I've always been a technology nut with anything from computers to iPods to digital cameras but I've never bought a camcorder until recently. I had a trip scheduled to Orlando, Florida for a week and I knew there were things I was going to do there that I would love to have memories other than my digital camera - so I decided it was time to buy myself a camcorder.
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I sat down here at my computer one day and started looking around at different reviews and prices for all the camcorders that were out there but until then I didn't realize all the choices that were available. I always thought it was as simple as quality, zoom and user-friendliness but that was where I found myself majorly mistaken.
After about 4 or 5 days of looking at camcorders and learning all that I didn't know about them, I came across the JVC Everio GZ-MG630. There were many things that caught my eye with this great little piece of technology such as a 60 Gb internal hard drive that made it so you don't have to use SD cards or any insertable media, all of the different video export functions - especially the one touch DVD burning option and the zoom capabilities of this camcorder.
So then began my trek to go out and find one of these beauties since I didn't really want to order it online. After searching about 7 or 8 different stores I had to go to Wal Mart anyway for other shopping needs and decided to go to the electronics department there to be surprised that they had one of these in stock. Another nice surprise was that it was actually considerably cheaper than it was online, I paid only about $310 for it after tax plus another $25 for an extra battery since I knew I'd be doing alot of filming in Florida.
Well my new find quickly ended my shopping day since I wanted to get home to play with my new little toy. With only another week to go until I hit the road to drive 7 states for my vacation, I had alot of learning to do.
Now I am usually your typical male that has something against reading instructions when I buy something and this time it didn't hinder me in the least. The JVC Everio GZ-MG630 is extremely easy to get set up and ready to record. All it took was inserting the battery into its slot (which was already charged from the factory), opening the LCD screen and hitting the power button. So then began the fun of learning everything this little camcorder could do.
The first thing I decided to test was the camcorder's zoom capabilities. I went outside and started zooming in on the office building across the street from my house only to find that even at about 200 yards the camcorder zoomed right in on the stone wall of the building so close that I could see even the smallest crevices on the stone itself. The zoom feature is controlled by either the small toggle button on top of the camcorder or by the laser-touch controls on the LCD screen. After finally finding the max range of the camcorder's zoom capabilities, I figured it to be about 350-400 yards and still be able to pick up my target with extremely nice clarity. The only downfall to zooming in that far is that if you have even the slightest shake in your hands it become very hard to keep the image still enough to record it without it going out of frame and blurring.
Next I moved on to many hours of recording video of everything from nature and other things outdoors to my cat and her antics indoor so that I could get a good idea of the quality the camcorder provides.
Before I could view the quality of the newly recorded video I had to install the software that comes with the Everio. I read a few comments online about how the software worked perfectly with Windows Vista but it had problems with Windows XP. Well being that I use Windows XP this was the only part of this camcorder that I was skeptical about. The software does take about 15 minutes to install on a up-to-date dual core computer. After waiting that short time for the software to install, I spent some time checking out the different functions it provides and found the Windows XP problems to be completely untrue.
The software provides the capabilities to copy the video and still pictures directly from the camera to your hard drive and also provides the ability to burn the video directly to DVD with just the touch of a button on the side of the camcorder or to import the video to your iTunes program. The program itself is extremely easy to use and very user-friendly. Thumbnail images of each video you recorded are given to you within the program so that you can easily navigate your videos without any hassle and also allows the playback of the video in the program itself as well. There are also options within the program to edit the videos as well as add animated graphics and captions to your videos which are great for making "movie-type" videos.
There are also many smaller features that made me love my new camcorder even more such as the quick-start feature that allows the camcorder to turn on for you as soon as the LCD screen is opened and when you close the LCD screen the camera shuts off, the laser touch buttons which allow for much easier control and selection of the menus and zoom capabilities of the camera, the crystal clear audio the camcorder provides, the small light in the front of the camera for those dark places you might want to record and how comfortable it is and hoe easily it fits in he palm of my hand.
After now returning from my trip and spending countless hours recording video with my new Everio, there is only one bad thing I can say about it and that is the life of the battery that comes with it. If it wasn't for the faact that I bought a second battery, that coincidentally lasted about 4 or 5 times longer than the stock battery, I would have lost the chance to film some of the great stuff that I experienced. The stock battery, fully charged, only lasted about 90 minutes or so which in my opinion isn't very much at all for a camcorder. So make sure you purchase an extra battery with this camcorder.
All in all, for just over $300 I couldn't have asked for a better camcorder for my needs. It does everything I need and then some which leaves me very satisfied with my purchase.
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Amount Paid (US$): 310
Recommended for: Home and Families - Keep Memories of Family Vacations