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Wednesday June 22, 2005 5:51 pm
JVC Everio MG20, MG30, MG40, MG50 Camcorders Ditch the Tape
Ever since MiniDV camcorders were released, I’ve wondered to myself how long it would be before someone like Sony released a camcorder that recorded to an internal hard drive, instead of old-school tape. You can make the tape as small as you want, but it’s still tape.
Surprisingly, JVC is the one making the leap into the 21st Century, with their Everio line of camcorders with internal hard drives instead of digital cassette tape. It’s worth noting that JVC has done this once before, but used a 4GB CompactFlash form-factor MicroDrive, hardly a unique move. Now they’re using larger disks, finally giving the world (and us) a reason to take notice.
These second-generation Everio units feature either a 20GB or 30GB hard disk (likely the same drive included in Apple’s iPod), and record MPEG2 video (DVD quality) directly to the hard drive, 4.5 hours for the 20GB unit, and 7 hours for the 30GB. Rudimentary editing features allow random access to the stored video (including setting chapters, rearranging footage, etc), and remote playback lets you attach the camcorder to a TV and operate it like a DVD player.
The two higher-end units (MG40 and MG50) have 1.33 MegaPixel CCD sensors, allowing you to take digital photos in JPEG format at up to 1152 x 864. The lower end units (MG20 and MG30) are limited to 640x480. Photos can be stored on a separate SD memory card, or logically on the internal hard drive.
Oddly, such a high-tech camcorder lacks a FireWire interface, opting for USB2. It does, however, support PictBridge, so you can print those tiny photos on any photo printer supporting the PictBridge interface.
The Everio line will launch in August, with the MG20 (0.3 MP, 20GB) coming in at $800, and the MG50 (1.3 MP, 30GB) coming in at $1000. The MG30 (1.3MP, 20GB) and the MG40 (0.3MP, 30GB) will each be $900, letting you choose whether storage space or the sensor resolution is more important to you. I’m betting that by September, someone will have cracked open one of these bad boys and have tried sticking a larger drive in it.
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