on the same camera at Best Buy for $405.99 – but as I delve into the nuances of Hi Definition home video cameras, I’m finding that it’s not really going to matter one way or another if I get a standard definition or hi definition camera – I think what everyone really wants isn’t so much high definition itself, but a camera that will will shoot in widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio. Hi definition video captures 4 times as many pixels in the same space as standard def, and therefore it is a more dense format. So when we talk standard definition vs high definition and standard screen vs widescreen, we are really talking about apples and oranges.

  6. 6 Costco Concierge Technical Support Services // 2009.07.31 at 10:33 am

    […] I mentioned in a recent post we were looking at purchasing, and finally did purchase, the JVC Everio HD camcorder through Costco.com.  We haven’t yet received the actual camera, though it should be here […]

  7. 7 Kimberly // 2009.07.28 at 9:09 am

    Can you take it back to Best Buy? :-) I do agree on the need for a still camera still though. While it would probably be okay to have this resolution if you were just planning to get 4×6″ prints, it’s probably not going to be suitable for anything else. It’s nice to have the option to take still photos with the same camera if you don’t have another one handy. But when traveling, carrying a little digital still camera is probably the best choice.

  8. 8 Marco // 2009.07.28 at 8:54 am

    Jeez we bought a camera from best buy for the same price as the JVC except it’s not HD! When I was looking at HD camera’s the cheapest I found was 600-800. I think this camera is a bargain. Although I would wonder about the functionality of the picture camera, I found its still better to have two seperate devices.

  9. 9 Kimberly // 2009.07.28 at 8:17 am

    Well, our plan was to buy this in the store. However, it was full price of $499.99 when we were shopping Monday evening. I don’t know if I was imagining that it was cheaper or just remembered incorrectly, but it definitely was not $469.99, as it was at Costco.com. So, in the end I ordered the camcorder from Costco.com for $469.99, including shipping, with sales tax of almost $39, the total came to $508.76. Which is still a really good deal considering that I can easily return it, hassle-free, to my local Costco if I hate it. It looks like they’ll be shipping it today, so I should have it by early next week, I’m guessing since they are sending it UPS (who never delivers early, even if it sitting in their Austin distribution center for days and days).

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