JVC GR-D650 review: JVC GR-D650

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The Good Numerous manual settings; decent low-light video quality; built-in video light.

The Bad Small LCD screen; slow focus in low light; some visual artifacts.

The Bottom Line The budget-priced JVC GR-D650 performs surprisingly well for its class, in both bright and low light.

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6.8 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 6
  • Performance 7
  • Image quality 7


The high-end entry in JVC's line of D-series compact camcorders, the GR-D650 offers low-light performance that's better than you'd expect in a budget-priced camcorder. With its 1.3-megapixel CCD and an f/1.2, 15X zoom lens, this MiniDV camcorder turns in better video quality than JVC's more expensive hard disk-based Everio line.

Relatively compact and weighing a little more than a pound, the JVC GR-D650 has a tall, thin design that fits comfortably in the hand and is compact enough to slip into a jacket pocket. The case is typical silver-and-gray plastic fare, with a solid design that feels like it should hold up well to everyday handling. Like most modern camcorders, the GR-D650 relegates the majority of its settings to menus, but you will find buttons for common functions, as well as a four-way directional pad that does double duty for menu navigation and quick access to settings such as backlight compensation. The GR-D650's menus are well organized and easy to navigate.

The 2.5-inch LCD is reasonably detailed for 4:3 shooting, but when shooting in 16:9 mode, a large black bar appears at the bottom of the screen. The resulting small wide-screen image lacks the necessary detail for precise operations such as manual focus.

Though the battery and the SD card slot are easily accessible when the camcorder is mounted on a tripod, the bottom-ejecting tape slot means tripod users will have to remove the GR-D650 in order to switch tapes. Battery life is decent at about 1.5 hours under typical shooting conditions.

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