JVC GZ-HM450 Camcorder Review
The JVC GZ-HM450 is capable of recording Full HD video—that's at a 1920 x 1080 resolution—but the camcorder also has the ability to record standard definition video (a new feature for JVC). Camcorders that can record HD and SD video are rather rare, although Sony includes this option on most of its camcorders (as do Samsung camcorders). We really like the fact that JVC included this SD recording feature on the HM450 because it is useful for people who don't need the quality of HD video for certain recordings (like recording a class or lecture where image quality is not important).
As the table below shows, the HM450 has four HD recording quality options and two quality options for SD recording. All record modes use the AVCHD compression system, with the SD modes using a format JVC calls AVCHD SD. Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of various high definition compression types.
The GZ-HM450 comes loaded with 8GB of internal flash memory as well as a memory card slot that works with SD, SDHC, or SDXC memory cards. This is a different setup than what you find on the HM450's sibling model, the GZ-HM440, which contains two card slots but no internal memory. Frankly, we like having the internal memory instead, even if it's just a small amount like 8GB. Internal memory is great if you're in a pinch or forget to bring a memory card with you when you step out to do some recording. The 8GB won't let you store much footage—roughly 40 minutes at the highest quality setting—but something is better than nothing in our mind.
The memory card slot, which is located on the right side of the camcorder (near the bottom), looks like it is designed to fit two memory cards in two different slots. Looking closely, however, you'll notice the second slot are is filled in with plastic. So, while the HM450 certainly has the space for two card slots, JVC made the decision to awkwardly remove the second slot. Higher-end models from JVC have an identical card slot design—except the second slot actually exists on those camcorders. Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of various media types.
Slow Motion Modes
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.