The JVC GZ-HD3 is a quality camcorder built around a hard disk and three charge-coupled devices (CCDs).

JVC's latest full HD 1,080i model, the JVC GZ-HD3 also boasts a 60GB hard drive.

For those that prefer to keep their recording options open, depending on whether they want to shoot a full-length tale or capture a fleeting moment, the JVC GZ-HD3 has the ability to supplement and expand storage with SD cards.

This latter option is a welcome inclusion, given that many people now use their camcorders to take still photos as well as video. The JVC GZ-HD3 offers only a 2Mp CCD for taking digital photos. You'll need to plan ahead, though: access to the JVC GZ-HD3's SD slot is impossible when using a tripod.

Still, you also get a standard 10x optical zoom (digitally extendable to a mammoth 200x) lurking under its professional-looking lens hood to get you closer to the action. The JVC GZ-HD3 feels robust and solid in the palm. We also liked its smart black finish.

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The JVC GZ-HD3 has responsive controls. Turn the mode dial on the righthand side of the camera to open the 2.8in widescreen LCD and you're ready to begin shooting in a couple of seconds. However, you have to flick open the retractable lens cover to do so.

If we've got an operational gripe, it's that no HDMI cable is provided in the JVC GZ-HD3's box.

Performance-wise, the JVC GZ-HD3 impressed us with its good, clear stereo sound quality. While autofocus takes a moment to adjust when panning between subjects, it provides commendable image reproduction in low light. For example, it captured a tungsten-lit living room in the evening with flatteringly vibrant colours. The JVC GZ-HD3 also provides appealing picture quality.

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JVC GZ-HD3: Specs

  • 1,080i (1,920x1,080) video resolution
  • 2.8Mp still resolution
  • AVCHD, Jpeg
  • 2.7in, 211,000 pixel screen
  • 10x optical zoom
  • 40GB hard drive, MicroSD storage
  • HDMI, USB output
  • 81x75x129mm, 505g
  • 1,080i (1,920x1,080) video resolution
  • 2.8Mp still resolution
  • AVCHD, Jpeg
  • 2.7in, 211,000 pixel screen
  • 10x optical zoom
  • 40GB hard drive, MicroSD storage
  • HDMI, USB output
  • 81x75x129mm, 505g

OUR VERDICT

A quality camcorder which produces good picture quality, we had a couple of gripes with the JVC GZ-HD3, but were generally impressed.

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