JVC brings its top Everio in line with the rest of this year's models. Based around the same trio of 1/4.5-inch, 1.33-megapixel CCDs as last year's, this year's GZ-MG505 incorporates a 30GB hard drive rather than a removable microdrive, which allows it to store as much as seven hours of best-quality MPEG-2 video.
Though it lacks the long zoom lens of the lower-end Everios, the GZ-MG505's 10X zoom offers a relatively wide-angle view--for a camcorder--of 41.2mm in 16:9 aspect-ratio mode (35mm equivalent). As with many of its camcorders, JVC uses its Megabrid engine to capture 5-megapixel (interpolated) still photos.
It looks as if JVC is attempting to address some of the problems we had with the last model--it now has a microphone jack and accessory shoe, plus a larger, low-res, 2.7-inch wide-screen LCD--but it still lacks manual controls. And with the same sensor and noise-reduction algorithms, the GZ-MG505's low-light performance most likely won't see much improvement. The addition of variable-bit-rate encoding may help general video quality, however.
At least when it ships, slated for July, it will be cheaper than its predecessor at $1,399.