JVC GZ-GX1 Camcorder Review
Lens & Imaging System
The GZ-GX1 has a big image sensor that is on par with the CMOS chips found in other high-end camcorders. The sensor is a 1/2.3-inch back-illuminated CMOS chip that is loaded with ten million pixels (10 megapixels). We're not convinced that those extra pixels help out in video performance, but they do make the GX1 capable of taking high-resolution still images.
The lens on the camcorder is also bold, with its f/1.2 aperture and fairly wide recording angle (just under 60 degrees). At 10x optical, the zoom on the GX1 isn't fantastic, but it's similar to what you'll find on most high-end HD camcorders.
When extended outward from the camcorder, the GX1's LCD looks impressive with its 3.5-inch screen. Closed, however, the LCD panel appears boxy and strange, and the fact that it doesn't line up particularly well with the rest of the camcorder's body makes for an awkward appearance. The LCD panel is thick, that's for sure, but this thickness does make the panel feel more durable than some of the rotating screens we've seen on consumer camcorders.
Images displayed on the screen look pretty good, and the 3.5-inch size coupled with the 920,000-pixel resolution make for some strong LCD specs. The touchscreen interface, however, was more than frustrating at times. The response times with touch-inputs was sluggish at best, making menus a pain to sift through, and making control adjustments a tedious exercise. But based on its size and looks alone, the screen itself is worthy of praise.
Take note—the GZ-GX1 does not have an electronic viewfinder, which is something you'll only find on select high-end consumer camcorders. If you don't like using an LCD to frame your videos, then you're not going to be happy with the GX1.
JVC groups most of the GX1's ports in a convenient little strip inside the LCD cavity. These ports aren't covered by a door or plastic housing, but are instead protected only when the LCD panel is closed. From top to bottom, the ports run like this: USB, mini HDMI, AV-out (doubles as headphone jack), and a 3.5mm mic jack.
On the right side of the camcorder a small lip of plastic flips up to reveal the DC-input port. This is where you can run the camcorder off of wall power, or you can charge the battery pack when it is connected to the camcorder (and the camcorder is off). This port works with the provided AC adapter.
the accessory shoe is on the top
The GX1 also has a cold (not powered) accessory shoe on the top of the camcorder. It is covered by a non-tethered, removable piece of plastic that you might as well toss in the garbage the moment you take it off. If you're planning on using accessories with the GX1, we dare you to try to keep track of this little plastic cover. It's not an important item to keep around, so it's not a big deal if you lose it anyway. The shoe will fit any normal-size accessory, as it is not proprietary-fit like most camcorder shoes are these days.
The GZ-GX1, like many of JVC's new Everio camcorders, has built-in WiFi functions, so that's another "connectivity" feature of the camcorder. We talk more about the ins and outs of the WiFi features on our Other Features page.
The open battery compartment on the back of the GZ-GX1 not only gives you easy access to the camcorder's battery pack, but it also means you can use the camcorder with a larger, longer-lasting pack. Check out JVC's website, or just look at online retailers like Amazon or B&H to find compatible battery packs for the GX1. Find out how the performed in our battery life test./r:link_to_content
JVC doesn't include any internal memory on the GZ-GX1, which is unusual for a flagship camcorder. This does keep the cost of the camcorder down, but it forces you to purchase an SDHC memory card if you don't already have one. Thankfully, 16GB and 32GB SDHC cards aren't that expensive these days, so you should be able to find an adequate one for anywhere between $10 - $45 bucks. A lot of people make a big deal about memory card speed classes, but we've found anything rated Class 6 or above works fine for shooting HD video. Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of various media types.