JVC Everio GZ-MS100

The JVC Everio GZ-MS100 is an average budget SD-card-based camcorder that's more attractive for its small design and relatively average video quality than its unique interface and one-touch uploads to YouTube.

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JVC's Everio GZ-MS100 is a compact, budget SD-card-based camcorder capitalising on the trend of one-touch upload of video to the internet; the big YouTube sticker on the back of the camcorder's LCD and the YouTube branding on the box are kind of a give-away. Its other main selling point is the Laser Touch interface, which attempts to inject some gee-whiz factor into an otherwise staid operation, namely navigating the setting menus.

Taking its design cues from the Everio G Series hybrid camcorders, the MS100 (part of the Everio S Series) is smaller at 54mm wide by 68mm high by 111mm deep. Its traditional horizontal body design is atypical of fashionable YouTube camcorders, such as Sony's limited-edition Net-Sharing Cam, which tend toward the shape and size of a deck of cards. This does mean the MS100 is bigger and heavier (though it weighs only 270 grams with battery), but it allows for a debatably useful 35x zoom lens and a higher-resolution 680,000-pixel CMOS sensor (340,000 effective) compared with VGA-resolution (307,200 pixels) on most of those models. The MS100 is also around twice the price and for these reasons — size, chassis, components, and price — the MS100 shouldn't be judged against the VGA camcorders, but against models like the Canon FS100. By those standards, the JVC looks considerably less impressive.

Even as small as the MS100 is, it's very comfortable to use and does look and feel nice, despite being entirely plastic. The battery takes up most of the back; there's just enough room for the record start/stop button to the right of it. On top are the zoom rocker and a snapshot button. You cannot take stills while shooting video, forcing you to flip a tiny switch on the left side of the body. Photos are 640x480 and are typical quality for SD camcorders — good enough for the web at small sizes, barely.

Above that switch sits a button to flip between play and record, and below it is one for changing out of Auto mode to Manual. Then there is the ballyhooed one-touch Upload button and its partner Direct DVD button. This one-button YouTube upload, though, really just connects, transcodes, and uploads via the bundled Windows only Cyberlink software. It certainly doesn't relieve you of having to be in front of your computer to keep the process moving from start to finish. This is not really any different than the MS100's competitors, except that some of them have the software built into the camcorder so you don't have to worry about where the software's installed.

Then there are the Laser Touch controls. Down the left side of the flip-out 2.7-inch LCD is a touch-sensitive strip that sort of takes the place of a joystick or directional pad. However, those generally have five directions used for selecting things, whereas the strip, while responsive and pretty — it lights up a brilliant blue when stroked — only handles scrolling up and down, or for adjusting focus, exposure, and shutter speed in Manual mode.

Below the display are five Laser Touch buttons: OK/display, three that are context-sensitive, and Menu. We're sure that after a couple months of use, you'll have no problem remembering to go from Menu to OK to scrolling to OK to scrolling to OK to scrolling and to OK one last time, but for us it seemed like a lot of jumping around to change the white-balance setting. Aside from all the menu diving, the Manual mode is definitely a plus for the MS100. It's also what you have to be in to access scene programs like Sports, Snow, Spotlight, and Night. It should be noted that little of this is discussed in the skimpy user guide.

The camcorder records MPEG-2 video to SD/SDHC cards. The Ultra Fine setting comes in at 8.5Mbps, giving you a little less than 15 minutes for every 1GB of storage. Honestly, it's the only setting you'd want to record at with the MS100, but there are three more options going down to Eco at 1.5Mbps for up to nearly 20 hours of recording time on a 16GB SDHC card.

If you stick to the intended use of sharing video on the web and you primarily plan to shoot outdoors during daylight, the MS100 will produce satisfying results. Viewed full screen on a computer monitor, footage is rife with blocky artefacts and noise, but taken down to YouTube proportions the results are considerably better, save for some high-contrast fringing. Colours were pleasing with acceptable white balance in natural light. Indoors is another story, as the overall results are not all that enjoyable and there is no option to change to incandescent or fluorescent presets. There is a manual white balance you can tweak for better results and a halogen setting, likely for correcting the light from the weak built-in LED light at the front of the camcorder.

A couple other things are worth mentioning. There is no optical image stabilisation, just digital, so extending out to 10x, let alone 35x, results in a shaky mess without a tripod. The zoom rocker itself tends toward touchy, but with some practice can be steadily controlled. Also, there's a wind-cut filter you can turn on for the stereo mic under the lens, but it proved just about useless.

The JVC Everio GZ-MS100 should satisfy a majority of budget-conscious users who want a simple and small flash memory-card-based camcorder in a traditional horizontal chassis for getting videos up on the web. Those who intend to view video on a TV or even full screen on a computer monitor will not be happy with this model though.

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Mika posted a review   

The Good:Inexpensive
Value for money
Video footage looks great
Easy You tube upload ( I uploaded clips to family overseas with ease)

The Bad:Average stills

Its great for the price I paid. I am happy with it. Most of the latest software programs support the .mod file format now.


groucho posted a review   

The Good:Very good low light performance. Nice and light to hold. Sharp picture in good lighting. Good battery life. Very good zoom. Ability to fit filters - I had a polarising filter on mine and it was great for beach shots, outdoors on sunny days etc.

