JVC Everio GZ-MG575
- Up to 50 hours recording, minimal image noise, decent low light shooting
- Poor sharpness, lots of image artefacts, colours are a little dull
JVC's Everio GZ-MG575 is a decent hard disk camera. It won't satisfy those looking for premium quality video footage, but the long list of features, relatively simple interface, and 40GB of storage go some way to making up for this.
Price$ 1,549.00 (AUD)
The first players in the hard disk camcorder space by JVC have consistently produced compact, feature rich digital video cameras that usually suffer a little in terms of image quality. Their latest offering, the 5-megapixel Everio GZ-MG575 is no exception. It packs in a 40GB hard drive, allowing for up to 50 hours of recording at the lowest quality setting; however, video aficionados will likely baulk at some of the aberrations evident in the video. If you're looking for an easy and convenient camera with a reasonably large amount of storage, then this is a viable option, but don't expect crystal clear footage.
Our biggest problem with the video footage was the artefacts that were visible on basically all straight lines and edges. They appeared as small diagonal lines and were present regardless of what we were shooting. They really detracted from the quality of the footage, particularly when viewing on a large display such as a flat screen TV. We tested on the highest quality video setting but it made no difference.
Aside from this problem, the video was fairly good. Colours were well rendered with a slightly dull look to them, and there was no graininess or noise to speak of. The MG575 did have a habit of overexposing high contrast areas, which caused a loss of detail in some sections of the frame, but the automatic exposure compensation did a decent job of adjusting for changes in lighting.
Low light shooting was quite well handled. The camera has a 'nightscope' mode which nicely brings out colour and detail in extremely dim situations. It primarily does this by slowing down the shutter speed, which means any fast motions severely blur the shot. There was quite a bit of noise evident and the MG575 struggled to autofocus in these conditions which lead to a lack of clarity, but this is no big surprise, and colours were well rendered, which is a good sign.
Meanwhile, still images are less than impressive despite the large sensor. They're fine for the occasional 4x6in print, but for any real sort of photography you'll want a dedicated digital still camera.
The unit comes with a 40GB hard drive which will record 50 hours of footage at the lowest quality setting. Of course keeping the above clarity issues in mind, you'll want to be using the highest quality, but even that still allows for nine hours of video to be stored. When you've filled the hard drive up, you can easily copy the videos to your PC, or use the direct burn function to burn to DVD through either your PC or JVC's special external DVD burner.
This model also has a large array of features. There are six scene modes along with both aperture and shutter priority mode. The aforementioned nightscope is on offer, along with the ability to manually adjust exposure and white balance as well as switch between indoor and outdoor shooting modes. Drop detection is built in to help minimise damage to data on the hard drive if the unit is dropped, and you can adjust the colour options as well as apply a few funky shooting options like sepia and strobe.
The design is relatively compact and sits nicely in the hand. It feels sturdy and all the controls are in easily accessible places, although there are a huge number of them, which may take some getting used to.
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