JVC Everio GZ-VX700 Camcorder Review
Ease of Use
Like nearly all consumer camcorders that hit the market these days, the JVC VX700 is equipped with Intelligent Auto (iA), a dedicated auto mode that allows the camcorder to function with entirely automated controls. It's great for beginners, but our main problem with the mode is that it is so difficult to find. You need to tap the tiny icon in the upper right corner of the LCD to switch between iA and manual mode, and JVC does not make it clear that this little icon is a button at all. Would it be that difficult to simply have an easy-to-find, well-labeled auto mode button on the body of the camcorder itself?
The automatic controls on the JVC GZ-VX700 work fine, but there were some issues. Autofocus can be slow at times, particularly with closeups, and the auto exposure system did blow out certain scenes. When moving from completely different lighting situations (e.g. from outdoors to indoors), the camcorder did handle the exposure adjustments properly and quickly. But in mixed light scenes (like and indoor shot with a bright window) the image often was too bright in certain parts.
The camcorder does have four tracking modes, all of which can be fun to use but don't work 100% of the time. The tracking settings include face, pets, colors, and range (where you specify the area you want to track). You'll have best luck with tracking if your subject isn't moving that quickly and stays within the camcorder's frame the whole time.
The zoom toggle is small and looks cheap, but it works surprisingly well. It is easy to apply a small amount of pressure to the slider in order to get a slow, even zoom, and then fully pushing the slider one way or another brings the zoom up to its top speed. You can also use the zoom buttons on the LCD screen, but we don't like them nearly as much as the slider on the top of the camcorder. There are no static zoom speed controls on the VX700, so the only way to adjust the zoom speed is to do so by applying varying amounts of pressure to the zoom toggle (this won't work with the touchscreen buttons).
The menu itself on the Everio GZ-VX700 isn't that bad, but coupled with the camcorder's terribly-slow interface and the poor response time of the LCD touchscreen, the menu system ends up being horribly frustrating to use. The slow input on the touchscreen makes the long menu (up to 8 pages) a pain to navigate, and the quick access menu that appears a screen before the main menu is just annoying to skip through. It includes features that a good chunk of people won't be interested in: digital effects (like putting stamps and art on your videos), WiFi featurs, and smile shutter. JVC should get rid of this quick menu entirely, or at least offer an option to remove it.
The menu system does have a help feature, which is activated by pressing the small question mark on the corner of the menu screen. When engaged, the help feature brings up an info screen each time you select a menu option. Sometimes these info screens are great and really give you extra info about the feature you've selected... other times the info screen says next to nothing, just repeating the name of the feature and letting you know that you're about to turn it on. That's just pointless. Even worse is that sometimes you make a selection and the info screen says "help is not available". Thanks JVC. Thanks a lot for your "help".