JVC GR-D750

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JVC GR-D750
  • JVC GR-D750
  • JVC GR-D750
  • JVC GR-D750

Pros

  • Above average video performance, cheap price tag

Cons

  • Lacking in extra features, ugly design

Bottom Line

The GR-D750 is a solid little performer that punches well above its weight; offering impressive image quality for entry-level users. If you're on the lookout for a cheap miniDV camera, you could certainly do a lot worse than this.

Would you buy this?

On paper at least, the GR-D750 is the unmistakable runt of the JVC litter. With its low image resolution, rudimentary feature set and cheap looking design, we certainly weren't expecting much; yet it turns out that looks can be very deceiving. From its attractive price tag to its above average video performance, this is one of the best budget offerings we've seen in quite a while. It represents excellent value for money and is a perfect introduction to digital video -- provided you can live without the bells and whistles.

The GR-D750 is a standard-definition camcorder that records video to miniDV tapes. While it might not be as fancy as some of the newer JVC models, it remains a perfectly adequate format for a variety of purposes. (It is particularly suited to non-linear editing, making it an ideal choice for those who want to spruce up their holiday videos with a minimum of fuss.)

In stark contrast to its 'cute and trendy' brethren, the GR-D750 is one of the largest (and ugliest) cameras in the JVC catalogue. With its dull silver-grey colour scheme and bulky, elongated shape, it looks about as cheap as it costs -- which is unfortunate considering the super-low asking price. Its build quality is also rather questionable; particularly the rickety side-compartment for housing batteries. It also lacks a retractable, in-built lens cap, leading to annoying 'clacking' sounds during recording. Of course, you could always remove the cap from the shoulder strap, but then you run the risk of losing it.

As with other JVC cameras, the directional stick is located beside the LCD screen, which can make menu navigation more complex than necessary. While intuitively laid out, the menu's appearance is as ugly as the camera (hey, at least it's consistent). Annoyingly, the menu cannot be accessed when the camera is in Auto mode, yet it gives no indicative message to alert you of this fact. This may cause novice users to think the menu button is broken, when in fact they merely have the camera in Auto mode.

Happy-snappers will also be disappointed by the lack of an SD memory card slot for storing their digital photos. While it does let you record still images to DV tape, this is obviously a poor substitute. Those after a hybrid device -- however rudimentary -- will therefore need to look elsewhere. Otherwise, the GR-D750 offers a fair array of modes and features for the asking price, including a 34x optical zoom, 16:9 and 4:3 recording modes, digital effects and transitions, adjustable exposure and shutter speeds, manual white balance, five AE modes and macro recording -- not bad for a sub-$500 camera.

One of the areas which most impressed us about the GR-D750 is its above average image quality. Coming equipped with a 0.8-megapixel CCD sensor, we were quite surprised by the sterling effort it put in, with footage remaining crisp and vibrant throughout the majority of our testing. Noise only became evident in dim and shadowy environments, where the image remained relatively discernable despite the lack of light (this is just as well, because the night mode is terrible). All up, budget shoppers will have very little to complain about when it comes to the quality of their video, especially during sunny outdoor shooting.

As you can probably tell by now, we were quite pleased with the GR-D750. Despite its numerous quirks, it offers high quality video at a price that practically anyone can afford, making it a highly recommended purchase. Keep your expectations low and you'll be pleasantly surprised.

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