The JVC Everio GZ-HD5 is a digital camcorder that uses three charge-coupled devices (CCDs) to record high-definition video to its built-in 60GB hard drive.

The quality of the video captured on the JVC Everio GZ-HD5 was decent - although we've seen better), and the quirky methods necessary to transfer the video to your Mac are far from elegant.

Light and compact, the barrel-shaped JVC Everio GZ-HD5 fits comfortably in the palm of your hand, with the record, zoom and, snapshot controls within easy reach for one-handed filming.

The JVC Everio GZ-HD5 lacks a viewfinder, which would have been helpful for shooting in bright sunlight, but the 2.8in widescreen LCD was bright enough for most situations.

The rechargeable lithium-ion battery protrudes out of the back of the JVC Everio GZ-HD5 a little further than a typical battery would, looking like an optional, high-capacity battery rather than standard equipment.

Unfortunately, despite its bulk, the JVC Everio GZ-HD5's battery's charge lasted only 67 minutes of recording time. JVC does sell an optional battery that lasts about 50 percent longer than the standard model and is about half an inch longer.

The JVC Everio GZ-HD5 records to a 60GB internal hard drive, capable of holding up to five hours of full HD (1,980 by 1,080i) video; there's also a microSD card slot for even more storage capacity.

The JVC Everio GZ-HD5 features a cold accessory shoe that can accommodate JVC's optional stereo microphone. This optional mic can be powered from the microphone jack located on the back of the camera, just above the battery.

Aside from Auto and Manual modes, the JVC Everio GZ-HD5 offers Sports, Snow, Twilight, Portrait, and Spotlight presets, although finding them might be something of a challenge. The camcorder's menu system is a little difficult to follow, and it's hard to find the settings you want. Some buttons are located around the LCD screen, and others are on the side of the camera; you must keep turning the JVC Everio GZ-HD5 in order to find the button to push next.

NEXT PAGE: image quality, and our expert verdict

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The JVC Everio GZ-HD5 is a digital camcorder that uses three charge-coupled devices (CCDs) to record high-definition video to its built-in 60GB hard drive.

A panel of editors looked at both the JVC Everio GZ-HD5's 1,440 by 1,080 video footage (an indoor scene that includes flesh tones, a Macbeth colour chart, various textures, and a spinning Ferris wheel to evaluate motion) and rated it against clips from other high-definition camcorders shot under the same conditions. We found considerable noise in the captured video. colours had a blue cast, and objects were fuzzy and lacked detail. Overall, the JVC Everio GZ-HD5's footage was rated as Fair by our panel.

Aside from controlled conditions in the lab, we used the JVC Everio GZ-HD5 in several other shooting situations. Low-light interior shots showed up a little dark and noisy. Outdoor shots on a bright and sunny but windy day turned out shaky despite the optical image stabiliser, and there was lots of wind noise even though we had turned on the wind noise cutting setting.

The JVC Everio GZ-HD5 can also capture still photos at 2.1Mp resolution. The photos had good colour but were very noisy, earning a Fair rating from our panel. We doubt many would find the JVC Everio GZ-HD5 to be an acceptable replacement for a high-quality point-and-shoot digital camera.

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JVC Everio GZ-HD5: Specs

  • 3CCD, 1/5in sensor
  • 10x optical, 200x digital zoom
  • optical image stabiliser
  • 43mm filter
  • Max Shutter Speed: 1/4000 sec, Min Shutter Speed: 1/2 sec
  • ISO 100, ISO 400, ISO 200
  • Mpeg2, jpeg
  • Focal Length: 3.3mm-33mm
  • F/1.8-1.9
  • LCD display - TFT active matrix - 2.8in - colour
  • built-in mic
  • HDMI output, component video output, composite video/audio output, S-Video output, microphone, IEEE 1394 (FireWire/i.LINK), USB, DC power input
  • Expansion Slot(s): microSD
  • 68x130x73mm
  • 480g
  • 3CCD, 1/5in sensor
  • 10x optical, 200x digital zoom
  • optical image stabiliser
  • 43mm filter
  • Max Shutter Speed: 1/4000 sec, Min Shutter Speed: 1/2 sec
  • ISO 100, ISO 400, ISO 200
  • Mpeg2, jpeg
  • Focal Length: 3.3mm-33mm
  • F/1.8-1.9
  • LCD display - TFT active matrix - 2.8in - colour
  • built-in mic
  • HDMI output, component video output, composite video/audio output, S-Video output, microphone, IEEE 1394 (FireWire/i.LINK), USB, DC power input
  • Expansion Slot(s): microSD
  • 68x130x73mm
  • 480g

OUR VERDICT

Despite its compact size and 3-CCD capture capability, JVC's Everio GZ-HD5 offers mediocre video and still quality.

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