JVC today added four compact new models to its Everio G series of hard-drive-based camcorders. The $600 GZ-MG21 and the $700 GZ-MG27 store MPEG-2 video on internal 20GB hard drives to capture 4.5 hours of highest-quality footage, while the $800 GZ-MG37 and the as-yet-unpriced GZ-MG77 bump the capacity up to 30GB for 7 hours.
One of the biggest problems with hard-drive camcorders is the hassle of having to download your video to another device once the drive fills up. JVC has taken a crack at solving this by incorporating into the three pricier new Everios the ability to burn video directly to a disc in a stand-alone DVD burner via USB. Naturally, JVC has also unveiled a compatible DVD burner, the CU-VD10.
The three lower-end models use a relatively small 1/6-inch, 680,000-pixel CCD, which doesn't promise great things in terms of video quality but does allow JVC to put 32X zoom lenses on the cameras. The top-of-the-line GZ-MG77 makes a leap, using a 1/3.9-inch, 2.2-megapixel CCD and a fast f/1.2 lens with a 10X zoom range. That means it should produce much better-looking video than its lesser siblings, especially in low light.
All but the cheapest new Everio--which has a standard 2.5-inch LCD--sport a 2.7-inch wide-screen LCD, and all four models jump on the wide-screen bandwagon by providing a 16:9 capture mode. The new Everios also include an SD slot for saving photos (only really worthwhile on the GZ-MG77, since the other Everios shoot VGA stills), as well as a battery meter that tells you how many minutes you have left to shoot instead of a vague battery icon. Another nice touch: You can set the camcorders on standby so that they power up when you flip out the LCD.
All of the new Everios will be available in February 2006, with the exception of the GZ-MG77. That one will presumably hit the market once JVC has figured out how to price it to compete against the extremely similar Sony Handycam DCR-SR100, also introduced at this year's CES.