Once upon a time, camcorders were devices your uncle or your dad spent a week's wages on, and then only got out of the cupboard for weddings. Some would argue that YouTube -- combined with the development of video-shooting mobiles -- has had more impact on the way video is used than any camcorder development.
But with the majority of punter-filmed YouTube video being quick mobile/webcam clips, the rise of the digital cameras, is the camcorder being left high and dry? That's the question JVC has obviously been asking itself, because today sees the announcement of the YouTube-friendly JVC Everio S series flash-memory camcorder, the GZ-MS100., and increased capacity for video on
The GZ-MS100 looks like the other Everio camcorders, but with one important difference: a YouTube button. And it's smaller -- two important differences: a YouTube button, and it's smaller. And it uses SD and SDHC cards instead of a hard drive -- three important differences: a YouTube button, it's smaller, and SD cards.
So how is this different from other YouTube-branded models, such as the Casio Exilim series? Pressing the YouTube button before shooting will match YouTube's recording limit of 10 minutes. Then, after installing the bundled CyberLink software, hitting the YouTube button on the camcorder launches a YouTube uploader.
Whether this beats the ease of use of Casio's similar software remains to be seen, but we're certainly intrigued by the possibilities of shooting footage that keeps its higher quality in the camera, but is automatically kerjiggered to YouTube size for upload. This could take the hard work out of capturing, reformatting and editing video footage, which is possibly the biggest barrier to consumer uptake. Sadly, it doesn't work with Macs.
Video will benefit from a 35x optical zoom, and the usual array of scene modes -- including night, twilight, portrait, sports, snow and spotlight. A digital image stabiliser should reduce that classic shaky YouTube queasycam effect. The GZ-MS100 also boasts slidy-finger touch-sensitive laser touch, alongside a large 69mm (2.7-inch) LCD screen. It'll be dropping Stateside next month for $349, so could cross the Atlantic at around £250-£350. We'll keep you posted. -Rich Trenholm