JVC GZ-HM450 Camcorder Review
The JVC GZ-HM450, just like all Everio camcorders (and consumer camcorders in general), can take still images in addition to recording video. The camcorder will not, however, capture images with as high a resolution as you'd get from JVC's mid-range or flagship camcorders. The HM450 tops out with a 1920 x 1080 photo size, which is just over 2 megapixels—it's also the exact same size as a Full HD video image. We should point out, though, that the pixel count on the HM450's tiny sensor is just 1.5 megapixels, which means the camcorder is interpolating pixels to increase the size of the image up to 1920 x 1080 (it's doing this for video as well, but that's another story). So, the other size options on the HM450 (1440 x 1080 and 640 x 480) are the only options that take images that aren't interpolated (meaning each captured pixel has a corresponding pixel on the sensor).
Other still image features on the camcorder include a self-timer, a continuous shooting mode, and a smile shot function that snaps a photo when a smiling subject is detected in the frame. Some of these are fun features, and the continuous shooting mode is something you don't often see on an entry-level camcorder, but none of these still features really blew us away. Spend a little money on a cheap, basic digital camera and you'll get much better still images than what the GZ-HM450 is capable of capturing.
Time-lapse recording features can be useful for recording the bloom of a flower, the movement of clouds, or the setting of a sun. JVC includes this function on many of its Everio camcorders, so if you've used this feature before on other JVC models you'll know how it works already. The camcorder will capture one frame of video at every selected interval when the time-lapse record function is enabled. Interval options include 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 40, or 80 seconds.
Yes, you can add little hearts or flowers or musical notes to your recorded video using the HM450's Animation Effects feature. The choices are cheesy, and the whole feature seems like a joke, but if adding animations or frames to the edge of your videos sounds something you'll enjoy, then, by all means, play around with this feature to your heart's content.
Ever wanted to leave your camcorder running during the day to record stuff while you're not around? Well, the Auto Record feature on the GZ-HM450 may help you only capture the moments that matter. When engaged, Auto Record will start recording when a new subject enters the frame (or if the light levels change). This way, you can capture people who may be snooping around your apartment while your away, or see what your dog does while you're at work all day. It can also be good for birdwatching or other wildlife videography (just set up the camcorder to point at your bird feeder).