So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
JVC Everio GZ-MC500
- Styling, quality 3CCD imaging sensor
- Handling, 4GB hard drive on the small side, no AVI video format option
Despite the 3CCD image sensor and 5 megapixel still images, the GZ-MC500 is more suited to the casual moviemaker than the serious video enthusiast.
Price$ 2,799.00 (AUD)
The JVC GZ-MC500 looks like a spy camera, with matte black steel construction, an integrated flash and a rotating grip, allowing the camera section to move 45 degrees up and 45 degrees down. It fits snugly into the hand, with limited controls laid out at strategic points around the camcorder's body making it reasonably easy to access controls while recording.
Three 1.33 megapixel CCDs capture video, which the camera converts to DVD-resolution MPEG-2 video. It can record video in either 4:3 or widescreen 16:9 formats. The video can then be stored on the supplied 4GB Microdrive (or other CompactFlash device). On the supplied Microdrive, the GZ-MC500 can fit up to 60 minutes of DVD-quality MPEG-2 video. The camera can also take still photos at up to 2560 x 1920 (just under 5 megapixels equivalent, using the three CCDs).
The Microdrive can be swapped for other CompactFlash devices, and there a separate SD card slot. Video and stills can be downloaded to PC through a USB connection, or shown directly on a TV set via S-Video or composite connectors. PictBridge and DPOF are supported, providing you with several photo printing and sharing options.
Its 10X optical zoom (8X when taking still photos) was fast and clear, delivering minimal distortion at either end of the optical zoom range. A bright 1.8" LCD screen worked well, even when recording in bright sunlight--which is a good thing, as the MC500 does not have an optical viewfinder.
A small joystick controls virtually all the MC500's functions. A mode button on the left-hand side of the camera allows you to choose one of three shooting modes (video/still/audio). A dial for exposure settings is near that. While not the most intuitive control setup, it doesn't take long to become familiar with the operating procedures.
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