JVC Everio GZ-MG505
- Good quality video, Easy to use, Small
- Poor quality still images, Short battery life, No viewfinder
A great little camcorder only let down by poor quality still images and below par battery life.
Price$ 1,999.00 (AUD)
JVC's Everio GZ-MG505 hard drive based camcorder offers the buyer solid performance. With triple CCD technology, a 30GB hard drive, five megapixel still images and a compact frame, the GZ-MG505 sounds very impressive on paper. In reality, while its video performance is quite impressive, disappointing battery life and poor quality still images hold it back from being a truly excellent product.
Hard disk drive cameras is an area a lot of companies are starting to explore, however JVC have been perfecting them for quite some time, and their experience shows. Compared to tape and DVD based models it seems so much easier, storing all the video in one place, negating the need to constantly switch media. JVC has included a respectable 30GB of storage with the GZ-MG505, which equates to just over seven hours worth of high quality video, or more than 21 camcorder DVDs. The one thing that isn't necessarily improved by using a hard drive is video quality, as both DVD and HDD use MPEG-2 compression.
In this case, however, we found the video quality of the camcorder to be very good. Compared to other HDD models, such as Sony's DCR-SR100, we found considerably fewer traces of compression creeping into footage. This generally means a smoother picture, though we weren't entirely impressed with the results of rapid pans. Here the GZ-MG505 produced pictures with far more stuttering than is ideal. Colours and contrast were generally very good however, with nice differentiation between shaded areas and saturation that wasn't overbearing. Night shot footage was about average for a consumer camcorder; nothing to get excited about, but good enough.
As this is a fairly high end model, JVC has made an effort to cram in all the advanced controls anyone could possibly desire, and they did a pretty good job. The MG505 comes with manual control of gain, aperture, shutter speed, white balance and focus. All these are accessible through an easy shortcut menu, apart from gain which is bizarrely hidden away in a separate area. Controlling the camera is an intuitive process, with JVC helpfully placing a five-way directional toggle next to the 2.7 inch widescreen LCD. This means it's always easy to control settings without moving your gaze from the screen.
One important factor to note is the absence of a viewfinder. This is an unusual step for a camcorder, and can be seen as both good and bad. On the upside, its removal allows for a smaller frame, however it also means there is no backup if the LCD breaks, or if you want an alternative in bright sunlight. Although the LCD's screen is generally very good outside, due to its glossy coating (the type that's seen on many modern LCD displays) it can occasionally be hard to view.
Other features include image stabilisation, which we found to have little effect, and wind cut. The camcorder includes a 10x optical zoom, which is about average for this kind of camera. Microphone inputs and S-video out are also included.
Like most modern camcorders, the GZ-M505 includes the ability to take still pictures. In this case they are an impressive five megapixels and can either be saved to the hard disk or to an SD card. Five megapixels is the highest quality currently available on the market, so we were keen to test it out against stand alone still cameras.
We were fairly surprised at the results, with the GZ-M505 failing to impress us in most regards. Colours were inaccurate, noise was plainly evident, and there was a huge amount of flare between high contrast areas. The shots were quite sharp, but it wasn't enough to overcome some of the other issues. A few of our test shots outdoors didn't look so bad, but were still disappointing for a five megapixel camera. We wouldn't recommend using it for anything other than occasional snapshots when you don't have your still camera on hand.
There are some good points about the still images though. Firstly, the GZ-M505 has all the functionality we would expect from a stand alone digital camera, including a full range of manual controls and a flash. Continuous shooting mode is also included, with the camera able to reel off full quality shots at nearly two frames a second for several minutes.
The one disadvantage of a hard disk camcorder is that it's necessary to transfer video to something else when the disk is full. The easiest option is transferral to computer, and JVC include the necessary USB cable and software to do this. Copying video is made incredibly easy, as the camera supports drag and drop file transfer. A helpful booklet explains all the details so nobody will feel lost. Playback on a PC monitor, traditionally the downfall of many camcorders, was also of good quality. Additionally videos can be transferred directly to a DVD recorder via a USB cable, without the need for a PC.
When it comes to design, JVC has produced one of the best camcorders we have ever reviewed. The unit's sleek black finish gives a professional look, and the camera is constructed with exceptional build quality. There are no squeaky parts or loose fittings here. As well as this, the GZ-M505 is lightweight, small and comfortable to hold, with all the buttons in easy to reach places. Once you've got used to the interface the camera is also very easy to use. However there is one big downside, and that's the battery. We were astonished at how fast the battery drained, even when we weren't recording. You'll be lucky to get 45 minutes recording time out of the unit, which is quite poor.
Overall, JVC has produced an excellent camcorder for video in the GZ-M505. The biggest disappointment is the quality of still photos, which many users may not care about anyway. If all you want is hassle-free recording and good quality video, then the GZ-M505 makes an excellent choice. Just make sure to carry spare batteries with you.
Join the newsletter!
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
Apple iPhone X
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
cloudandco Smart Cane
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Toys for Boys
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Bose SoundLink Micro
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Xbox One X
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 2 Google Pixel 2 review: not quite 'pixel perfect' but damn close
- 3 Google Home Mini review: a welcome addition to the smart speaker family.
- 4 Huawei Nova 2i review: Flagship features get smuggled into the mid-tier
- 5 Moto X4 review: This is what a world without MotoMods looks like
Latest News Articles
- Sony make shooting in HDR easy with new 4K camcorders
- Sony announces Australian availability for new waterproof RX0 action-camera
- Microsoft's Beam becomes Mixer, adds four person split-screen streaming to battle Twitch
- Microsoft's Story Remix uses machine learning and mixed reality to make your movies awesome
- New IoT malware targets 100,000 IP cameras via known flaw
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- Xbox One X review: Brave new world
- Western Digital My Cloud Home review: Take back the cloud
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- FTSystem TesterOther
- CCSenior Program CoordinatorNSW
- CCAgile AnalystNSW
- CCAnalyst/Programmer- AutomationNSW
- FTJava Software Engineers wanted (Melbourne CBD location)VIC
- CCM204 Developers - Federal GovernmentSA
- FTSAP Payroll SpecialistOther
- FTDigital BAOther
- FTProduct Support ManagerVIC
- FTLead Salesforce DeveloperOther
- CCAnalyst Programmer / DeveloperNSW
- TPSolution Architect | eDRMS | 2 PositionsQLD
- FTProject ManagerACT
- FTTeam Administrator / Program Coordinator ? Telco ? 6 month contract - Nth SydNSW
- FTHosting/Virtualisation ArchitectACT
- FTSenior Telecommunications RiggerSA
- CCPHP DeveloperQLD
- FTPortfolio & Governance Senior AnalystVIC
- FTProcurement AdvisorACT
- FTField Services TechnicianACT
- FTMultiple Analyst rolesSA
- FTFrontend DeveloperOther
- CCProject ManagerACT
- CCJava Developer - BrisbaneWA
- FTFront-End DeveloperNSW