JVC Everio GZ-MG26
- Great design: lightweight, easy to use, compact
- Poor quality video in low light, relatively small hard drive
The MG26 may be one of the cheapest hard drive camcorders on the market, but its distinctly average video spoils an otherwise attractive package
Price$ 999.00 (AUD)
Sitting at the bottom of JVC's Everio range of hard disk camcorders is the GZ-MG26, the smallest sibling of five brothers. But this is no runt of the litter, sporting the same excellent design and wide range of features that has left us enamoured with the Everio series in the past. However, a smaller hard drive and distinctly average video quality mean it isn't all it could be.
Like the whole Everio range the MG26 is a beautifully crafted device. JVC has created one of the smallest camcorder chassis on the market and we really find this to be beneficial when carrying the camera on long trips. A glossy 2.7in widescreen LCD flips out from the side, with the five-way directional toggle conveniently stashed next to it. Like all Everio models, there's no viewfinder to speak of, leaving the LCD as the only way of lining up a shot. Fortunately it's of good quality; we had no problems viewing the LCD, even in direct sunlight.
With a lightweight frame and convenient control layout, the MG26 is also easy to use. We found it simple to activate manual settings while simultaneously shooting, which is always vital for experienced users. It's a credit to JVC that they have included manual options on a camcorder of this price, as we wouldn't usually expect it. Manual focus, shutter speed and exposure are offered, with basic white balance options. There are no aperture or gain controls however, nor is there an external microphone input. Of course, good design is one thing, but the quality of the video is what really makes or breaks a camcorder, and unfortunately the MG26 just didn't manage to impress in this area. While everything appears to be going well when looking at the camcorder's LCD, playing footage back on a larger screen left us disappointed. Colour reproduction is merely average, with an inability to capture the rich tones in brighter colours, and a tendency to leave skin tones washed out. Tweaking the settings can make things marginally better, but not to the extent that we hoped for.
Compression artefacts aren't overbearing with a relatively smooth and unblemished picture. However, we were very disappointed with the low light performance of the camera. Even in a slightly darkened room on a dim day, the MG26 really struggled to pick up light, leaving shadows over most of the picture. Compared to other cameras we were testing simultaneously, such as Canon's MV940, the results were very disappointing. We have found this to be a common problem in the lower priced Everio models.
Moving on to still images we were once again unimpressed. 640x480 photographs are just of too poor a quality to be really useful, even for standard 4x6in prints. There's no flash on the MG26 either, which makes taking some shots very tricky. There is a video light however, but this takes the form of a blindingly bright LED. We found it was more effective at making us temporarily lose vision than it was at illuminating the scene.
The video light is one of the features that JVC cut from the more expensive Everio models, so if you're in the market for some LED action this could be the way to go. The other extra that's on offer here is the whopping 32x optical zoom. This is about as big as it gets in the world of camcorders, and is sufficient for pretty much all uses. However do note, after about 15x zoom, the camcorder struggles to keep the picture steady, even with image stabilisation turned on, so it's necessary to use a tripod. Battery life is about average at roughly an hour.
Overall the MG26 is very similar to the Everio GZ-MG37, albeit finished in platinum silver and with a 20GB hard drive instead of 30GB. This means the MG26 can only take 4.5 hours of video at high quality compared to the nine on offer by the Everio GZ-MG37. For the relatively small difference in price we'd opt for the bigger hard drive.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
- 2 Sony Xperia XZ review: turbo-charged last-gen phone
- 3 Hisense Series 7 ULED 4K UHD TV review
- 4 Sony X9300D and X8500D UHD 4K TV review
- 5 Moto X Force review: Leading features from a mid-range phone
Latest News Articles
- Facebook adds Apple TV and Chromecast support as video push ramps up
- Remocam review: This security camera can control your home appliances
- Logitech's C922 webcam is the revered C920's vastly upgraded successor
- FBI faces lawsuit because it's stayed mum on iPhone 5c hack
- Jump the line for the newest Chromecast features with Google's new preview program
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: The new best Android phone
- Japan Robot, gadget and car expo slideshow
- Panasonic DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review: Best all-round TV ever?
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- CCDemand ManagerNSW
- CCContract IT Assistant (System Backup Operation) 161014/ITA/523Asia
- CCSAP FIORIACT
- CCICT Business AnalystACT
- FTFront End DeveloperSA
- CCIT Data AnalystACT
- FTSalesforce Subject Matter ExpertNSW
- FTIntegration Solutions ArchitectNSW
- CCContract Senior Systems Analyst (JAVA/Oracle) 161012/SSA/623Asia
- FTDelivery LeadNSW
- CCJava Developers - Federal Government experienceNSW
- CCSenior Full Stack Java DeveloperNSW
- CCAnalyst Programmer (12-Month Renewable Contract)Asia
- CCL1 Desktop Support - 3 days a weekNSW
- FTSenior Front End DeveloperNSW
- CCProject Manager - Payroll SystemsSA
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (CISCO/IT Security) 161028/AP/142Asia
- CCAccounts Payable/Contract Officer- NSW Government backgroundNSW
- FTNetwork Support SpecialistACT
- CCProject AnalystVIC
- FTSenior Architect | Perl | Linux |MySQL | Infrastructure | TelecomNSW
- CCSenior Siebel DeveloperACT
- CCJunior Programmer (Application Dev. & Mgt.) 161017/JP/221Asia
- CCAnalyst Programmer (12-month renewable Contract)Asia