JVC Everio GZ-EX515 review
The latest generation GZ-EX515 features a re-designed Wi-Fi antenna, yet the headline functions, build and perfomance otherwise feel very familiar
Camcorder stalwart JVC’s newest Full HD video shooting Memory Camcorder comes with the must-have of built-in Wi-Fi, features a back-illminated 2.5 megapixel 1/5.8-inch CMOS sensor and records in the highly compressed AVCHD file format at maximum 1920x1080 pixels or iPhone or iPad (and iMovie) compatible iFrame mode at a reduced 1280x720 pixels. Additionally it boasts an image stabilised 38x optical zoom which can be digitally extended to a 65x equivalent.
All this, and, being roughly the size of a bread roll, it rests comfortably in the palm with hand strap provided. The build is the usual mix of glossy black plastic with metal details, with rechargeable lithium ion battery clipping onto the back where it sits exposed. Stereo microphones are embedded just above the lens, whilst the LCD screen is of the regular flip out and rotate variety. Do this and the JVC automatically powers up. At the base there’s a slot for use of an optional SD memory card, plus a screw thread for tripod mounting.
Toggle the zoom lever on the top plate with the forefinger of your right hand and the whisper-quiet 29.3mm wide angle lens is swift to respond, moving steadily yet rapidly through its focal range, automatically adjusting focus. So, when we swapped subjects mid recording, the screen image was never soft for more than a moment or two before snapping back into focus. Talking of snaps, the EX515 also has a snapshot mode delivering interpolated 8.5MP shots, othewise there’s the option of 2MP snaps during Full HD recording, with a small shutter release button provided just behind the zoom lever. The main record button is to be found adjacent to the battery at the rear, offering a two-hour lifespan, so everything falls within reach.
Despite the flip out screen and the icons displayed on it being small, the GZ-EX515’s monitor offers touch screen operation, so in that respect is intuitive to use, settings responding almost instantly to a finger tap. Yes it has Wi-Fi, its antenna re-designed over the previous model, the ability to expand the memory in use via removable media and a decent zoom range, but there feels to be little here that we haven’t seen before. Even though it sits just beneath JVC’s flagship GZ-VX815 in its newest Everio line-up, this is still is what they term an ‘everyday’ model, and evolutionary rather than revolutionary.