Perhaps one of JVC’s reasons for taking the, ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’ route with AVCHD, is editing compatibility. The TOD files produced by the company’s MPEG-2-based HD camcorders are still not widely supported, but virtually all editing apps have versions that can cope with AVCHD, bar Adobe’s. So now, you can safely import your HD40 files into Ulead VideoStudio, Pinnacle Studio, or CyberLink PowerDirector and edit away. We tried the latest versions of all three, but only the Pinnacle and Cyberlink software could cope with the files.
The 1440 CBR MPEG-2 mode is essentially HDV, so the most likely to be compatible with editing software. In the past, we’ve found that JVC’s FHD MPEG-2 mode is a little less likely to work, but the latest versions of both Pinnacle Studio and Ulead VideoStudio are compatible.
If you just want to watch your footage on a TV, a full-sized HDMI port is available. This is v1.3 compliant, so supports Deep Color with a compatible TV or projector, and can also output 1080p. Alternatively, there’s a proprietary connection for analogue component, and a minijack for composite video and RCA audio. A docking station is also supplied, which replicates the analogue video connections, plus the USB 2.0 and DC power ports, and adds FireWire.
The Everio GZ-HD40 is a very strong entry, and on pure quality and features really puts JVC on par with Canon and Sony, with a few niggles such as the lack of a lens ring. However, its price is a drawback. At nearly £1,000, the HD40 is significantly more expensive than Canon’s HF10 or HF100, which still get our nod as the best AVCHD choices in 2008. Fortunately, the HD30 variant offers identical quality and features, apart from the smaller 80GB hard disk and lack of a docking station. As that is available for £645, over £300 less than the HD40, it makes the much better choice – and the best value hard disk-based AVCHD camcorder currently available.