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JVC GC-PX10U Hybrid Camera Review
Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Is this a camera or a camcorder? Or, is it both? JVC claims the GC-PX10U to be a true "hybrid" model. The problem with trying to be everything to everybody is that more often than not, you can end up being everything to nobody. My initial concern was that the same marketing genius that came up with the camera model name (GC-PX10U) also had something to do with the design and functionality. Fortunately, I don't think that was the case. Why not come up with a clever name, like "Hybridio"? I find myself continually looking on the bottom of the camera to find the model number because I can't seem to remember "GC-PX10U".

DESIGN

OK, moving on from the name, what about the camera/camcorder itself? When I first saw the PX online (yes, I am just going to call it "PX") it reminded of my old Sony DSC-F707 with it's long barrel fixed lens, which by the way, was a great camera back in its day. The PX is surprisingly light in the hand and fits my right paw pretty nice. The bulky battery compartment makes a nice handle and stores a hefty BN-VH815U 1460 mAH replaceable battery pack.

On the back of the camera is the prominent 3" LCD monitor which can be flipped up a full 180 degrees to use for self-shooting. However, if you are planning to shoot by holding the camera over your head (say, in a crowd) and shooting down, the monitor will be completely out of sight. Honestly, most of my shooting is at waist level to eye level, so the design works OK for me. I am not a big fan of touch screens on cameras, and the PX has not changed my mind. Fortunately, other than the menus for camera settings, virtually everything can be set from physical buttons on the camera.



The Telephoto/Wide Angle rocker switch is a thumb-operated design which I personally find a little clumsy compared to one operated by the forefinger. However, zoom from the massive 10X lens is very smooth and the zoom speed can be varied. You can also operate the zoom from the touch-screen, but I cannot imagine why you would want to.

The Playback button, Movie/Still button, and Menu button flank the right side of the screen and their operations are pretty obvious. There is a slim, silver movie record button that sits to the right of your thumb, which is basically out of sight when you are holding the camera. In fact, it took me awhile to even find it. I was holding the camera and the only way I could see to start recording was to hit the "record" on the touch screen. I tried pressing the shutter release when in Movie mode, but that takes a still photo. Finally, upon closer examination, I found the silver Movie Record button. Once you know where it is, it is in a pretty good location.



On top of the camera is the large 2-step shutter release. A High-Speed movie button toggles the 300fps (640 X 480) movie mode on/off. Next to that is the Continuous Shooting button that cycles through the various options:

  • H - High Speed - Up to 100 images at 30 per second
  • M - Medium - Up to 100 images at 7 per second
  • L - Low Speed - shoots continuously until memory is full
  • Bracketing - Record 5 images with varying brightness
  • Single shot mode

SHOOTING PHOTOS

You shoot still photos by selecting a shooting mode using the dial on the left side of the camera, then pressing the shutter release button. Pretty simple in theory. However, in practice using the PX10U can be a little clumsy. First, the power button is tiny and located so close to the camera body that it can be difficult to find and engage. Actually, all of the switches and buttons on the PX10U are small and awkward. The same goes for the touchscreen icons. They are tiny and require a lot of dexterity to use.

Once you get past the handling issues, the PX10U does everything you expect it to. It shoots photos quickly and writes to the internal memory fast. Photo quality is exceptional, and the burst mode can shoot up to 30 per second! The bracketing feature will shoot 5 images making it useful for HDR processing on your computer.

The AF responds quickly and is accurate. The 10x zoom lens is smooth and quiet and produces good results throughout the range. The Optical Image Stabilization worked very well to reduce hand shake, even at full zoom.

One thing JVC left out was the ability to shoot and store RAW images. Surprising oversight for a $899 camera with 32 gb of internal memory.

SHOOTING MOVIES

The clumsy issues remain in video mode as well, even though you are not as likely to make changes when shooting video. You can switch to video mode using the center button on the back of the camera (toggle between photo/video). If you are in Photo mode, pressing the video record button will have no affect. Conversely, you can shoot photos while in video mode, but at 8.3 megapixel instead of the full 12 in photo mode.

The High-Speed recording feature built into the PX10U is one of the best we have tested. A full 300 fps at 640 X 480 is great for super slow motion video. If you are wanting to record your golf swing and analyze in slow-mo, this is the camera to get. And, you can record up to 2 full hours at this speed!

There are four standard shooting modes:

  • D1080 (UHR): 1920x1080/60P, 36Mbps
  • HD1080 (HR): 1920x1080/60P, 24Mbps
  • HD720: 1280x720/60P
  • iFrame: 960x540/30P

WHAT I LIKE

  • Excellent photo quality
  • Built-in memory
  • Good battery life
  • High-Speed video
  • External mic jack
  • Tilt-screen

WHAT I DON'T LIKE

  • Clumsy controls
  • Bulky design
  • No RAW file format

SUMMARY

The JVC GC-PX10U is an interesting camera/camcorder that will be the perfect fit for a specific consumer. If you need excellent high-speed video recording capability, burst mode operation and all the other functions of a camera/video camera, this camera is a good choice. It seems to be a great camera for someone who shoots sporting events and wants to slow things down. How that translates into a great travel camera is subjective. For about the same price, you can buy a Micro Four Thirds with interchangeable lenses. So, it really is going to depend on what your personal needs are.

SAMPLE PHOTOS
Click on the thumbnails below to see a larger version of each photo.


 

 

 

 

SAMPLE VIDEO


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If you have any brief comments about JVC GC-PX10U Hybrid Camera Review please share them below.
One Comment
E MOSS
Nice, but I also wanted to see how it does in low-light situations.
Saturday, June 22, 2013 12:48 PM  
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