Review: JVC Everio HM450

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JVC Everio GZ-HM450

Camcorder

 

JVC’s GZ-HM450 looks quite impressive out of the box, with a glossy black exterior and minimalist design that gives it a classically neat look.  Users will immediately notice its light weight and surprisingly solid build, but don’t expect it to survive an accidental encounter with the brute force of gravity.  Overall, the HM450’s size and weight make it a perfect fit in one’s palm, especially when shooting at difficult angles or for extended periods of time.

Opening up the side panel reveals the 2.7-inch touchscreen LCD display, which is quite vivid and clear for a camera in its class.  Touchscreen navigation on the HM450 is definitely intuitive (as it allows the chassis to be minimal of physical controls), but some users might find the surface area rather small to accurately navigate.

Browsing the menus can be quite daunting in the start, because some icons have no text descriptions describing its particular function. With some thorough trial and error, coupled with good memory work however, one will be able to quickly navigate through this camcorder’s basic features.

The HM450 is equipped with Image Stabilization and an astounding 40x zoom capability. While this level of magnification is a great feature to have, one will discover that it will rarely be used on a day-to-day basis.  This extreme zooming capability, although handy, is also quite limited, considering the resulting image quality at full magnification.

This Everio camcorder also comes with the Intelligent Auto feature which performs as smart as its name, helping users to get the perfect take by adjusting brightness and color to cater to the scene that is being shot.  While the HM450 performed excellently with regulating contrast levels and hues, the autofocus was prone to struggle when light sources were scarce.

Another interesting trait is the Face Sub-Window which allows users to record a close-up shot of a single person while simultaneously shooting a group of people.  This is achieved by simply touching the face on the display that you want to enlarge.  It takes quite a bit of practice and awareness to fully utilize it, but when used correctly, it is quite a good option to have.

With the features out of the way, the most obvious query would be video quality.  Shooting at 24Mbps high bit rate recording at 1920x1080i through a Konica Minolta HD lens, the HM450 is refreshingly impressive.  Even though it only has a 1.5-megapixel CMOS sensor, the resulting video captures were clean and crisp, both on the camera’s LCD and when viewed on a computer.

This new Everio will definitely be an upgrade from shooting videos with a point-and-shoot, but it still seems a little expensive with regards to its features and quality.  There are various compact consumer cameras that have leveled up and can easily surpass the performance of the HM450, which might make some consumers (and this author included) wonder what JVC intended for this camera.

Nevertheless, one advantage of the HM450 is its size and weight, making it a perfect companion for globetrotting and outdoor excursions. It’s a great budget consumer camcorder that will perform the necessary recording tasks while adding a few interesting bells and whistles along the way. In the end, the HM450 is reliable and will ultimately preserve your memories, which is what really matters in the first place.

 

What’s Hot:
Compact and lightweight
8GB internal memory
Face Sub-Window, Intelligent Auto
What’s Not:
1.5-megapixel CMOS sensor
Quite expensive

 

Buy Meter: 7.5

 

Bottomline:

The JVC HM450 is perfect for travelling and could make a great gift for parents to give to their children. It’s portable, reliable and will get the job done.

 

 

 

SPECIFICATIONS:

JVC HD Everio GZ-HM450
Full HD Camcorder
8 GB of internal flash memory and an SD / SDHC / SDXC slot
AVCHD and AVCHD SD Dual Format
40x optical zoom (70x zoom Dynamic Mode Standard Definition)
KONICA MINOLTA HD LENS
1.5 megapixel CMOS sensor
Full Touch Screen Panel
Advanced Image Stabilizer
Intelligent Auto
Face / Touch AE / AF
Face Sub-Window
Animation effect
Smile Meter / Smile Shot
Time-lapse REC / REC Cars
24Mbps High Bit Rate Recording
K2 Technology
2-way Grip Belt
1920 x 1080/60P Output
Everio Media Browser 3