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I love this camcorder - it is truly a step forward in design and has been carefully thought out towards its intended market
Every once in a while, a piece of equipment comes out from a vendor that grabs you by the throat and gives you a shake as it yells, "Look at me!". The new JVC GC-PX100 is such a beast.
In terms of camcorders, the GC-PX100 is quite different; the shape is different, access to controls is different and even some functionality is different.
Let's start with the shape.
At first look, you could be forgiven for mistaking the GC-PX100 for a small dSLR camera with a rather large lens on it. The entire rear of the main body is taken up with a 3" diagonal LCD screen that is hinged.
A folding hood is also supplied to shield the LCD from outside glare when necessary. The single rechargeable battery sits underneath the LCD.
As well as the LCD, there is a proper viewfinder offset to the left and behind a panel like affair that contains the majority of the controls. AZ small button on the left of the viewfinder switches between the viewfinder to the touch screen LCD.
Underneath the viewfinder is the on/off switch and in front of this is a thumbwheel to select the shooting setting. SLR users will be well familiar with this sort of setup and be very comfortable with it.
Below that again and further forward is an exposure control button and behind this a time control button. More on this in a moment. On the side of the main body are hatches for external mic, AV/headphones and DC power in. The top of the main body has a forward facing rocker for Wide/Tel and the still snapshot button allowing the shooting of 20 megapixel stills.
On the bottom rear left of the main body is a single flap covering USB and mini-HDMI slots. The front top of the main "barrel" of the super-fast f1.2 lens is a cold shoe for an external mic or other device.
Whilst wildly different from a "standard" camcorder, oddly the GC-PX100 feels like a step back into the past in its design, much like finding a brand new copy of a nice comfy couch you used to own if you know what I mean.
In physical size, the GC-PX100 is slightly larger than a conventional mirrorless dSLR style camera and at 600 odd grams with the battery attached, deceptively light and beautifully balanced.
The CMOS sensor in the GC-PX100 is a 1/2.3 inch back lit unit that grabs imagery from the 1.2 / 29.5mm lens that supports up to 10x standard zoom. Image stabiliser is of course optical as is the norm more than the exception these days. Low light performance is exceptional.
Storage is the SD card, and the GC-PX100 can record to MOV, AVCHD, iFrame and MP4 and of course full 1920 * 1080 is supported.
The LCD doubles as the main control centre for the GC-PX100 and has a very snappy interface that is easy to read and use.
As mentioned there is a time control button on the side, and in front of this is a knurled knob. This part is pure genius!
The marketing hype for the GC-PX100 is aimed primarily at the sporting fraternity with good cause. You see, this camcorder can shoot up to 500 frames a second and the frame rate speed can be changed on-the-fly by simply pressing the time control button and then using the knurled knob to change the speed. A large graphic appears on the LCD showing what speed is being selected making the whole operation a breeze. And it is very, very effective. Within a split second you can switch from time lapse mode right up to maximum frame rate, thus allowing perfect analysis of a golf swing, tennis serve, 10 pin bowling action etc. And in my particular sphere of motor sport, it is perfect for shooting high quality slow motion video.
Different scenes can be tagged quickly and easily for easy recall and up to 9 consecutive stills can be extracted from video for even deeper analysis.
WiFi is supported allowing the control of the GC-PX100 by smartphone or tablet and also the playback of video via ad hoc wi-fi networks allowing an athlete to watch a replay of their performance even they may still be on the track - as long as they have some sort of playback device.
I love this camcorder. It is truly a step forward in design and has been carefully thought out with its intended market in mind. This is not to say it would not suit a casual camcorder user - it would, just that it takes certain functionality a step further than a 'standard' type unit does.
In terms of an award for Camcorder Of The Year, this is very, very definitely on the shortlist!
And at $999, for the wallop you get for your money, it is a steal!
- We liked
- High speed shooting, physical design, lens, low light capability, high megapixel stills
- Viewfinder doesn't tilt
- Performance 9/10
- Documentation 8/10
- Features 10/10
- Setup 9 /10
- Value for Money 10/10
- Help Functions. 9/10
David is the owner and publisher of Australian Videocamera. He has a background in media dating back to 1979 when he first got involved with photojournalism in motorsport, and went from there into technology via a 5 year stint with Tandy Computers.
Moving back to WA, David wrote scripts for Computer Television for video training for the just released Windows and Office 95 among others, and was then lured to Sydney to create web sites for the newly commercial Internet in 1995, building hundreds of sites under contract to OzEmail including Coates Hire, Hertz Queensland, John Williamson, the NSW Board of Studies and many, many more.
David can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org