The camcorder measured a color error of 1. JVC has shown us very accurate colors on most of its models this year, but the GZ-HM takes home first prize in this test. More on how we test color. In the Error Map shown above, you can see the GZ-HM produced nearly all the colors in our test chart with sublime accuracy. It was most accurate with greens and yellows, but it did very well across the board. The HM has no color modes, so what you see in auto mode is what you get as far as color is concerned.

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To see why we selected it and read about our other awards, check out the CamcorderInfo. The camcorder measured a color error of 1. JVC has shown us very accurate colors on most of its models this year, but the GZ-HM takes home first prize in this test. More on how we test color. It was most accurate with greens and yellows, but it did very well across the board. The HM has no color modes, so what you see in auto mode is what you get as far as color is concerned.

Below is a sample image taken from our color testing. The HM, however, produced more vivid colors and had better color accuracy in our testing. Determining how well a camcorder captures colors has a lot to do with personal preference.

Some people like lots of saturation, some people like bright colors, and some people like more faded tones. In low light, the HM showed us faded colors and it registered a saturation level of just This is a little below average for a camcorder of its class.

More on how we test low light color. The rest of the camcorders in this set had even worse color accuracies than the GZ-HM, with the closest competitor being the Canon HF20, which retained a fair amount of saturation and color depth. This is a good showing for the camcorder and it is roughly the same amount of noise we measured on the GZ-HM More on how we test noise. The crops above really tell this story better than we can describe.

The most impressive thing to note about the images above is the amount of detail captured by the Canon HF JVC has shown a trend this year of manufacturing camcorders that are excellent in bright light situations, but have some severe problems when shooting under less-than-ideal lighting conditions. The camcorder does offer an auto slow shutter feature engaged by setting the gain level to auto , which will boost low light performance.

Read the next two sections of this review for complete details. More on how we test low light sensitivity. The camcorder averaged 1. More on how we test low light noise. Part of the reason the GZ-HM did so well with this test probably has to do with the fact that the camcorder captured such a blurred image in low light. Both the HM and SD20 had both blurry images and low noise in this test: blurring obscures desirable details as well as undesirable details like noise. The GZ-HM showed a significant drop in color accuracy when we lowered the lights for our low light color test.

This does not mean the camcorder shoots at p it is still i ; there is simply a conversion process that allows the video to play as p on compatible televisions. Still, we found the camcorder to capture very smooth motion in our testing. Unsurprisingly, it also had more artifacting and less detail than the higher-end consumer HD camcorders.

The camcorder has a larger sensor than most mid-range models and it makes good use of its enhanced specs. The camcorder had much less noticeable artifacting than the SD20 and HM and it also captured a sharper, more detailed image. In addition, the HF20 offers both a 30p and 24p recording mode as well as regular 60i , making it one of the most versatile mid-range camcorders on the market when it comes to frame rates. The camcorder does have some low quality, high-speed frame rate options fps, fps, and fps , but the videos captured in these modes have strict time limitations and very low resolution.

More on how we test motion. Even though the JVC GZ-HM is a mid-range camcorder, it was able to capture a good amount of detail and a fairly sharp image in bright light. More on how we test video sharpness. The GZ-HM does have its difficulties. We did find it useful for scrolling through long lists of menu options and the operation sounds a small beeping tone help you recognize when the Laser Touch is responding. For manual controls, however, the Laser Touch can be unwieldy and frustrating.

In a lot of ways, the Laser Touch is like a touchscreen: some people will love working with it, while others will detest it. The menu system on the GZ-HM is simple in design—one long list of menu options with a few categorized submenus. You must scroll through lists in order to find the specific setting you are looking for—this, at least, is something the Laser Touch strip is well-designed for.

The Manual Settings submenu does not appear when the camcorder is in Auto Mode. Each of these submenus houses options that fit under those categories, although the placement of some options is a bit confusing like putting Focus Assist color under Display Settings. In playback, the camcorder has two separate menus for Video Mode and Still Mode. The menus in Playback Mode are accessed by pressing the Menu button—the same way you access the menu in Record Mode.

JVC does include a small bit of text at the bottom of the menu screen that tells you some information about the option you are selecting. The GZ-HM is a fairly simple camcorder, and you can let the camcorder do most of the work by running it in auto mode. You can still go into the main menu and make adjustments to things like zoom, stabilization, AGC, as well as display and media settings.

The autofocus was generally good, but we noticed it taking a bit too long when we shot in dimmer lighting conditions in bright light it worked great. The auto exposure on the camcorder was also flawed. It sometimes took seconds to adjust to a change in environment—far too long if you plan to use auto mode a lot.

