JVC Picsio GC-FM1

The Picsio doesn't really do anything to distinguish itself from the competition at the same price point, apart from its questionable aesthetics.


7.0
CNET Rating
7.1
User Rating

About The Author

CNET Editor

Derek loves nothing more than punching a remote location into a GPS, queuing up some music and heading out on a long drive, so it's a good thing he's in charge of CNET Australia's Car Tech channel.


Design

Amongst the maddening throng of Flip-style camcorders, JVC's Picsio GC-FM1 stands out thanks to its ribbed chrome piping around its edge and reflective satin squares on its back. While all these fripperies make the FM1 interesting to look at it, does it actually have a great personality, sharp mind and deep intellect to back up the out-there dress sense?

On the front there's a 2-inch LCD screen that's sufficiently detailed, if not balloon-prickingly sharp. While the screen's glossy plastic works brilliantly as a mirror on bright, sunny days, it can make sizing up a shot difficult. At the very least, though, it's better than the Flip MinoHD's low resolution abomination.

JVC Picsio GC-FM1 design

We're not sold on the Picsio's aesthetics, you might think otherwise, though.
(Credit: JVC)

Underneath the screen are the power, playback, trash, grid and video/photo mode buttons, which all flank a five-way controller. It doesn't take long to learn that tapping left steps you through the various video quality levels, up and down zooms in and out digitally, and the centre button starts and stops recording. Some buttons also require a firm jab before a click is registered.

Features

Along the Picsio's right-hand edge are its outputs, an AV out, mini-USB and mini-HDMI port (composite and mini-USB cables are supplied courtesy of Japan Victor Company, HDMI is not). A swing door on the bottom hides the SD/SDHC card slot. Gift buyers beware, there's no card or internal recording memory supplied. Also, on the Picsio's base is its tripod mount, which just misses the centre line of the lens by that much.

The Picsio's battery is not user swappable and is charged via USB; in JVC's estimation it's good for 96 minutes of continuous use. Plug the GC-FM1 into a Windows machine and you'll be able to use the MediaBrowser LE software that's stored on the device, which allows you to export files to your PC or iTunes, as well as upload videos to YouTube and perform basic editing tasks. While the program won't let you set a title, it will generate YouTube "HD" format video.

Performance

A lens on the Picsio's rear feeds into a 9.725mm (1/3.2-inch) 8-megapixel sensor. Naughtily, JVC advertises the GC-FM1 as a 1080p camcorder despite the fact that it records at 1440x1080 at 30fps instead of 1920x1080.

A quick reminder of why digital zoom is a marketing gimmick.

To make up for the non-zooming lens, the Picsio offers 4x digital zoom. Predictably it's rubbish, turning the already slightly grainy footage into a sea of unintelligible pixels. Videos are recorded in QuickTime format and when viewed using Apple's QuickTime player, footage is slightly choppy even on a well-specced Core 2 Duo Mac or PC; playback is considerably smoother if you opt for the supplied MediaBrowser LE software.

Videos, as one would expect from an AU$300 "high-def" camcorder, are quite soft with details often muddied. Colour gradients, especially clear blue sky, are noticeably pixellated, graininess is ever present and low light noise sets in early in all but the most brightly lit indoor locations. Optical image stabilisation is absent, but the supplied digital version does a passable job of cutting down hand jitters when you're trying to hold the Picsio still — no easy task as the GC-FM1 barely bothers the scales at 95g.

Still image viewed at 100 per cent

Part of a still image when viewed at 100 per cent
(Credit: Derek Fung/CNET Australia)

Stills taken at 3264x2448 don't look particularly attractive at reduced Facebook/Twitpic resolutions and are even less impressive at 100 per cent, with the same graininess that's evident on the Picsio's videos present in greater quantity.

Conclusion

With all its competition at the same price point, the Picsio doesn't really do anything to distinguish itself from the pack, apart from its questionable aesthetics. On the style front it loses out to the Flip MinoHD, it lacks the extras (mic input, HDMI cables) of the Kodak Zi8 and misses out on the image quality (not to mention the swivelling head and 360-degree panoramic lens attachment) of the Sony Bloggie MHS-PM5K.

