JVC Everio GZ-MS130 review:

JVC Everio GZ-MS130

Features JVC Everio GZ-MS130
Inputs/Outputs USB, AV out terminal
White balance Auto, Fine, Cloud, Halogen, Manual
Scene modes Sports, Snow, Spotlight, Twilight, Portrait, Night
Focus Auto, Manual, Tele Macro
Color effects Standard, Black & White, Sepia, Classic Film, Strobe
Lens cover (auto or manual) Auto
Accessory shoe No (built-in LED light)

Shooting options are actually a bit better than expected for what's essentially an entry-level camcorder. While the MS130 performed well in full Auto mode, at the push of a touch-sensitive button you can switch over to manual control for focus, brightness, shutter speed, and white balance. You also get a few recording effects including Classic Film, which skips frames to give video an old movie look, and Strobe that makes recordings look like a series of consecutive snapshots. Other options include a handful of scene modes and backlight compensation. All in all, it's a nice set of features.

The MS130 records MPEG-2 video (.MOD) of which the Ultra Fine version comes in at 8.5Mbps. That gives you a little less than 15 minutes for every 1GB of storage. Honestly, it's the only setting you'd want to record at with the MS130, but there are three more options going down to Eco at 1.5Mbps for up to nearly 20 hours of recording time on an 8GB SDHC card.

If you stick to the intended use of sharing video on the Web and you plan to shoot primarily outdoors during daylight, the MS130 will produce satisfying results. However, our low-light videos were above average quality, too. Save for some purple fringing that's typical of this class of camcorders, the results are good enough to view on larger TVs; just don't expect high-definition detail and clarity. Colors were pleasing with acceptable white balance in natural light. There are no incandescent or fluorescent presets for white balance, but the manual option is available, and there's a halogen setting for use with the built-in LED lamp up front.

The JVC Everio GZ-MS130 is a fairly typical standard-def minicamcorder. If you're in need of a simple, small camcorder for Web-ready videos, this'll get the job done and give you more flexibility than a pocket camcorder can offer.

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