JVC Everio GZ-HM400 Camcorder - Black Reviews
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JVC Everio GZ-HM400 Camcorder - Black

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Technology Actually Improving Things for a Change

Oct 10, 2011
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Ease of Use:
  • Durability:
  • Battery Life:
  • Movie Quality:

Pros:The first time you see your own HD video.. of you & your loved ones..

Cons:Warranty, MSRP, Flash, Needs lots of light, no HDMI cord

The Bottom Line: Even with the glitches I've explained in my review.. this is one of the most satisfying tech purchases I've made. Easy to use...amazing video


A perfect storm of discounts, and coupons made this "out of my league" camera... actually affordable. List price was over $1500. Dell had on sale for $600 off and I received a Dell coupon for Christmas... My experience with cameras has always been dicey at best.

My ancient Sony 8mm would work great for old tech TV's. But tape technology and limited ability to process high quality made it a huge compromise. I upgraded a few years back to a Panasonic DVD Cam... I was dissapointed as it was no better in quality than the 8mm. The DVD media might hold up better.. but getting data on & off my computer was still annoying and took many hours of study to perfect... I bypassed Hard Drive technology all together

This JVC came equipped with everything it needs... Which is to say.. not much.. A battery, charger, USB, hotshoe & remote control. A full days charge (it will charge faster.. but I always give new devices a full day.) and I was off to see the new world of video tech... Picture someone who had been using dial up on windows 3.1... all of a sudden getting Windows 7 on fibre optic. A year later I am still blown away daily... Full HD video.. like looking out a window. 8 Mega Pixel stills, fully automatic, takes acceptable shots and you can pull stills from your video.

There is no power switch.. it powers up by opening the large LCD screen. The unit is light but has a quality feel. all buttons fall right to hand.. where years of experience has accustomed you to look... Zoom is on top.. record by your thumb.. so much for learning curve. There is a flap on the back side that accesses the charging port.. HDMI... earphones... and a proprietory adapter for Composite input to a TV (yellow red white). There is a manual focus on the front side, and inside the LCD screen is access to the HD socket, Buttons to choose video or stills and playback.. and buttons that access menus and frequently used features. It is really basic & simple.

My lack of experience will show now as I will be discussing quality points with an amatures eye...  My daughters Canon EOS SLR takes a better photo. This is not a studio still camera.. and it has very basic methods to change settings quickly.. you can get into settings deeper.. but by then the UFO will have flown away.. I keep this on automatic.. and it works perfectly for a lay-person. When you get an SD Flash Card pay particular attention to the class of card. This Camera has 64 Gb of on board memory and accepts up to another 32GB SD card. Class numbers define how fast a card will work... I went for the class 10 (Highest at the time - normal is 4)... When I depress the shutter button (Take a picture) it takes more than one photo a second.. I was amazed.. The camera makes the mock motorized film advance sound.. it just goes gzzd gzzd gzzd until you release the button. WOW! 

The video is what I bought the camera for  and it is impressive. Full HD.. HDMI right from the camera (The HDMI cord "mini to normal" is not included!) but when you plug it into your TV.. it s going to amaze you. So no moving parts... no tape... no discs... no maintenance.. 96 Gb on board holds a lot of video.. I had over 20 hours stored before I off loaded some to my desktop. I would actually keep favorites on the camera even after off loading in case I was visiting etc. and wanted to show friends.

Travelling to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.. I was taking photos of car numbers for some screen savers.. I was in video mode taking in the sights.. and with a quick click of the shutter button.. poof you also took a still.. that feature is one I used a lot.. You can pull stills from the video.. but I preferred taking the exact still I wanted.. even while videoing.

Peeves? Oh yeah... It is difficult in bright light to see if you're recording.. I lost 20 minutes of video driving around Charlotte Motor Speedway.. I wish I had that back... The focus can be stubborn and can pick up the wrong target.. It is very slow to focus at first.. and I have had to wait on it or change my shot to compromise. My Flash has quit working.. I was shocked to discover I have a three month labour warranty.. THREE months???... That was as surprising as the awesome picture quality. The software that ships is a little too basic.. and while you can, as I prefer, access the camera's memory like a flash or hard drive.. it can upset the camera into having to do a self-repair if you juggle to much data through Windows Explorer.

Battery Life is very reasonable.. the camera has withstood a couple of falls with no signs of wear (except maybe the flash). The zoom works very nice.. but get a tripod... no amount of anti-shudder software will fix 10X zoom held in your hands. I do like the LCD interface.. it's not touch screen.. but very close.. with a finger guided one way touchpad.. and touch sensing choices along the bottom. Again very intuitave. I can post video, if allowed, to demonstrate the quality of the video...

Odds & Ends: It is easy to point and shoot.. Tracking the Fly Over at Talladega.. easy to keep in frame. The onboard microphone does a great job.. and there is expandability for lapel .. or boom mics if you desire. The remote makes daily debriefs from your vacation a breeze.. you sit back with your friends & a cold one.. and have all the commands at your fingertips.. That's a nice touch. My daughter's prom gave me some low light video experience.. um... don't bother.. this camera both still & video loves lots of light.. the more the better.


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): 700.00
Recommended for: Home and Families - Keep Memories of Family Vacations

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