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SamuelW Facebook
4
Rating
 

"Mediocre"

SamuelW posted a review   

The Good:Its HD

The Bad:poor battery life, random disconnects when transferring large video files to PC

Its junk, i dont understand how any of you actually think this is a good camera, My experience with it has been nothing but problems,

CONS:
* Battery will only last 10 minutes before it goes dead
* Randomly disconnects while trying to transfer files to PC
* Does not work indoors or at night, needs alot of light
* wont stay in usb mode when plugged into my PC

Phoebe
10
Rating
 

Phoebe posted a review   

The Good:Small. Simple. Decent quality. Pretty. Did I mention small?

The Bad:Dude, it's a cheap camera, it's fine as is.

I have this and a Kodak zX1. Got both for practically the same price of about $130. Have had the Kodak since July and got this a week ago, because they're running out the stock due to the new release of the waterproof Picsio and friends. Both are comparable for quality, but the Kodak is 720p, and both do 30fps. Which is stupid because this is Australia and we have PAL.

The JVC fits in my skinny jeans better, I can use it to check my makeup with the reflection on the screen of it and I can use it one handed. The only thing it lacks is a free pouch. Not that my skinny jeans would need that, but some people probably want to put it in a bag and it probably scratches easily.

MiK
10
Rating
 

MiK posted a review   

I don't know what you guys expect from a under $200 camera. Its fine and records ok video & takes reasonable stills for the price I paid. C'mon what do you expect from digital zoom. If you want something better then you guys should be looking around $600-2000 for a dedicated Full HD camcorder.

Bradmac
4
Rating
 

Bradmac posted a review   

The Good:Pic ok if you don't use the zoom

The Bad:Bad photos

Can i sue JVC for lying to me about full HD? 1080p my arse!

snackwich
1
Rating
 

snackwich posted a review   

The Good:it's blue

The Bad:no options. can't take time delayed photos

sucks

Kim
8
Rating
 

Kim posted a review   

The Good:Cheap, easy to use.

The Bad:No Stabilisation when handheld

I bought this little pocket camera a few months ago and have only just recently started using it. For the price the video quality is good, you can't expect top of the range HD performance for a camera you can pick up for under $200. I haggled for a SD card, camera carry case and mini-tripod all included $160. The only grip I have about this little camera is when hand holding the camera, there is no stabilisation built in to stop the shaking of your hand. Using a tripod there obviously is no problem. For the price you can't really complain, it's a pocket camera and does the job.

 

tez posted a comment   

The Good:clarity in HD,acceptable 8 meg photo quality

The Bad:poor quality zoom,useless without tripod,

I have Canon XM2 videocamera,which I love,and bought the JVC Pixsio as a top pocket easy to use camera when in Cartagena.Colombia,Iadded a 16gb card and get about 2.5 hrs out of it,provided you use a tripod,it is really neat to use,and simple to upload to computer,only thing is lettering is wearing off buttons.good little camera

 

Peter posted a comment   

Are they going to bring out the other colours, my daughter wants the pink one?

Karl
9
Rating
 

Karl posted a review   

The Good:Great Image Quality

The Bad:Digital Zoom

I purchased on yesterday and found that the video it took was great and so were the stills. I would prefer the unit having a optical zoom rather than a digital.Uploading to You tube was also easy.

BSS
8
Rating
 

BSS posted a review   

The Good:Like the style and reasonable picture

The Bad:No flip out USB, have to use cord.

This camcorder performed quite OK for the price I paid. I just picked one up today and I gave it a go.Its portable,easy to use and the image quality wasn't to bad. I connected it up to my HD TV and I liked what I saw. I just wished it had a flip out USB connection so I don't have to rely on grabbing the USB cord whenever I want to upload.


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User Reviews / Comments  JVC Picsio GC-FM1

  • SamuelW

    SamuelW

    Rating4

    "Its junk, i dont understand how any of you actually think this is a good camera, My experience with it has been nothing but problems,

    CONS:
    * Battery will only last 10 minutes b..."

  • Phoebe

    Phoebe

    Rating10

    "I have this and a Kodak zX1. Got both for practically the same price of about $130. Have had the Kodak since July and got this a week ago, because they're running out the stock due to the new relea..."

  • MiK

    MiK

    Rating10

    "I don't know what you guys expect from a under $200 camera. Its fine and records ok video & takes reasonable stills for the price I paid. C'mon what do you expect from digital zoom. If you want som..."

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