PMA09: JVC Everio X: This HD camcorder shoots hi-res stills—with some effort

JVC Everio GZ-X900 Everio X1 digital HD Camcorder
It’s not the first camcorder to claim to shoot HD video and capture high-resolution still images. But at PMA09, with fewer interesting camera introductions than in years past, the fact that a camcorder manufacturer chose this trade show, instead of CES, to introduce such a hybrid device is intriguing.

On Tuesday, JVC announced what they’re calling a “dual-use camera” that shoots high definition video and high resolution digital still images. Depending on whom you ask, JVC has two different names of this new camcorder: The Everio GZ-X900 or Everio X. (Click on the image at right for a closer look.) Whatever you call it, my first impression of it is that while it’s certainly small and light, it had a very boxy feel to it. It also looks like a large Flip-style camcorder.

Here’s some of what the Everio X (or GZ-X900) offers:

  • It shoots 1920 x 1080 Full HD AVCHD video and nine-megapixel (with no interpolation) digital stills.
  • It has a 10x slow-motion shooting mode that plays back 2.4 seconds of recorded video over 24 seconds, which the JVC product specialist at the booth claimed would be great for checking out your golf swing in slo-mo. You can also capture up to six nine-megapixel stills at 15 images per second. Another mode lets you shoot five-megapixel digital stills while recording in full HD video. Plus, photos can be shot at shutter speeds as fast as 1/4000 second without interrupting video recording.
  • It weighs about two-thirds of a pound and records video and stills to SDHC memory cards.

All of these are claims by JVC, which we’ll check when we get the Everio X into our labs.

However, my impression of the Everio X is that, like many hybrids of this type, it favors shooting video over capturing stills. That’s obvious, because most of the controls for still shooting appear to be menu-driven with very few accessible through buttons and controls. This makes it rather cumbersome to take still photos in anything other than auto mode.

—Terry Sullivan