The Bad:Poorly implemented .MOD file system - file (scene) naming makes it tricky for editing and can cause some headaches for 3rd party editing packages. Getting the recorded footage off the camera, in to my editing softwares (I have several) and then on to a DVD proved to be suprisingly difficult and ultimately very frustrating. The poor bundled software, whilst being very easy to use, allows virtually no editing or control over the transfer of the footage to a DVD at all. Dodgy build quality. Clunky and frustrating menu navigation makes it slow and cumbersome to access commonly used settings like white balance adjustment and backlight compensation etc.

This is a nice little camcorder for the price. It's light, well balanced and easy to use in a point-and-shoot kind of way. Unfortunately mine died after about 3 weeks so it went back to the shop from whence it came. It has now been replaced by a Panasonic SDR-H40. A superior camcorder in almost all respects - although to be fair more expensive too. In summary, whilst initially this camcorder seems pretty good, the more you live with it and use it, the more it's limitations become apparent.


Ovvienile posted a review   

The Good:Good battery life
Simple to use
good zoom

The Bad:havn't found any yet

What a great little unit, fantastic battery life, i'm getting around 2 hours on the standard battery. Nice zoom and still compact enough to take with me everywhere. I've played around with the youtube function and it's pretty cool, I think i'll use it when i'm travelling so i can show my friends what i'm up to.


Beef posted a review   

The Good:Easy to use.
Good Image quality.
Great on price.
You'll love the You tube upload, again easy.

The Bad:Haven't found any yet.

I was amazed with the product and the features it had despite being on a budget. The thing I loved most about this camcorder is that it's easy to use. The image quality is excellent too. The only SD card camcorder that allows you to connect up longer life batteries, not like the others that mainly use limited capacity internal batteries.


Neil posted a review   

The Good:Small. Nice clear screen. Value for money

The Bad:The 800x zoom is joke but it zooms very well to about 200. The uploading interface.

As a first time owner of a camcorder, I found this unit great. contrary to other things I have read, it is not a flimsy unit. The hand controls work well although the record button is a bit too close to the base of the thumb and could probably be located a bit higher up.

Other than that, it is intiutive to use. I do however agree that the uploading interface is hardly 'one touch'. once set up it works ok but it takes a while to get the hang of it.

Best of all though, this fits easily in a pocket.

Would I recommend this item? Yes. I purchased mine from Dick Smiths for $414 including the bag and spare battery.


amat posted a review   

The Good:very nice and quality video for budget camcoder
cool design

The Bad:i cannot find yet for this camcoder because the price it good n the quality
for budget camcoder

this is a very very good budget camcoder good job jvc


Torsten posted a review   

Simply perfect for this price!


Ted posted a review   

The Good:35x Zoom, excellent optics, great touch panel with glowing blue touch confirmation... the mates love it.

The Bad:I realised I can also buy a black version after I bought my silver one.

I agree witrh Zzzed. I even got a 2nd battery and carry bag for similar money. At least JVC has the sense not to supply outdated memory card capacities given the speed at which these things drop in price. I bought a 16GB SDHC card, and I'm ready to go. At least this is a well made product with great design and excellent video quality.


ZZZZed posted a review   

The Good:Great zoom, great price, as good as more expensive standard def models and great youtube software if you're in to that

The Bad:None that I can find yet...OMG at $419, it's a no brainer

Well I've recently bought one of these, and it's brilliant. I looked at Panasonic's toy cam with a laughable 4GB card supplied at Canon's overpriced stuff. For the Canon price I can buy a hard disk camcorder

Super Penguin

Super Penguin posted a review   

The Good:Price, zoom, image stabiliser, it's able to take still shots, light and compact

The Bad:Microphone is close to useless if you are not directly in front and close to it, basic software

There are 2 ways to look at this camera, as either a cheapie or a good camera. As a cheapie it has good 'bang for buck' and while there a re a few things that could be better, we have to remember, we get what we pay for. As a good camera it's basic and (to be honest) doesn't cut it with other cameras that cost $200 more, but that's not comparing apples with apples.
For the money it's a good camera with image stabiliser and decent zoom.
The worst thing is the microphone. If you are planning on filming yourself while holding the camera you will have no problem. If you are not directly in front and close to the camera, or in a moving car then don't expect to hear too much on playback.
If you want precious memories captured forever then spend more money and get a higher grade camera. If you want something for some fun and sound isn't so important to you then go for it. Overall a good cheapie camera for its price.

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User Reviews / Comments  JVC Everio GZ-MS100

  • Mika



    "Its great for the price I paid. I am happy with it. Most of the latest software programs support the .mod file format now."

  • groucho



    "This is a nice little camcorder for the price. It's light, well balanced and easy to use in a point-and-shoot kind of way. Unfortunately mine died after about 3 weeks so it went back to the shop fr..."

  • Ovvienile



    "What a great little unit, fantastic battery life, i'm getting around 2 hours on the standard battery. Nice zoom and still compact enough to take with me everywhere. I've played around with the yout..."

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