Mid-range DV camcorders

Introduction

New for JVC’s 2003 range are the GR-D70 and GR-DV700 camcorders. Both models sport impressive feature lists despite their lowish price tags. Each camera sports a different body style. The cheaper D70 opts for the typical palmcorder approach, while the DV700 uses the elongated body style typically employed in higher-end camcorders. Besides the D70’s lack of an external microphone socket, both models offer the standard range of audio and visual connections. They also gain kudos for having DV-in and -out facilities as standard. A special mention has to go to the JVC menu system on both models. It’s clear and straightforward, making changing settings with the thumbwheel a breeze. Sadly, neither model features a progressive-scan mode. Users looking to shoot primarily Web-bound footage, or who wish to extract still frames from their footage, will be forced to de-interlace material first. As more video these days is destined for the Web, the lack of this feature seems a curious oversight. Image-quality on both models is excellent, with bright colours handled well. The DV700 has the upper hand, though, thanks to its larger CCD. Both models are single CCD; but the D70 has a 800,000-pixel CCD, while the DV700’s is 1.33 megapixels. Device control over FireWire in both iMovie and Final Cut was faultless. It was a welcome surprise to find Macintosh stills-transfer software in the box for both models. However, the provided stills and Webcam software isn’t OS X-compatible. However, connect either camera via USB, and iPhoto starts up. Images can then be transferred to iPhoto just as they would from any other DSC device. It’s also possible to browse to the camera’s email video clips (stored on the MM card) through the disk icon on the desktop. As long as Windows Media Player is installed, the stored .asf files will play back in OS X with no problem. However, using OS X we were unable to get either camera functioning in Webcam mode – even after trying third-party drivers and applications such as Evocam.
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