Review of the JVC Everio Hard Disk Camcorder

I just picked up the Everio MG27U Hard Disk Camcorder from Sam’s Club the other day. I got a great deal as it was an open box return for only $300, with the regular price of $450-$500. I had read a little about the hard drive camcorders, but didn’t do my research on this model since the price was so good. Once at home, I discovered some problems associated with this type of camcorder.

It’s a different type of animal when compared to a typical digital camcorder. For those that are having problems getting the video into your computer, here’s what I found out.

First off, I’m on a Mac and use Final Cut Express HD to edit my movies. Final Cut won’t read the Everio directly because it uses USB2 and not Firewire (oversight #1), and as many over at Gadget Review have already figured out, the video downloaded from the Everio is formated as .MOD (the same as MPEG-2) and not .MOV. (oversight #2). There is a way around these issues, and thankfully it doesn’t cost much money.

First, plug in the camcorder into an open USB2 slot, turn it on to mount the drive on your computer, and open up the correct folder (SD_VIDEO) from within the mounted drive titled EVERIO_HDD. To convert the video to a readable QuickTime format you’ll need a thrid party converter. Try MPEG Streamclip video converter from Squared5. (Side note: I also had some software titled Capty MPEG Edit EX for Everio come with the camera, but have had mixed results.)

Depending upon what, if any, plug-ins you have on QuickTime, you may need to purchase the MPEG-2 QuickTime converter. I didn’t have this already, so I had to spend the $20 to find out if this would work or not.

Once the .MOD video is converted over to QuickTime you can then import the new file into FCE (I assume FCP would work as well) and iMovie. I tried iMovie HD (6.0.2) and it seemed to work just fine, albeit with a very slow import.

The Pros:

  • Ability to purchase a hard drive camcorder, such as the JVC Everio, and use it with a Mac.

Cons:

  • Video quality seems to take a slight hit with the conversion
  • Extra steps involved with importing video. If time is money to you do not buy this camera
  • No direct capture, especially with Final Cut Express. (See above)
  • Importing into iMovie is slow
  • You’ll use up a ton of DVDs and/or hard drive space archiving your raw video

I’ll play with it some more before deciding if I should keep it. The big thing for me are the extra steps and time needed to import the video. This may be the deal breaker, in my mind.

Why JVC didn’t make this a FireWire capable product or use a more popular video format is beyond me. I assume that their research indicates that most Windows users (and purchasers of their products?) are not interested in video editing.

It would seem to me that the users of the Everio brand of camcorders are only interested in one thing. Dumping raw video to DVD. For that, the JVC Everio fits the bill perfectly.

I hope this helps others when deciding to purchase a Hard Disk Camcorder such as the Everio.

Later Days!

[UPDATED]

I took it back to Sam’s Club. With all of the trad-offs concerning speed and FinalCut compatability, it just wasn’t worth the asking price. I have my eye on a Panasonic that should do the trick.

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