3D or not 3D – that is the question.And it’s one that the JVC Everio GS-TD1 seeks to answer. It’s a Full HD (1920×1080) 3D camcorder that uses twin F1.2 Super Bright HD GT lenses, recording to two 3.32M back-illuminated CMOS sensors to create the 3D effect. You either have the option to record using the L/R Independent Format at 34Mbit/s, or the familiar Side-by-Side AVCHD format favoured by Sky and Co at a maximum 24Mbit/s.
It seems that ever since Avatar burst on to our cinema screens and Sky TV opened a 3D TV channel, virtually every film and TV producer has been threatened with re-training in 3D technology as if this was the inevitable future of our video media. With the hype surrounding 3D-capable HD TVs, monitors and PCs, it was only a matter of time before consumer fascination would lead to the emergence of consumer-affordable 3D camcorders. Question is: do you need one?
3D LCD previews
If you’re used to handling conventional HD camcorders that fit snugly into your palm and weigh barely more than a bar of soap, then the GS-TD1 will come as bit of a jolt. This is a much longer, chunkier model that weighs in at 675g once the supplied battery pack is installed and without the essential grip belt on the side measures a sturdy 102x64x186mm. It looks exceedingly stylish, though, in cool matt black with a silver metallic strip across the middle.
There are two sources for the controls – a fold-out, fully rotatable 3.5in colour touchscreen LCD with 920,000-pixel resolution and a circle of control buttons on the back. The large 3D button in the middle of this panel lets you alternate between 3D and 2D recording and 3D stills can also be captured as MPO files. The LCD allows you to preview and review your shots in 3D without having to wear any special glasses, even though it’s a bit of a shock to the system and makes you feel queasy for a while.
Superior 3D quality
Once your shots are taken, they can be played back through a 3D-friendly TV using the supplied HDMI lead, or via your PC by recording on an SD card (SDXC is supported) using the supplied MediaBrowser 3D software. The 3D picture quality is excellent – especially in dim conditions, thanks to the low light sensors – and the stereo microphones provide equally impressive sound reproduction, although you can improve this further using an exterior mic attached to the on-board hot shoe.
There’s a 5x optical zoom for 3D recordings and 10x for 2D plus 64GB built-in storage and while you can rely for most of the time on the Intelligent Auto setting to do most of the work for you, there’s a range of manual settings, parallax adjustment and a fun Time Lapse feature, as well as Easy Upload to YouTube and Facebook. The only real grumble is there’s no external battery charger so any spares will have to be prepared in-camera before you head out to shoot.
- Stunning 3D movie capture, evn in low light conditions.
- No external battery charger.
JVC has really set the bar when it comes to consumer level 3D video recording with its dual-HD lens system providing superb 3D imagery, backed up by low-light sensors and decent stereo sound. It might even be enough to persuade you that 3D is here to stay.