Thursday, May 14, 2015

Product Review: Vlogging with JVC Everio HD Camcorder

During last month's check-up with Z's pedia, we were utterly surprised (myself teary-eyed) when the doctor said, **beep beep, magyayabang lang po ang mommy!** "Wow! So galing naman ni Z and she's so funny pa! She's much more developmentally advanced than a significant number of my baby patients!" Friends, pagbigyan na po ang proud mommy but I promise, that's really what the doctor said! [Well to be fair, we still have some catching up to do in terms of Z's ideal weight but that's another topic altogether]. Daddy A and I were all smiles until doc mentioned, "Dapat i-video niyo yung milestones.."

That's where I got the idea and I guess that was also the point when Daddy A's huge smile turned into a poker-face-I-heard-nothing look. Hahahaha... And so it got me thinking, "Oo nga, we have lots of photos but not much videos. Should we look into getting a camcorder now?"

The ever-prudent Daddy A said that the Fujifilm X20 mirrorless camera would do. After all, it was a huge expense investment from last year. My only beef was that, it took too long to track and focus for video...not good from a first-time mom's perspective. At times it could barely keep up with baby's dancing feet and the output became super blurred. And don't get me started about using the mobile phone for this task. Super low/no storage left for even a few pictures na siya talaga!

So I started researching from my favorite Amazon.com and whittled down my option to three, based on the specifications listed and also the verified customers' reviews. For a few weeks I went back and forth with the different reviews for Canon VIXIA HF R500Sony HDRCX240/B & Samsung F90. Medyo hard din pala to research on camcorders because it's not as extensively reviewed as cameras like DSLR's, mirrorless, micro 3/4, etc. There's also the variation in naming conventions across international markets. Take for example Canon's offering which is named Vixia in North America which is called Legria in Asia. Ganern! :)

But the good thing, at least for us (excited and excitable) parents, is that it seems that there really is a camcorder/videocam segment devoted to us so we can document our children's milestones. Features would even include baby mode! If you need more "artistic", documentary feel shots some also have grainy chrome modes or time-lapse feature which is just so cool!

The following were also important considerations for me:

1. Budget - I would've been okay with my Flip Video (which was a freebie at an event, by the way) but it broke down already *sigh!*. Considering we just bought a camera last year, we wanted something that wasn't too expensive. Preferably something in the less than USD $300 region.

2. Features - Full HD is a must! Good optical zoom and image stabilization are also preferred knowing that we would be doing mostly hand-held shots. I also wanted something that can take good videos in low light and good battery life.

Did I want wi-fi? Not really, since I presumed the transfer rate would be ultra slow. How about internal memory? Well that's a plus if offered!

How about one with an optical viewfinder? We decided we were okay with the LCD screen (for our needs). Hot shoe for external microphone? Not really part of our list.

3. Baby Proof - As a rule in our home, everything should be baby-proof. And that should include our gadgets. We want to be free to explore as we make and capture memories, without having to ever worry about spills, bumps and the likes. 

4. Warranty - If we were buying from abroad, we definitely wanted to have International Warranty so that we will still be covered here in the Philippines.

5. Ease of Use - I have no delusions of being a pro videographer. We just want something that's nice, easy to use and plug & play as much as possible. Should also work with Windows Movie Maker / iMovie or have its own bundled video editing software. A light, handy and solid form factor would be great as well!

We were lucky that my brother was in Hong Kong at the time and had the chance to shop for us. While I we were so bent on getting the Canon Vixia / Legria, the lack of international warranty became the deal breaker for us. Good thing, the salesperson at Fortress Hong Kong was able to recommend an alternative that would've fit our needs the best.

Introducing - the JVC HD EVERIO. If you would notice it's not even included in my original list of options but what drew me to this particular model (aside from being recommended by the Fortress staff and by my bro) is its Quad Proof feature - meaning, it's water-proof, dust-proof, shock-proof and freeze-proof. How amazing is that?? I was hesitant at first because the Canon had more reviewers (and I assume, more buyers) but I trusted my brother's opinion on this. So we gave the JVC Everio a try and so far so good..we love it! 

Just to be clear, I'm not saying this is a perfect camcorder; it also has it share of drawbacks. Some due to its very nature of being a quadproof videocam. Like its internal microphone's performance for instance, which is a bit restricted because of the water-sealing feature. I also wasn't impressed with its performance in low-light conditions. If you want the nitty-gritty's, blogs like Reviewed.com and Videomaker.com provide complete and transparent technical reviews for us to appreciate so you can be guided on your buying decision making process. But again, over-all, we're happy because the JVC Everio is more than enough for our family's particular needs.

JVC HD Everio GZ-R50

Here's a sample video I've edited using the JVC Everio bundled software. If you wanna know how long it took to make, it's roughly the entire time of the recent Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. 

I enjoyed dabbling with it and I hope I can do more and better work with the iMovie and Windows Movie Maker. Enjoy watching and stay tuned for more Mommy Meowmeow Vlogs coming your way! :) [Thought bubble: now how about that glider? Hehe *wink, wink* Daddy A!]

UPDATE: Please subscribe to our Mommymeowmeow.com YouTube Channel :) 




Sunday Morning with the Babies from Andrew Lim on Vimeo.


JVC HD EVERIO GZ-R50 In the box:
  • Read Me First (a 6-page booklet)
  • AC Adapter (AC-V10M)
  • Power Cord (x2)
  • Adapter Cable
  • USB Cable (Type A - Micro Type B)
  • AV Cable (QAM1322-001)
  • Core Filter (for AV Cable)
  • Link to User Guides (Detailed | Mobile)
Other Features of the JVC HD Everio GZ-R50 you might like:
  • Full HD 1920x1080; 1080P Output
  • Water proof 30 minutes at depths up to 5m (with other precautions for waterproof function)
  • Dust proof equivalent to IEC Standard publication 529 IP5x
  • Drop proof: compliant with "MIL-STD-810F Method; 516.6 Shock:: dropping onto plywood 3cm thick from a height of 1.5m"
  • Freeze proof: Allowable operating temperatures: -10 to +40 degrees Celsius
  • 4.5 Hours built-in battery
  • 60x Dynamic Zoom / 40x Optical Zoom f=2.9~116mm 1:1.8 Konica Minolta Lens
  • Internal 16G Memory (expandable memory through compatible cards)
  • Recording Effects: Baby, Food, Grainy Monochrome
  • Other Special Effects: Date/Time Recording, Time Lapse Recording
  • HDMI / AVCHD / SDXC / K2 Technology compatible
  • Other Specifications
Ours also came with a JVC Everio bag and a Transcend 16G SDHC card courtesy of Fortress HK.

Thanks are in order to my Bro A and Ninang V for shopping and getting this for us in Hong Kong. Thank you so much also to my Dad R and Mommy M for deciding to give this a gift to their dear apo :)

If you're in the US, you might want to check out the JVC Everio on the Amazon Site :


**In the spirit of full disclosure, there are affiliate links on this post, which means that I may get a commission if you decide to purchase anything from Amazon. I only recommend products & systems that I use and love myself, so I know you’ll be in good hands :)

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