In manual mode, you can switch between Whole Screen and Spot evaluation to determine how the camcorder measures exposure levels Spot measures the light at the center of the frame and adjusts exposure accordingly. If you find yourself shooting a subject with a strong light behind them, you can turn backlight compensation on to help the camcorder accommodate.

Certain lights gave the image a warm, orange tint, while others gave the image a cool, blue tone. With the auto setting, the light will turn on whenever you film in relative darkness. We found the auto setting to work a bit slowly, especially when we stopped shooting in low light it took a while to turn off. The light also has an extremely limited illumination range of about one foot.

This will result in some funny looking motion when the slow shutter kicks in like motion trails, blur, and choppy footage. Both camcorders share a similar compact design and both are roughly the same size and weight. The main difference, however, is that the GZ-HM features a different hand strap, and its right side grip is rounder and smoother. The HD records to a 60GB internal hard drive, which gives a bit more bulk to its right side.

The GZ-HM is more compact than the average mid-range camcorder. It is flimsy, cheap, uncomfortable, and provides nearly no support whatsoever. This thing is a far cry from the soft, padded straps you see on high-end models from other manufacturers. The hand strap is cheap, uncomfortable, and flimsy. On the right side of the camcorder is a groove where the strap can be tucked in—thus making the right side flat and streamlined. This is the reason JVC chose to make the strap out of the rubbery material, as it can fit into the groove much easier than a thicker, softer strap would be capable of.

We actually found the GZ-HM to be more comfortable when using the camcorder without its hand strap. You need to either put a comfortable strap on your camcorder, or make the body small and light enough to be able to grip it strongly without the aid of a strap. Of course, the GZ-HM has a couple of other handling issues worth mentioning.

Its Laser Touch strip is finicky to use, but you can get accustomed to it with some practice. It is a bit better than using a touchscreen when it comes to adjusting manual controls, but it has some of the same problems. The GZ-HM is also cheaply constructed, which we noticed first-hand with the breaking of two port covers during our time with the camcorder. In fact, the camcorder is close to being small enough to fit in your pocket—well maybe a tight squeeze into a large pocket.

It may sound like a minor detail, but the second card slot does make the camcorder more convenient, versatile, and portable. The camcorder lasted for minutes in our battery test 1 hour, 52 minutes , which is a bit longer than most mid-range camcorders last.

More on how we test battery life. If you want longer battery life with your camcorder, JVC does sell some larger, longer-lasting batteries that are compatible with the GZ-HM Larger, longer-lasting batteries are available for the GZ-HM The GZ-HM has a 2.

You can also manually set the brightness of the LCD with 11 increments of adjustment , and you can adjust the LCD backlight with settings for brighter, standard, and auto. As we discussed more in the Handling section of this review, the Laser Touch strip can be difficult to get used to and some people may find it a complete annoyance.

It does, however, keep your LCD free from greasy fingerprints—something a touchscreen system is not capable of doing. The problem with digital stabilization is that it can result in degraded image quality when used because it uses a digital pixel-shifting process to reduce the shakiness of your video.

Nevertheless, we found the system to work quite effectively on the HM Also notice how little the camcorder shook even with DIS turned off. This means the HM is weighted quite evenly and is a rather stable camcorder to begin with.

As far as audio controls, all the camcorder really has is its built-in, 2-channel microphone that is located just under the lens. In its defense, the microphone is well-placed and out of the way from wandering fingers or noisy controls.

The only other audio control on the camcorder is a wind cut feature that reduces noise from rustling wind. It has no external mic jack, headphone output, or manual audio controls. While it is common for mid-range camcorders to lack many audio controls, the comparison models listed below all offer more audio features than the GZ-HM The Canon HF20 includes an external mic jack, a headphone output, manual audio level adjustments, and a Canon-proprietary accessory shoe.

The software only works on Windows computers, but it allows you to do a variety of actions with your video footage. This is probably the most important function of the Everio Media Browser HD program and it handles the task quite well. We did run into some problems, however, with the software crashing on a number of occasions and failing to recognize our connected camcorder a few times.

Also, even if you remember to press the Upload button before you shoot your video, you still need to connect the camcorder to a computer and open the Media Browser HD software.


Firmware Download for GZ-HD300**, GZ-HD310**, GZ-HD320**, GZ-HM200**, GZ-HM400**, GZ-X900**

Caution Power failure during update may cause Everio malfunction. As we may charge the user for the repair in such cases, please read the following cautions and the software license agreement carefully and follow the update instructions. We recommend you to back up the data stored in the HDD and the internal memory before updating. Before updating, remove the SD memory card. To secure power supply during update, connect both the AC adapter and the battery to Everio. Before updating, be sure to charge the battery capable of shooting for 30 minutes or longer. Do not remove the AC adapter or the battery, or turn off the power switch during update as power failure causes Everio malfunction.


JVC Everio GZ-HM200 review


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