17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Perfect for the price, 20x zoom better than camcorders costing 5x as much!,
This review is from: JVC GZ-HM300 Dual Slot High Definition Camcorder (Electronics)
Before I begin I'd like to point out I paid $120 for a recertified version of this camcorder. That included the battery, manual and all the cords. If I had spent $1,000+ for this camcorder my review probably wouldn't be as positive as it is, but considering the performance of other ~$100 camcorders this is by far the best camcorder you can buy.
Probably the best feature of this camcorder is the 20x optical zoom. A good zoom is absolutely necessary on any camcorder. I've noticed some other brands of HD camcorders are only 10x or 12x and they still want $800+. I have no idea what people are thinking when they buy a camcorder with only a 10x zoom. That's fine for a birthday party or indoor home movies, but if you're recording a school play or soccer game you're really going to miss not being able to zoom in and see your child's face as they deliver their lines or score the game winning goal and smiles at you from across the field. Five or ten years ago every camcorder was 40x zoom, not sure why we've fallen back to only 10x but I'd like to see this trend reverse.
I've read other people complaining about the low light abilities of this camcorder. I'm not going to lie, I've seen better, but most modern HD camcorders don't seem to handle low light well, you'll have to pay $1,000+ for one that does a really good job of low light. When I say low light I don't mean christmas morning home video, I mean turning off the lights when presenting a birthday cake or sitting around a campfire. It does have a feature where it will record in low light but it slows down the framerates to the point where it's not useful unless no one is moving. There's video examples on youtube of this camcorder in low light if you'd like to see how it does. If you really want good low light you're only real option is a Sony HD with nightvision.
The dual SDHC slots are great. I only bought one 16gb which lasts about 90 minutes at the highest quality setting, 120 at 2nd highest, 180 minutes at 3rd or up to 7 hours at the lowest quality. I never record at the lowest quality, everything so far has been highest or 2nd highest and I can't tell the difference in quality between 1st and 2nd. So far I haven't needed more than 2 hours of recording before I could get back to a PC but it's nice to know I could spend another ~$20 on 16 more gb and record at the highest quality for 3 hours.
Nice thing about a flash memory SDHC camcorder like this instead of a hard drive model is if I had to I could just put another SDHC card in there but once a hard drive is full it's full, you have to download everything first to a PC.
When you connect it to the PC it gives a few options. I've always chosen upload to PC or backup to PC (not sure of the difference), but it does list record to DVD as a option. Not sure how that works, I'll have to select that sometime and see what it does. I don't use the software that came with the camcorder, I've always used Windows 7 to transfer the files over and edit them with Windows Live Movie Maker and upload them to Youtube in 1080 HD.
Another concern when choosing the amount of memory you need is to decide now what you want to do with the video. If you put your videos on DVD or Blu-ray or just leave them on your computer there's no problem, but if you upload them to youtube or other sites than just 30 minutes of HD video is 5 gigabytes which takes several hours to upload even with a fast internet connection. So if you do decide to get a 32gb card or two you might also want to call your ISP and ask them how long it would take to upload 32gb of video, you might be surprised when they tell you a day or two.