JVC's GR-D290 handheld digital camcorder packs a wide range of quality features into a highly affordable product.
- 25X optical zoom, great versatility
- Low quality still images, lacks advanced manual features
The GR-D290's ease of use and adequate performance in a wide range of situations recommend it to beginners.
Price$ 899.00 (AUD)
The camera can be easily held and operated with the right hand, with only the occasional adjustments requiring use of the left hand. Zoom and digital still image captures are controlled with the index finger, while the thumb controls recording toggle. A 2.5" LCD screen swings out from the side of the camera, and swivels up to 270 degrees.
The 25X optical zoom gives the camera great range, and delivers incredible close-ups in combination with the camera's tele-macro function. Zooming is fast and images remain clear across the entire zoom spectrum. The autofocus is a little sluggish when zooming fast, and often takes several seconds to catch up, especially at high zoom levels.
Video recording is simple with the JVC, with the automatic setting providing a quick and easy entry into the world of digital video recording. Some more advanced options are found in the manual mode. The GR-D290 achieves an effective balance between simplicity and versatile, powerful shooting.
Video is captured to MiniDV Cassettes. A switch located underneath the LCD screen allows users to switch to the camera's Memory mode, which records directly to a flash memory card. Only still images can be captured in memory mode, and the 8MB card which comes with the camera allows approximately 20 to be stored at the highest image quality (1024 x 768).
The GR-D290 has plentiful connection options, including USB, DV and AV outputs. Video can be recorded from the camera to a PC with the included software, while images can be simply dragged and dropped onto the computer. The process can be a little complex, but plenty of support is available for beginners.
Battery life is a little short, at only 60 minutes, but replacement battery packs are available with up to five hours life with the LCD screen on, and seven hours using only the viewfinder. Recharging the batteries is fast, but they must be attached to the camera, meaning you can't recharge one battery while using another.
The GR-D290 is as a versatile and easy-to-use camera, but it lacks advanced manual features.
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