Just because some camcorders are better than others doesn’t mean that the lesser-known models should be ignored. Some camcorders might cater to certain people that are looking for specific features while other models launch but don’t have as much fanfare as other models. JVC is a company that often makes its moments at CES every year but still doesn’t attract as much attention as bigger players in the industry. In fact, JVC made a huge gamble in 2011 by releasing the JVC GC-PX10 which was a strangely-designed “hybrid” camera that resembles one of those mirrorless cameras but has a lot of camcorder functionality. Many people thought the ergonomics were weird though and it led JVC to release a successor with a more traditional form factor. The JVC GC-PX100 is JVC’s new consumer flagship product and is billed as a “Procision” model. The design still looks “out of the box” and it has some interesting features.
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If you look at JVC’s online product catalog of Everio camcorders, you will immediately see how different and futuristic the GC-PX100 looks. But when holding the camcorder, it still feels like a traditional camcorder which is great because the redesigned grip makes video recording a lot easier. The refined design of this camcorder also allowed JVC to add some extra controls like a manual control dial and zoom lever giving the JVC GC-PX100 that “prosumer” feel. The good news too is that the GC-PX100 still has the features present in the older model including an articulating touchscreen and video recording mode dial. The 3-inch 460k resolution screen is pretty mediocre in today’s standards but it is usable and the touch experience isn’t that bad. There is even this small hood that prevents too much light from interfering with the display. All of these manual controls mean that you won’t have to worry too much about menu navigation. Although the JVC GC-PX100 lacks an electronic viewfinder, you can buy a viewfinder accessory that attaches to the hot shoe. There is another hot shoe on the front of camcorder for attaching an external microphone.
The GC-PX100 features a superior 10x optical zoom lens which may sound a bit lacking for a flagship model but it can open to a maximum aperture of f/1.2. This means that the visuals will still remain bright at higher zoom levels. It also has a 1/2.3-inch back illuminated CMOS sensor. To accurately capture visuals with as many details as possible, JVC went with a speedy 36 Mbps image processing technique which effectively captures 1080p progressive HD video. During active recording sessions, you also have the option to take 2.1-megapixel still images. When not recording, you can capture 6-megapixel or 12-megapixel photos.
The JVC GC-PX100 also boasts excessive codec compatibility with MPEG-4, AVCHD, iFrame 720p and MOV support right out of the box. This kind of support can be really help for video editing professionals that may need to work with various video formats for their projects. JVC is taking the MOV file format very seriously by keeping the audio in its uncompressed form. This camcorder is also fully compatible with Apple’s Final Cut Pro X application so professional video editors can easily work with recorded footage.
But the main differentiation that JVC is touting with the GC-PX100 is the various video recording modes available. Unlike most of the competing camcorders which stick to a single slow motion mode, the JVC GC-PX100 offers a special Time Control feature that lets you capture scenes at 120 fps, 240 fps and 300 fps at a 640×360 resolution. The older GC-PX10 was able to do this too but the JVC GC-PX100 is doubling the maximum by offering 420 fps and 600 fps modes as well. These new Super Slow Motion modes further reduce the resolution to a paltry 320×176 resolution but it is an amazing feat by JVC and the videos look stunning. Plus, these modes can easily be changed on the fly through a dial positioned right next to the lens. Other modes include a Time Lapse mode which records at 1 frame at 80 seconds. The versatile control over the video recording modes should spark some interest amongst sports enthusiasts or other creative individuals that want to do more things with their videos.
Many gadgets and home equipment released in 2012 and 2013 are built with wireless capabilities so it is natural for JVC to add built-in Wi-Fi functionality to the GC-PX100 too. The camcorder has the ability to create its own ad-hoc wireless network so devices like smartphones and tablets can connect directly to the camcorder without passing through a router. This setup can be useful for outdoor situations where wireless hotspots are not available. Any connected iOS and Android devices with the special remote app installed can remotely see what the camcorder is recording right now. There are also some remote control features if you wish to change settings or control the recording experience.
One of the more interesting benefits in connecting a tablet to the JVC GC-PX100 via Wi-Fi lies in the Coaching Board function. This primarily benefits coaches that record sports games. While videos are being played back over the tablet, coaches can use the touchscreen to draw lines so coaches can visually create formations or point out particular areas that need improvement. It is also possible to view 2 different views side by side in a synchronized fashion. Other nice Wi-Fi features include a file transfer function so you can copy videos to a mobile device for instant playback.
The GC-PX100 clearly has some innovative features that are sure to excite certain crowds. But with a $1,000 price tag, it might be hard to recommend this high-end consumer camcorder to the average consumer. It could be a bad investment if you won’t use certain things like the various slow motion modes or extra Wi-Fi features. But on a more positive note, JVC still has relevance in the camcorder market and the JVC GC-PX100 has the potential to at least encourage people to check out this cool and unique camcorder before spending $1,000 on another camcorder model.