The last few JVC camcorders we have reviewed have majored on their Wi-Fi features, such as the HD Everio GZ-VX715 and the HD Everio GZ-GX1. But both had plenty to offer other than their wireless facilities, which is fortunate, because in many ways the HD Everio GZ-V515 is the GZ-VX715 without the latter’s Wi-Fi abilities.
The V515 has the same sleek angular body as the VX715, with a pleasant blend of the industrial and the stylish, although this time in black. It’s smaller than a smartphone in most dimensions, although more than twice as wide. Despite the small size, though, the V515 still packs in a reasonably sized sensor. The 1/4.1-inch CMOS incorporates back-illumination technology and sports 3.3-megapixels, more than enough for Full HD. In fact, thanks to the extra pixels the V515 is able to offer an 18x dynamic zoom on top of the 10x optical one. This crops into the sensor so doesn’t pixelate the image, unlike a purely digital zoom.
The JVC HD GZ-V515 features a well designed compact body with a touchscreen LCD display
Video can be recorded in either AVCHD mode at Full HD or in standard definition as MP4s. In AVCHD mode, data rates can be up to 24Mbits/sec, but this is not AVCHD 2.0 so no 50p recording is available, although the camcorder will output 50p video over its HDMI port. JVC throws in a hefty dollop of interpolation to allow digital still images up to 10-megapixels, with a top resolution of 3,808 x 2,856. The V515 has no built-in memory, so footage and photos are captured to SDXC card. A 16GB module will be enough for around 90 minutes of footage at the top quality setting.
The V515 doesn’t have the Enhanced version of JVC’s Advanced Image Stabilisation, so only has one extra mode on top of the standard one. Fortunately this is still optical rather than electronic image stabilisation, so proves more effective than the abilities some camcorders in a similar price range offer. The built-in lens cover is also partially manual rather than fully automatic. It opens when you open the 3-inch LCD panel to start shooting, which also fires up the camcorder, but you need to use the slider on the side to shut it.
It would be hard for the V515 to have fewer discrete buttons on its body. Apart from the necessary power switch, zoom rocker, photo snapshot and record buttons, there’s just one other button available, used for toggling between image stabilisation modes. Everything else is accessed via the touchscreen LCD. Without the Wi-Fi functions of the VX715, the V515’s initial menu looks a little sparse. Options to enable the Smile Shutter and name display functions are at the top, whilst access to the effects can be found at the bottom.